Patriots

Willie McGinest noticed chip on Tom Brady's shoulder from the beginning

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Willie McGinest noticed chip on Tom Brady's shoulder from the beginning

Maybe it’s revisionist history, but former Patriot Willie McGinest said he had an inkling about Tom Brady, all the way back to Brady’s rookie year in 2000.

“He didn’t talk a lot but he had a chip on his shoulder, “ said McGinest, who was at the Pats joint practice with the Jaguars as an employee of NFL Network .”He felt like he was overlooked in college, which he was. He outperformed the guy {Drew Henson} who played a little more than him so when Tommy got his opportunity on this level, he wasn’t going to look back.”

17 years later, Brady is still carrying that chip. It’s something he - and the organization - refuse to grow complacent. McGinest saw that up close as a player under Bill Belichick and with Brady for six seasons, and still sees that same edge during the 2nd week in August here in 2017.

“Starting off as an underdog, you always keep that in the back of your mind,” he said, “and I think this franchise and this organization has been so good over the last decade plus because no matter how much success we’ve had - or they are still having - you find ways to motivate and turn yourself into the underdogs. I think that’s hard to instill with so much success but they’ve been about to do that here and it’s special.”

We’ve heard Brady talk numerous times of the last couple years about his desire to play well into his 40’s. We’ve discussed and debated it on television and the radio and in print and on blogs. McGinest smiles at the notion.

“I see a lot of motivation now because people keep throwing that number around {40} and all the players i’ve talked to, or people who really understand the game of football, we don’t really measure the games by numbers,” he said. “It’s more about production, what you’re doing on the field. It’s easy to talk about his age, but if you look at a player who’s involved, who keeps getting better, who’s setting records in the Super Bowl, the biggest game of his life, and people are comparing him to nobody now because he’s accomplished so much.”

“At the age of 40, he was still 1-2 for the MVP award, which he probably should have got. He was voted by players in our top 100 - voted by the players, not us - they voted Tom the number one player in the league. How could you be talking about age, or when he’s going to retire, or when he’s going to be done or any of that stuff? i just think you look at the production, look at what he’s doing on the field. I’m not sitting here saying he’s gonna play another 10 years but I don’t think we should start talking about retirement any time soon.”

We will continue to do, but it’s more than likely an exercise in futility.

NFL announces compromise policy on players' anthem protests

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NFL announces compromise policy on players' anthem protests

ATLANTA  — NFL owners approved a new policy Thursday aimed at addressing the firestorm over national anthem protests, permitting players to stay in the locker room during the "The Star-Spangled Banner" but requiring them to stand if they come to the field.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said the change was approved unanimously by the owners at their spring meeting in Atlanta, but it was met with immediate skepticism by the players' union.

"We want people to be respectful of the national anthem. We want people to stand," Goodell said. "That's all personnel, and to make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion. That's something that we think we owe. We've been very sensitive on making sure that we give players choices, but we do believe that moment is an important moment and one that we are going to focus on."

In a sign that players were not part of the discussions, any violations of the policy would result in fines against the team — not the players.

The NFL Players Association said it will challenge any part of the new policy that violates the collective bargaining agreement.

The owners spent several hours addressing the contentious issue — which has reached all the way to the White House.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, a quiet but powerful protest against police brutality and racial inequities in the justice system.

Other players took up the cause, and the gesture carried on during the 2017 season even after Kaepernick left the 49ers and failed to land a job with another team.

President Trump turned the anthem protests into a campaign issue, saying the NFL should fire any player who takes a knee during "The Star-Spangled Banner." The NFL hasn't gone that far, but Kaepernick has yet to land another job and one of his former teammates and fellow protesters, safety Eric Reid, is also out of work.

Both have filed collusion grievances against the NFL.

While the owners touted the change as a compromise and noted it was approved unanimously, the players' union made it clear it was not part of the discussions.

"The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new 'policy,'" the NFLPA said in a statement. "NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about."

The statement added, "The vote by NFL club CEOs today contradicts the statements made to our player leadership by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Chairman of the NFL's Management Council John Mara (co-owner of the New York Giants) about the principles, values and patriotism of our League."

© 2018 by The Associated Press.

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Hoyer comfortable filling in for Brady at QB1 at OTAs

Hoyer comfortable filling in for Brady at QB1 at OTAs

FOXBORO - While it may have been odd for the Patriots to practice without Tom Brady at OTAs, Brian Hoyer insisted it was business as usual for him.

"It's not unique at all," Hoyer said following the second practice of the week for the Patriots. "I've been other places where I've been the guy responsible for leading the huddle, being that guy, that presence there, the leadership, those type of things."

Add that to the list of reasons why having Hoyer is the backup of choice for the Patriots. Not only does he know the offense from when he arrived in New England as an undrafted free agent back in 2009. After a decade in the league - including 37 regular-season starts in Arizona, Cleveland, Houston, Chicago and San Francisco - he understands what it's like to be QB1. 

That's not the role the Patriots planned on having him fill when they picked him up after the Jimmy Garoppolo trade last season, but it makes this spring a tad easier to navigate than if the team had a couple of rookies handling all of its OTA snaps. 

"Brian does a great job," Bill Belichick said before the workout Tuesday. "He's done a great job for us. He has a lot of experience. He knows our offense inside and out and he does a great job."

Brady's absence left Hoyer and seventh-round rookie Danny Etling to take the full quarterback workload on Tuesday. Director of player personnel Nick Caserio, who played quarterback at John Carroll University, also shouldered some of the throwing -- something he often does this time of year.  

It wasn't the prettiest OTA the Patriots offense has ever run, which is understandable given the time of year. But even with expectations lowered because it's OTA No. 2 of 10, it seemed as though the team missed Brady. His presence can raise the play of those around him. 

His absence, though, according to Hoyer, wasn't a distraction. 

"No, I don't think so," Hoyer said. "I'm focused on myself. I know my teammates, we're all focused on getting better each day and that's all we can do. I don't think it's a distraction in any way at all."

Hoyer added: "I look at it as a great opportunity to be out there, be the guy that's in charge of the huddle, lead those guys, get to know the guys that were here last year a little bit better and get to know the new guys too."

There will be ample opportunity this spring for Hoyer to get to know how his new teammates play since it looks as if Brady won't be around until mandatory minicamp kicks off June 5. 

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