Patriots

Matt Cassel: How the Patriots will handle Antonio Brown saga behind the scenes

Matt Cassel: How the Patriots will handle Antonio Brown saga behind the scenes

With any organization, you have to address the elephant in the room. But you also have to send a clear message to everyone involved.

So, after the lawsuit against Antonio Brown came to light Tuesday night, I'm guessing Bill Belichick called a meeting and told his Patriots players something like this:

Look, you guys don't know the circumstances. You don't know what's going on in terms of the investigation, the allegations, everything else. You'll read a lot of things, but at the same time, this is not anything to do with you individually.

We have to deal with it as a team. And the best way to deal with it as a team is to let Antonio speak for himself and let the due process take place. We'll keep you informed, but you shouldn't be commenting on someone else's situation, because you don't know the facts or the circumstances.

Unfortunately, I've been around a lot of organizations over my 14-year career that have dealt with off-field issues.

I was in Kansas City in 2012 when Jovan Belcher committed murder-suicide. That was a much, much heavier situation.

You're dealing with it not only as a friend and as a teammate, but then also the calamity of the situation with an innocent woman being killed. 

One day you're sitting next to him in stretch lines, and as you drive in the next morning, your whole world is rocked by the simple fact that two people are dead, one being your teammate. In that circumstance, there's no easy way to handle it.

I was in New England in 2007 for Spygate. Comparatively speaking, that was an easy one. 

We knew what was going on with Spygate. We were in football mode, and it didn't impact our day-to-day. There's so much noise on the outside -- "You're cheaters, you're this, you're that" -- but the easiest way to settle that is to go 18-0 and go to the Super Bowl. Yes, we lost, but everyone thought it was going to have major implications on the season, and it was just business as usual.

I was in Minnesota in 2014 when Adrian Peterson was suspended. In that situation, we were about to play the Patriots when his suspension came out the Friday before the game.

He was at practice all week, and then I got a phone call from the PR department saying, "Has anyone reached out to you regarding Adrian?" I said, "What are you guys talking about?" I had no clue. I was completely blindsided by it.

And it ended up being a huge story. We had every major media outlet -- I’m not just talking about sports outlets, I’m talking about CNN, Fox News, all these people -- at our facility. It was a distraction, and it was overwhelming for a lot of guys. I’m sure the coaching staff and the organization had to figure out how to best go about it with one of their franchise players.

The Patriots are in a similar situation right now with Brown. But as a player on that team, you literally sit there and say, "Well, I’ve got to get ready to do my job."

Because at the end of the day, it’s a business. It’s a job. And you’ve got to get ready to play, because Sunday is going to be here before you know it, and distractions are going to happen. 

But this is one of the best things the Patriots have always done: They try to eliminate those distractions outside the stadium and just do their job. And as a player growing up in that system, that’s your mindset each and every week, no matter what happens.

If Brown is coming out to practice? Great, we’re all practicing.  If he’s not, then the next guy steps up and we move forward.     

Editor's note: Matt Cassel had a 14-year NFL career that included stops with the New England Patriots (2005-2008), Kansas City Chiefs (2009-2012) and Minnesota Vikings (2013-2014). He's joining the NBC Sports Boston team for this season. You can find him on gamedays as part of our Pregame Live and Postgame Live coverage, as well as every week on Tom E. Curran’s Patriots Talk podcast and NBCSportsBoston.com.

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Patriots release statement in response to Bengals' videotaping allegations

Patriots release statement in response to Bengals' videotaping allegations

The New England Patriots have released an official statement in response to the Cincinnati Bengals' allegations of videotaping their sideline.

The statement explains that a three-person video crew was sent to Cleveland for the Bengals-Browns game to film a feature on the Pats scouting department for Patriots.com's "Do Your Job" series.

The Patriots acknowledge that their failure to inform the Bengals of the taping was an "unintended oversight" and admit the video crew unknowingly broke league rules by filming the field from the press box. They also echoed head coach Bill Belichick's statement that the team is independent of the production crew.

Curran: Separating fact from fiction of NFL investigation into Patriots

Read the full statement below:

The NFL currently is investigating the matter, but this appears to be a giant misunderstanding based on what Belichick and the Patriots organization had to say.

The Patriots (10-3) will visit the Bengals (1-12) for their Week 15 matchup on Sunday.

Curran: Pats' resilience has to be their go-to going forward>>>

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Tom Brady addresses boos from Patriots fans: 'They have every right'

Tom Brady addresses boos from Patriots fans: 'They have every right'

It had been quite a while since the Gillette Stadium crowd booed their beloved New England Patriots. After all, the Pats rode a 21-game home win streak into Sunday's game vs. the Kansas CIty Chiefs.

But the boos were loud and clear at the end of the first half with the offensive sputtering and the Patriots trailing 20-7. In his Monday appearance on Westwood One with Jim Gray, quarterback Tom Brady shared his thoughts on the harsh reaction from the fans in Foxboro.

"Well that's part of being in sports is everybody's got a chance to cheer you or boo you," Brady told Gray. "There's been plenty of times where they've been cheering us and again, you take the good with the bad. They have every right to boo when we're not playing the way that we're capable.

"For me, I'm focused on what I've got to do to go in there and do a better job. We've been through it before, it won't be the last time and that's OK it doesn't hurt our feelings."

Does Brady hear the boos?

"Yeah, you have 70,000 people out there. It's pretty loud," Brady said with a laugh. "But, you know, that's what fans do."

If anyone understands the lofty expectations that come with playing in New England, it's No. 12.

The Patriots will visit the Cincinnati Bengals for their Week 15 matchup, so fortunately they won't have to worry about the boo birds from their own fans on Sunday. If they return home after falling to a 1-12 team, however, that'll be a different story.

Belichick responds to Bengals' videotaping allegations>>>

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