Patriots

Belichick explains why he asks linemen to wear knee braces

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Belichick explains why he asks linemen to wear knee braces

When Patriots rookie offensive lineman Tre' Jackson went down with a left knee injury in the fourth quarter of Thursday night's game against the Dolphins, it looked serious.

Jackson writhed on the ground in pain after Miami defensive end Olivier Vernon collided with the outside of Jackson's leg while Jackson blocked defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Jackson grabbed his helmet and pulled at his face mask, appearing to be in a significant amount of discomfort as team medical personnel attended to him on the field. Eventually Jackson walked off to the Patriots sidelines under his own power with an unstrapped knee brace clinging loosely to his leg. 

That knee brace, something that the Patriots have long asked their linemen to wear under coach Bill Belichick, may have saved Jackson from a season-ending injury. Belichick was asked about the team's knee-brace policy during a conference call on Monday.

"The braces that the players wear now are a little different than the braces that we first started wearing back in the 80s when I was first with the Giants and then Cleveland," Belichick said. "They were kind of like a steel hinge that was usually taped or wrapped to the side of the knee, as opposed to the brace, the bigger DonJoy braces that most guys wear now.

"I can remember on multiple occasions, seeing the brace, like, literally bent in half. Not maybe in half, but bent significantly so that it's taken a blow. The brace bends and the player had a minor injury or a low MCL sprain or something like that. And the braces were strong. Had they not taken that blow and protected the player, you'd have to imagine the injuries would be a lot worse. I think that was a pretty vivid image that I had. We did that with the players as well, too. When that happened in a meeting, you'd just hold the brace up and say, you know,  'It's fortunate that so and so was wearing this protective brace. Looks like he might miss a week or two, or maybe he isn't going to miss any time at all, but I think we can all picture a more severe injury if he didn't have this protective equipment on.' That type of thing.

"The braces now, at least the way they're constructed. They're not really conducive to that type of a visual example. But you still see plays on film where guys get hit in a way that it looks like it's going to be a pretty bad injury and then it isn't as bad as it looks. I'm sure part of that is the protective equipment."

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wears a brace on his left knee, something he started doing during training camp of the 2013 season after he took a hit to his left leg during a joint practice with the Buccaneers. Brady's first inclination was to continue playing without the brace, but he acquiesced to owner Robert Kraft's wishes and has been wearing one ever since. On the play when Jackson was injured, Brady actually took an awkward low hit to his left leg from Vernon as well. 

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said during a conference call on Monday that he thinks the braces have helped keep Patriots players on the field. 

"I think the knee braces are great," he said. "Look, the most important thing for us is the health of the players. If there's something that we can do to help protect them in a game that obviously has enough injuries as it is, then I think it's worthwhile. I don't think it's a big hassle to do that in either practice or games. And I think it's a very good precaution to take.

"I don't know that we'll ever know how many injuries we've prevented, but hopefully you're putting guys in a position where they can withstand a fall or an awkward pile or something and then come back and continue to play. I would suggest and certainly recommend it. I'm all for it because I certainly think it helps our guys stay healthy."

Tom Brady reacts to being listed as 22 years old in game day program

Tom Brady reacts to being listed as 22 years old in game day program

Tom Brady is currently the oldest quarterback in the NFL at age 42. But apparently, not everybody knows that.

The New England Patriots quarterback posted a picture of a game day program on his Instagram story recently. And that roster had him listed at just 22 years old, as you can see via this tweet from ESPN.

That's quite a mistake to make, especially considering that Brady is one of the league's longest-tenured players. The mistake certainly must have elicited some laughs from those who noticed it. And evidently, Brady found it funny as well.

Of course, Brady was obviously happy with the results. After all, he has spent the last 10 years hearing about how old he is getting and how close to retirement he is. It must be nice to get a change of pace and be mistaken for being on the younger side.

While Brady isn't 22 anymore, he is still as spry and active as a young quarterback and evidently, he still plans on playing until he's 45. He is only under contract with the Patriots for one more year, despite the extension he inked with the team, but he has made it clear that he wants to continue playing in the NFL for the foreseeable future.

We'll soon see if that ends up being possible and how Brady fares during the 2019 NFL season.

Report: Patriots place Josh Gordon on NFI after reinstatement>>>

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Patriots release WR Dontrelle Inman after Josh Gordon's reinstatement

Patriots release WR Dontrelle Inman after Josh Gordon's reinstatement

The New England Patriots are in the process of shuffling their receiving corps ahead of the 2019 NFL season. Last Friday, they got the news that Josh Gordon was being conditionally reinstated by the NFL. But his return also means that they will likely have one less spot open for a receiver option on the team's final 53-man roster.

While Gordon is starting his time with the team on the NFI list, he may not stay there long. As a result, the team needed to release a player to make room for Gordon, but one of their veteran receivers made the decision easy for them. 

According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, veteran receiver Dontrelle Inman asked for his release from the Patriots and the team elected to grant it.

The Patriots confirmed the release shortly after the reports on Twitter.

This isn't too much of a surprise, as Inman was becoming a longshot of making the Patriots' final roster. Considering that Gordon, Julian Edelman, and N'Keal Harry were virtually roster locks and impressive undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers was trending in that direction as well, Inman would have had to fight with guys like Maurice Harris, Phillip Dorsett, and Braxton Berrios for one or two spots in the receiving corps. And evidently, Inman didn't like his chances of winning that battle.

Inman will now have a chance to try to latch onto another receiver-needy team before the season starts. Or, he can wait to sign with a team that suffers injuries at the position.

As for the Patriots, they should be fine without Inman. They still have plenty of depth at the position and replacing Inman on the roster with Gordon will upgrade both their 90-man and 53-man units overall.

Slater on Gordon's return: "Football is No. 2">>>

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