Patriots

NFL deal 'not close' but calendar driving urgency

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NFL deal 'not close' but calendar driving urgency

By Tom E.Curran
CSNNE.com PatriotsInsider Follow@tomecurran FOXBORO - A source close to negotiations told me Thursday night that players and owners are "not close" to ending the NFL lockout but that "good progress" has been made. That jives well with the comments earlier Thursday by Patriots owner Robert Kraft who acknowledged progress as well but cautioned, "It would be misleading to say anything that would not make it crystal clear that there's a lot of hard work still to be done."The fact that we're into June and that training camps and the preseason are now in some jeopardy seems to be a motivating force. "I want football back," Kraft said. "I think we're getting close to having to put this thing to bed so we don't miss any events. I know that's the intent on both sides. ... The good news is, we're talking. I think we went 34 days without talking and the lawyers on each side were doing stuff. That, to me, isn't progress." One of the looming post-lockout issues to be confronted is how free agency will be initiated when this is all over. Does free agency begin immediately? Is there a short grace period? "There are people discussing this but this is part of how we do this and that's something I'm going to let the league office speak about," answered Kraft when asked aboutfree agency's start.While it hasn't yielded an agreement, the two rounds of talks without litigators have significantly changed the tenor of these negotiations -- as Kraft insisted all along they would."We've had the head of the union and five players and a mix of different owners and the commissioner all focused on the issues and what's good for the game and trying to solve that and I think that's positive," he pointed out. "I hope progress keeps happening . . . The good news is both sides care about the health of this game long term. That's our sole focus. Building on that is very positive." Tom E. Curran canbe reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Brady enjoying "unique experience" of road trip

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Brady enjoying "unique experience" of road trip

While being away from home isn’t uncommon for the Patriots - just think about all those Super Bowl trips - Tom Brady believes each excursion takes on its own feel, its own flavor and - eventually - its own meaning.

Back in 2014, the Pats went from playing in Green Bay and losing to the Packers straight to San Diego for a week on the West Coast prior to a rousing victory over the Chargers. That week, many players said in the aftermath, helped propel the team to great heights,.  You’ll recall, that season ended in grand fashion, a triumph in Super Bowl 49 over Seattle, at the time - and maybe still - the greatest Super Bowl ever played.

“I think all these experiences are pretty unique,” Brady said Friday from Falcon Stadium at the Air Force Academy. “That was a very unique experience. This is different.”

Brady spoke about the number of stops the Pats have and will have to make on this trip - from Denver to Colorado Springs then on to Mexico City Saturday before a Sunday night return to Foxboro and their own beds for the first time in 10 nights.

“When you’re on the road like this, there’s less to do,” he said. “You know my family is not here, my kids aren’t here. There’s nobody telling me what I did wrong in the house. It’s just being at home and now it’s being here and trying to figure out a way to win a game.”

Brady quickly smoothed over any possible ill-will at home - why make Gisele mad? - smiling and saying “I didn’t mean that so I’ll take it back.”

Kidding aside, the 40-year old signal caller seemed pleased with the work the Patriots have put in during this long trip. A week of team-bonding can’t be a bad thing, especially for a group that seems to be hitting it’s stride both on and off the field. There’s the five wins in a row and also a locker room that has a better understanding of one another than it did during the first month of the season. But Brady is not ready to make any grand proclamations. That just wouldn’t be his style.

“I think it’s still work in progress,” he said of team chemistry. “You look at still adding a player like Marty (Bennett) last week. Things are always changing and evolving. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing well and after 8 or 9 weeks, you start to figure those things out. Now we have to work hard at those things, try to really own them, and use them going forward to try and win the most important games. We have a lot of important games coming up, starting with this one. Hopefully we can play our best football going forward.”

Brady said he’s been fired up for this game with the Raiders south of the border ever since the schedule was released all those months ago.

“I’ve never been to Mexico City,” he said. “It’s been a game you kind of look forward to. We’re playing against a really good football team in a pretty cool environment. It will be very memorable. I think everyone is excited.”

Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

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Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

The Patriots will be without center David Andrews on Sunday when they play the Raiders in Mexico City. Andrews, who hasn’t all practice all week with an illness, is one of four Pats listed as out on the injury report released Friday.

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Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, who didn’t play last week against the Broncos is also out, along with wide receiver Chris Hogan and special teams captain Matthew Slater. Offensive linemen Ted Karras and Joe Thuney each took reps at center so one of them will likely start in Andrews’ absence. LaAdrian Waddle filled in for Cannon and performed well last week vs. Denver. 

Here’s the full injury report for the Patriots and Raiders: