Patriots

Damien Harris not worried about limited opportunities thus far

Damien Harris not worried about limited opportunities thus far

The Patriots are taking on the Browns at 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon. Be sure to tune in to NBC Sports Boston for Patriots Pregame Live at 2:30 p.m. ET, then Postgame Live immediately after the Week 8 matchup.

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The New England Patriots have one of the deeper running back rooms in the NFL at the moment. With Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, and Brandon Bolden all on board, the team has a number of ways that they can attack defenses. And so far this season, they have used a committee approach to maximize their values.

However, one player that hasn't factored into the mix as much as some thought is Damien Harris. A third-round rookie out of Alabama, Harris has only been active once for the Patriots. That came in Week 7 against the New York Jets.  Though the game was a blowout, Harris didn't get his first carry until the latter stages of the fourth quarter and overall, he had four carries for 12 yards.

But still, Harris' limited opportunities haven't bothered him so far.

"All I worry about every single day is improving as a player and doing whatever this team needs me to do," Harris said per Nicole Yang of The Boston Globe. "If my name or number ever gets called, I try to be as ready as I can. As far as worrying about, ‘Am I going to play or am I not going to play?’, this, that, those are things I don’t have time to worry about."

It certainly sounds like Harris is buying into the Patriots system. And it's not entirely a surprise either. After all, Harris was used as part of a tandem at Alabama. He and first-round pick Josh Jacobs effectively split carries in their final season together. 

And as Harris stated, adjusting to the NFL has taken some time, which partially explains his limited opportunities.

"This is a professional league," Harris said. "Everything is harder. Learning is harder, the people you’re going against is harder. There’s a lot more challenges, but you just have to continue to improve every single day."

If Harris can continue to improve, more opportunities may arise for him in the Patriots run offense. Burkhead hasn't played at all since Week 4 with a toe injury. Michel has served as the team's lead back this year, but he is only averaging 3.3 yards per carry and hasn't been much of a factor in the passing game.

Should these issues persist, Harris should continue to be active and could see some more carries. And right now, it seems like he has the right attitude as he waits for his first big chance to prove himself.

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Why Tom Brady picks 45 as the age he wants to play until

Why Tom Brady picks 45 as the age he wants to play until

Whenever Tom Brady is asked about when he plans on calling it a career, it comes back to one number: 45.

The New England Patriots quarterback, now 42, has mentioned on multiple occasions 45 as the age he'd like to play until. But why 45 and not, say, 44 or 46?

Brady explained Wednesday on WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni & Fauria" why he's always going with that specific number.

“I think I have always said 45 just because that’s a good goal to set because that is one that has been pretty hard to get to for most guys. I think you have to have goals — you have daily goals, you have yearly goals and you have long-term goals," Brady said. "I think for me it’s really just the love of football. I don’t know if or when I will ever not love it. That’s the thing.

"I don’t know, it’s just some people are maybe great guitarists, there’s great chefs, there’s great lawyers, there’s great artists, actors, you name it. I think if you really love it, why should you stop? You just love it. I don’t know how to explain it other than I love doing it and that is enough for me.”

At this stage of Brady's career, even as he continues to play at a high level, the six-time Super Bowl champion is constantly faced with questions about his future. Brady, who can become a free agent for the first time after this season, understands why it remains such a popular topic, and he isn't taking his ability to step onto the gridiron at age 42 for granted.

“I think it is a natural question for most athletes that are getting older," Brady said. "It’s not going to last forever, so at some point, it comes to an end and everyone wants to be the first one to predict it. I feel like I am just being honest with myself that I am going to do the best I can do. I feel like everything at this point is just gravy.

"The fact I get to go out and play professional football at 42 is pretty cool. I still love doing it and I still love the competition. I don’t know when that will ever leave. I don’t know if it will ever leave. I don’t know what factors will contribute, but I am trying to be in the moment and the thing about football is it is a contact sport. It’s not basketball, it’s not baseball — really any game could be your last game. I think it is good to have that perspective, too.”

Brady has the Patriots in a position to make yet another Super Bowl run as they enter Week 11 with an 8-1 record. They'll aim to come out of the bye week strong when they take on the Philadelphia Eagles in a Super Bowl 52 rematch on Sunday.

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Chris Long explains differences between 2016 Patriots and 2017 Eagles

Chris Long explains differences between 2016 Patriots and 2017 Eagles

Chris Long had spent most of his NFL career on losing teams. Then, he went and won back-to-back Super Bowl titles with the 2016 Patriots and the 2017 Eagles.

While the final result for both teams was the same, Long saw plenty of differences with the way Philadelphia went about their business compared to the Patriots. The former defensive end discussed in detail with Tom E. Curran in the latest Patriots Talk Podcast.

"The difference between New England and Philly was like, that was the first time [the Eagles have won the Super Bowl]," Long told Curran. "So whatever it was like when the Patriots won for the first time, that's what I walked into in Philly."

Long also touched on Lane Johnson's comments about Pats players "not having fun" in New England.

"In New England, they tend to do things a different way and it's the Patriot Way, but you also have had 'the GOAT [Tom Brady]' for 20 years and you've got 'The Hoodie' [Bill Belichick]," Long said. "So that continuity... and of course part of that is the way Bill does things and the way they've designed that organization.

"Every organization is different and some are more 'fun' than others. I also consider having a bunch of awesome teammates in New England a lot of fun and I thought winning was a lot of fun because for eight years, I was on crap teams."

You can hear everything Long had to say by listening to the Patriots Talk Podcast below.

Other topics on the show include Long's upcoming media company, "Chalk Media," how athletes deal with social anxiety, Colin Kaepernick's upcoming NFL workout, and Long's new NBA "side team."

Listen to the full episode below (Patriots/Eagles discussion begins at 24:31):

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