Patriots

Kraft tells BBC Patriots had a choice on anthem

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Kraft tells BBC Patriots had a choice on anthem

Patriots owner Robert Kraft, in an interview with the BBC, said Patriots players were given a choice to stand or not for the national anthem, criticized "inflammatory comments" made about players who demonstrated, but said his personal belief that it is important to “respect our flag and our anthem.”

Kraft's comments were included in a lengthy BBC piece about former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the anthem controversy in the NFL. Kraft's comments contrasted to those of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who warned that if his players don't stand for the anthem, they will not play.

Before New England's Sept. 24 game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium, 17 Patriots took a knee during the anthem.  The following week Kraft said he spoke with the team and players decided that before the Oct. 1 home game against the Carolina Panthers, they would all stand with their right hand over their chest, with their left hand on the shoulder of the player next to them.

“The greatest enemy in sport is division from within. I personally feel it’s very important to respect our flag and our anthem," Kraft said in the BBC story. "But I also respect the right of people in this country to make statements or protests, peacefully, in a way that’s appropriate to them. I think there were some comments made about what our young men were doing that were a little inflammatory and inappropriate, and I thought I had to speak out. I spoke to the team and I told them that they were free to do what they thought was correct as long; I try to bring unity and bring things together, and part of that is respecting how other people think. Even if it’s genuine, even if it’s different than the way I speak; the way you build team and you build success is to let people be themselves."

"I have never heard anyone talk about blocking [Kaepernick] or excluding him” from the NFL, Kraft said, and when asked if the former 49ers QB would rejoin the league at some point, Kraft said, “I would think that’s a possibility.”


 

Buffalo blizzard potentially costly to Adam Vinatieri

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Buffalo blizzard potentially costly to Adam Vinatieri

The ridiculous field conditions on Hoth Sunday could prove costly to Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, beyond the losing of another game.

Via Mike Wells of ESPN.com, Vinatieri’s two misses in the snowdrifts of Buffalo last week could end up costing the veteran kicker a $500,000 incentive in his contract.

Click here for the complete story.

Packers' Rodgers says he's been medically cleared to return

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Packers' Rodgers says he's been medically cleared to return

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers has been "medically cleared to return" to action after missing seven games with a broken right collarbone, the Green Bay Packers quarterback announced on Instagram Tuesday night.

Rodgers was hurt during a loss to Minnesota on Oct. 15 and had surgery four days later. He returned to practice on Dec. 2 and is eligible to rejoin the 53-man roster on Friday, which means the two-time MVP could suit up for Green Bay's game at Carolina on Sunday.

"It's been a long road ... but I'm happy to say I've been medically cleared to return," Rodgers wrote on Tuesday night. "Thanks for all the love, support, prayers and well wishes over the past 8 weeks and a big thank you to Dr. (Pat) McKenzie and our incredible training staff."

The Packers (7-6) likely need to win their final three games to make the playoffs.

Rodgers had his collarbone scanned on Monday morning. That afternoon, with the team in the middle of game-planning for Carolina, coach Mike McCarthy wasn't sure whether Rodgers or backup Brett Hundley would be his quarterback.

"I'd like to know as soon as possible," McCarthy said. "Frankly, it's best for Aaron to know as soon as possible. He's the one that has to get ready and, obviously, in his mind he's ready to go if you watch him practice and the conversations with him. But this is a medical decision and Dr. McKenzie is in touch with a number of different medical experts and they're evaluating the information."

Those meetings ran deep into Tuesday before a conclusion was reached.

The Packers were 4-2 in Rodgers' six starts, including the Minnesota game, where he was hurt on the second possession on a hit by Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr. In the three prior games, he threw 10 touchdown passes with only one interception in in consecutive victories over Cincinnati, Chicago and Dallas.

After playing the Panthers, who at 9-4 are in position for the top NFC wild card, the Packers have a rematch against NFC North-leading Minnesota before finishing the season at Detroit. Green Bay's final three opponents have a combined record of 26-13.

The Packers went 3-4 in Hundley's seven starts, including back-to-back overtime wins over Tampa Bay and Cleveland that kept their playoff hopes alive and made Rodgers' return a tantalizing possibility.

"We've got a chance," left tackle David Bakhtiari said after Sunday's victory at Cleveland. "We know what the magic number is. We still have everything in front of us. It's go time."

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