Even when it comes to electing captains, the Patriots can't seem to avoid the ripple-effect of Deflategate.
According to ESPN's Field Yates, the Patriots held a vote on Tuesday to name their captains, and for the first time since 2002, Tom Brady was not on the list.
Brady, of course, is facing a four-game suspension to start the season so he may have been excluded from the ballot entirely. Perhaps the same could be said for defensive end Rob Ninkovich, a captain in 2015 who will also start this season suspended for the first four games.
The four captains, as of now, are tight end Rob Gronkowski, linebacker Dont'a Hightower, safety Devin McCourty and special teams ace Matthew Slater.
Slater and McCourty have both been team captains since 2011, while Gronkowski and Hightower are first-year captains who have established themselves as leaders over the course of the last few seasons.
Gronkowski recently had some fun at his own expense when it came to his image as a leader off the field when he won the team's Ron Burton Community Service Award and said, "It's an honor to accept this award. Who would have ever thought that five years ago, when I was on ESPN every weekend drunk, that I'd be accepting this award?' "
Patriots seven-time Pro Bowl special teamer Matthew Slater is in Pittsburgh on Saturday making a free-agent visit to the rival Steelers, according to an ESPN's Field Yates.
Slater, who turns 33 in September, has spent the past 10 seasons in a New England. The special teams captain and one of the leaders in the locker room signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract extension in 2016.
The Patriots lost special teamer Johnson Bademosi to the Texans in free agency on Friday but signed special teamers Brandon Bolden and Brandon King just before the free agency period began.
More to come...
Tom Brady has been making the media rounds lately with "Good Morning America" and "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" appearances this past week to promote his "Tom vs. Time" series and TB12 Method book. On Saturday, Brady was a phone-in guest on NPR's "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me" for their "Not My Job" segment.
Before a mostly cheering live audience in Hartford and after a discussion of the benefits and drawbacks - mostly drawbacks - of tomatoes and strawberries, plus an assessment of the intelligence of most defensive coordinators, Brady settled in to handle three questions about the world's second-most famous Bradys, the family from the classic sitcom - "The Brady Bunch".
Click here to listen and see how he did.