Patriots

Patriots have 34 players present for Trump White House visit

Patriots have 34 players present for Trump White House visit

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- All things considered, the Patriots had a good crowd show up to Wednesday's White House visit. 

The team invited 68 players -- including all 53 players on the active roster at the end of the season, practice-squad members and those on injured reserve -- and exactly half showed up to celebrate the team's Super Bowl victory with president Donald Trump.

This was on the high end of what the club was expecting. The projected range of attendees was thought to be somewhere between 27 (the number of players that showed up for the Patriots visit to the White House in 2005) and 36 (the number that showed up to the White House visit in 2004). As was the case in those years, the thinking was that the number of players present was reduced in part because for some who were invited the novelty of going to the White House wasn't the same as it was two years ago. 

Of course, there are players who opted not to show due to their feeling about Trump and his administration. Devin McCourty, Alan Branch, Chris Long, Martellus Bennett and LeGarrette Blount all have been outspoken about the fact that they did not feel as though it was appropriate for them to take part in the festivities because of the man occupying the nation's highest office. 

There were other reasons for player absences, however. Run-of-the mill reasons. One player said he would not be able to make it earlier this week because he had the dates mixed up and couldn't miss a family birthday party. Another had a surgery scheduled for his dog. 

Tom Brady's absence was the most notable. He had a personal family matter to attend to, he told ESPN's Mike Reiss. The only players no longer on the Patriots to make the trip were Jabaal Sheard and Barkevious Mingo -- both now members of the Colts. 

Devin McCourty avoids fine after personal foul penalty for hit against Dolphins

Devin McCourty avoids fine after personal foul penalty for hit against Dolphins

Saturday is the day the NFL usually passes out fines for hits from the previous Sunday. Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree, for example, was hit with a $21,056 bill for his helmet-to-helmet shot to Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, though he wasn't penalized on the play. 

Devin McCourty, however, can rest easy. As can his daughter London, 2, and son Brayden 1.

He wasn't fined for his hit on Dolphins receiver Allen Hurns, though he did draw a personal foul flag for lowering the head to initiate contact. 

Initially, the veteran Patriots safety wasn't happy with the call, but then said he told the officials "it was actually a pretty good call once I saw the replay."

McCourty expressed concern a fine might be coming last Sunday in his postgame press conference. "Hopefully the NFL doesn’t fine me. I don’t think it was fine-worthy. I’ve got too many kids for that,” he said with a smile.

McCourty has only drawn one fine in his career. In December 2010, he was fined $10,000 after a hit on a defenseless receiver, Packers tight end Andrew Quarless, drew an unnecessary roughness penalty.  

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Patriots promote FB Jakob Johnson off practice squad to replace injured James Develin vs Jets

Patriots promote FB Jakob Johnson off practice squad to replace injured James Develin vs Jets

The Patriots promoted fullback Jakob Johnson off their practice squad Saturday to replace the injured James Develin in Week 3 against the Jets. 

Develin missed all three of the Patriots' practices this week with a neck injury and was listed out on Friday. 

Johnson, an undrafted rookie out of the University of Tennessee and former German Football league player, will dress for his first game in the NFL. 

Johnson was originally recruited as a linebacker out of high school, but he made the transition to tight end while with the Volunteers. The Patriots turned him into a fullback, so the 24-year-old has shown a fair share of versatility over the course of his career. 

The Patriots usually find creative ways to utilize Develin in the passing game while sometimes giving him opportunities to punch in touchdowns on the goal line. There's a small chance Johnson gets that chance on Sunday, but who knows since the game will most likely be over by halftime. 

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