Ninkovich on Revis: 'There's always going to be change'


Ninkovich on Revis: 'There's always going to be change'

Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich was one of a few Patriots representatives in attendance for Team IMPACT's "Game Day Gala" at the Marriott - Copley Place on Thursday night. The event helped raise money for the organization, which pairs children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses with college athletic teams. 

Ninkovich was joined by Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, special teams ace Matthew Slater as well as president of the Kraft Group International Dan Kraft, who is a co-chair and one of the founding members of Team IMPACT. 

Here are some of the highlights from Ninkovich's conversation with reporters: 

On what it's like to go through the offseason as a defending champion: "I've always been really close, but it's awesome to have been able to do that. Now it's time to hit the reset button because everyone's going to be looking at us and trying to come after us.

"You always have to be prepared. The history of the Patriots, we've always been a very good football team, and a lot of other teams like to measure themselves accordingly. Again, I think that every year is a new year. With me going into my 10th I'm learning that. You just gotta kind of start all over. You forget about everything that happened last year. It was awesome. It was great to win a Super Bowl, and it took me a long time to do it. Now it's just focusing in on '15, a new year, and I'm excited."

On how the Patriots defense will feel different after losing Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Vince Wilfork to free agency: "There's always turnover. That's just the way that this game works. Every team is gonna have something -- a new wrinkle, a new person, a new scheme. It happens everywhere so you work hard in the offseason, you put in your time, that's where you have success . . . 

"There's always gonna be turnaround. There's always going to be change. And when you have the best coach in the NFL, he's able to help everybody. And it starts when we get back in the offseason, OTAs, minicamp, training camp. That's where everything starts. To have a successful season, you gotta lay the bricks first." 

On the contract boost he received this offseason that reportedly took his 2015 salary from $2.45 million to $5 million: "I've been here a long time and I wanted to be here. This is a place where everything has happened for me so it was a great thing on both ends that we were able to just talk about things. I really don't want to get into the details of it, but I'm going to go out there and play like I've always played, and if you do that, then everything else takes care of itself. I'll go out there and keep doing my job and making plays. That's what you're supposed to do."

On new Patriots edge defender Jabaal Sheard: "He's a younger guy -- 25 I think. Sky is the limit for him. He's a young guy. He's had production in the league. He's a good football player. I'm happy that he's gonna be with us." 

On going into his tenth season: "Tenth year. Thirty-one [years old]. Is thirty-one old? I'm good. I feel great. I had a great season again. I'm gonna have another good offseason. I'm always trying to get better. I gotta break that eight [sacks] number. The last three years I've been at eight, so I need to get to 8 or more. I've been thinking about that for the last two years.

"It's been a blast. I just gotta continue to enjoy it because when you start saying 10, 11, 12 [years], then there's not much after that. I'm just happy to have the opportunity that I've had here."

On his involvement with Team IMPACT: "Team Impact, the things that they do for the community and the children, it's awesome to be a part of that. Not only for the kids that they're helping, the teams that are a part of it to lift the spirits of everyone involved. Happy to be here. Happy to support everything that it's about and it's a great, great thing . . .

"The [college] athletes are tremendous. The things that they're able to do, helping the kids out, whatever it is. I think that it helps both sides. That's the best thing about what this is. It's everyone helping each other, really."

Chris Long doesn't put stock in Brady-Belichick drama. "It took everything to beat them."

Chris Long doesn't put stock in Brady-Belichick drama. "It took everything to beat them."

In an interview with The Big Lead, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long spoke on the drama surrounding Tom Brady and Bill Belichick

It's safe to say he doesn't put much stock into it

I just think any NFL team, any NFL locker room under a lot of stress over a year period, there are going to be storylines people can choose to kind of blow out of proportion or not pay attention to. I think everyone’s going to pay attention to sometimes really small issues. Whatever people are alluding to going on up there hasn’t affected their play, it hasn’t affected their bottom line. It hasn’t affected how they executed on Sundays. 

Long played with the Patriots during the 2016 season and won Super Bowl 51 with them before signing a two-year contract with the Eagles. The Eagles then went on to beat New England in Super Bowl 52. If anyone outside of the Patriots' locker room has an idea of the culture inside the past two years, Long has to be one of them. 

It took everything for us to beat them. It took a heroic performance by Nick Foles and we had to play our best game. So while everybody likes to always point to the Patriots as being under duress or there’s some drama in the locker room, there’s drama in every locker room that you could blow out of proportion. They’re just on top and those stories sell because they’ve been so great.

ESPN's Seth Wickersham released a story detailing some of the issues that arose in New England over the past few years in January, and with Brady missing almost all of the Patriots' voluntary workouts last month, some have started to wonder whether this is the end for one of both of Brady-Belichick. 

While their hasn't been much public acknowledgement from either side about the drama, but Long certainly doesn't see much substance to the noise. 



Tony Romo's Super Bowl prediction draws response from Tom Brady

Tony Romo's Super Bowl prediction draws response from Tom Brady

Tony Romo's Super Bowl prediction of the Jacksonville Jaguars taking over the AFC title from the Patriots and facing the Green Bay Packers in Atlanta in SB53 drew a response from Tom Brady on Instagram.

The NFL's official Instagram account posted a photo of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Jags cornerback Jalen Ramsey with the prediction of Romo, the former Dallas Cowboys QB now the analyst on CBS' No. 1 NFL broadcast team. Here's a screenshot, complete with Brady's comment:

Appearing on the NFL Network earlier this week, Romo said rumors of a rift between Brady and coach Bill Belichick are overblown. “I think they probably squabble just like any married couple for 20 years, and then they also love each other.

“I just think when you work together for 15 to 20 years, whatever it is, I think that whenever you have the success that they have, people have to come up with stuff,” Romo said. “I also think that I’ve been upset with my coaches before, and then you come back and you’re fine. And then you get upset with them, and you come back and you’re fine. It’s a part of sports.”

Brady and the Patriots report to camp on July 26.