Patriots

How Phillip Dorsett helped N'Keal Harry during Patriots rookie's IR stint

How Phillip Dorsett helped N'Keal Harry during Patriots rookie's IR stint

On Tuesday, Patriots first-round draft pick N'Keal Harry finally got to participate in his first practice since being placed on injured reserve, and he clearly was ecstatic to get back to work.

Being unable to contribute for the first six weeks of the season had to have been a difficult experience for the 21-year-old. But fortunately for him, he had fellow wideout Phillip Dorsett and the rest of his teammates to help out every step of the way.

“We’ve stayed on him,” Dorsett said, per WEEI. “I know I’ve stayed on him, talking to him every day about it. Just making sure that he’s in shape mentally, physically, emotionally, making sure he’s ready to play. Obviously, he has some time. He has to catch up, but he’ll be fine.”

When Harry returns, he could be a major difference-maker for a Patriots offense that could use some additional weapons. The wide receiver depth chart currently consists of Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Dorsett, and rookies Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski.

A first-round talent thrown into the mix could end up being just what the doctor ordered, and that's one of the multiple reasons why Dorsett wanted to lend Harry a helping hand.

“It’s not like I have to. I want to,” Dorsett said. “He’s a good guy. He’s my teammate. I want him to succeed just as much as I want to succeed. At the end of the day, if he succeeds, this team succeeds. We all have one goal. We want to win. And we know that he knows that he can help us win.”

Harry will be eligible to make his NFL debut in Week 9 (Nov. 3) when the Patriots visit the Baltimore Ravens.

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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.