FOXBORO -- When an off-field situation bubbles up, the immediate and most pertinent question is how the on-field product will be impacted.
The game is what ultimately is being manufactured by the players and coaches, covered by the media and followed by the fans.
Patriots players were instructed to offer no comment on the incident Sunday involving Chandler Jones. But one Patriots I spoke to indicated that the team has dealt so often with perceived distractions over the years that a situation like Jones’ barely even registers.
Another Patriot indicated that the accompanying media attention -- the gawk factor -- actually galvanizes the team and helps it to focus even more completely on the task at hand, which is a playoff game Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Jones was not seen in the locker room during the 45-minute media access period prior to practice. A portion of the more-than-80-person media contingent encircled Jones’ locker but waited in vain.
Patriots captain Matt Slater was the most forthcoming on Jones, saying, “I certainly don’t know enough to comment at all on that situation. I will say this, as a member of this team we support all 50, 60 guys on this team. We have their backs regardless of the situation and that’s no different with Chandler. He has our support but as I said I don’t know enough about the situation, nor do I have the right to comment on that.”
Jones was at practice Wednesday afternoon, as he’s been each day this week.
“We just try to go about our jobs and routines as best we can and put the focus on football,” said Slater. “But as I said, obviously, when guys go through different things we support them if they need us, so that’s no different in this case. At the end of the day, (whether it be player or media) the man and the woman and what’s going on in life, their circumstances will always supersede the game of football. The closer a team is off the field, it definitely shows up when it’s time to step between the white (lines).”