Patriots

Bill Belichick responds to Demaryius Thomas' critical Patriots comments

Bill Belichick responds to Demaryius Thomas' critical Patriots comments

Demaryius Thomas ripped the New England Patriots over his trade to the New York Jets in recent comments made to the New York Daily News, calling the situation "insulting."

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick responded Thursday in his press conference to Thomas' remarks, and he gave a little more information than you'd normally expect from him in a situation like this.

"Look, Demaryius is a great kid," Belichick said. "I have a ton of respect for him. He's very professional, and he did everything we asked him to do. Our circumstances changed a couple of times in that period leading up to when he was traded. I felt like I was always truthful with him, but things changed and therefore, what I said was not the same as what I had said previously. So it is what it is."

Thomas was dealt to the Jets two days after the Patriots' Week 1 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers -- a victory that the wideout was inactive for. He's clearly frustrated with how his tenure in New England ended.

"It was insulting, for sure,” Thomas told Manish Mehta of the Daily News. “Once I got cut (on August 31), I could have just come here (to the Jets) and not stayed there and re-sign. When they re-signed me, I was thinking that I was good. Two weeks later, I was gone. "So, it’s like, ‘Why did I waste my time?’ Because at the end of the day, it was kind of a waste of time for me."

Thomas and the Jets will host the Patriots at MetLife Stadium in Week 7 for a "Monday Night Football" matchup. The 31-year-old wide receiver did not play against the Patriots when the Jets visited Gillette Stadium in Week 3 and lost 30-14.

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NFL Rumors: Why Colts signed Philip Rivers over Tom Brady in free agency

NFL Rumors: Why Colts signed Philip Rivers over Tom Brady in free agency

Tom Brady or Philip Rivers?

At first blush, it seems like a no-brainer: Go with the six-time Super Bowl champion.

But the Colts went in the other direction, signing Rivers to a one-year, $25 million contract in free agency despite Brady reportedly having interest in Indianapolis.

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Head coach Frank Reich and the Colts strongly considered the New England Patriots quarterback, too. But here's why they opted for Rivers instead, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport:

"Frank Reich talked about the things he loved about Brady. He thought the tape was phenomenal and obviously, Brady is one of the all-time greats. That goes without saying," Rapoport said.

"They believed that Philip Rivers was a better fit for them in part because of the familiarity that he has with the offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni, with Frank Reich himself (and) with Jason Michael, the tight ends coach -- that was one factor."

Reich spent three years with Rivers on the Chargers as his quarterbacks coach (2013) and offensive coordinator (2014-15). Sirianni worked with the Chargers for five seasons (2013 to 2017), while Michael teamed up with Rivers in San Diego from 2011 to 2013.

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The other factor? Rivers was willing to play on a one-year deal, while Brady was not, per Rapoport.

"Tom Brady signed a two-year fully guaranteed deal with the Bucs," Rapoport said. "It doesn’t seem like the Colts were willing to go there."

Both Brady and Rivers carry a $25 million cap hit in 2020, but Brady's deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers includes a no-trade clause and locks him in through 2021.

Brady will be 44 years old in 2021, and while Rivers will turn 39 in December, the Colts perhaps felt there was less risk in signing him to a one-year deal.

Brady and Rivers posted similar stats in 2019 -- Brady threw for 4,057 yards with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions, while Rivers racked up 4,615 yards with 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions -- but Brady will be out to prove the Colts picked the wrong QB when(ever) the 2020 season begins.

Robert Kraft lends Patriots' plane to transport N95 masks from China

Robert Kraft lends Patriots' plane to transport N95 masks from China

The New England Patriots and the Kraft family are actively joining Massachusetts' fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft and team president Jonathan Kraft commissioned New England's team plane to fly to China to transport 1.2 million N95 protective masks back to Massachusetts, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Per the Journal, Mass. Governor Charlie Baker reached an agreement with Chinese manufacturers two weeks ago to receive a shipment of the masks, which are essential to the safety of health care workers exposed to COVID-19 but are in woefully short supply in the state.

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But Baker didn't have a way to transport the masks to the United States -- until the Krafts stepped in. Working with Baker and the U.S. State Department, Robert and Jonathan agreed to lend their team plane as transport.

The "Air Kraft" landed in Shenzen, China, according to the Journal, where extra precautions were taken during the three-hour loading process: No one from the flight crew left the plane to avoid the risk of infection.

The Boeing 767 departed Shenzen at 3:38 a.m. on Wednesday morning, per the Journal, and is set to arrive Thursday afternoon at Logan Airport, where Robert Kraft, Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito will greet the plane, according to Politico.

The National Guard then will transport the 1.2 million masks to a "strategic stockpile" in Marlborough, Mass., Politico reported.

The original order was for 1.7 million masks, per the Journal, but only 1.2 million could fit on the plane, so the remaining 500,000 will be sent to the U.S. in a separate shipment early next week.

Massachusetts had 7,738 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Wednesday, according to the CDC, including 122 deaths from the novel virus. Both of those numbers are expected to grow exponentially.