Patriots

Report: Wilfork, other Hurricanes accepted benefits

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Report: Wilfork, other Hurricanes accepted benefits

A Yahoo! Sports investigative report has dropped a bomb on the Miami Hurricanes athletic department today, releasing a detailed report on the illicit benefits a renegade Miami booster supplied to many of the Hurricane's athletes, including current New England Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork.

Yahoo! has also a link to every allegation against Vince Wilfork.
Some highlights:

The former booster, Nevin Shapiro (now in jail for his role in a 930 million Ponzi scheme), claims he's spent millions from 2002-2010 on Hurricanes athletes on things including, "cash, prostitutes, entertainment in his multimilion-dollar homes and yacht, paid trips to high-end restaurants and nightclubs, jewelry, bounties for on-field play, travel and, on one occasion, an abortion."

Shapiro went public with all of these things because when he was in a time of need, he called upon all these players that he previously had helped out, and none of them came to help him financially. They weren't "family" like he thought.

Shapiro also co-owned a sports agency named Axcess Sports & Entertainment, the same agency that signed Vince Wilfork out of the NFL Draft. He "made payments on behalf of Axcess, including a 50,000 lump sum to Wilfork, as a recruiting tool for the agency."

Shapiro says that his booster lifestyle started when he met Wilfork and junior defensive end Andrew Williams -- he gave them Miami Heat tickets.

Many head coaches at Miami knew about these benefits from Shapiro, and some actively participated in setting some of them up.

"Shapiro said he provided lodging on occasion on his yacht or in his home for players in his inner circle ... including Wilfork."

"The booster said he provided a pair of 50,000 Cadillac Escalades to Wilfork and his fiance shortly after the defensive tackle declared for the draft."

There are pictures of Wilfork with Shapiro in the report.

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: