Patriots

Mike Vrabel recalls trolling Bill Belichick by wearing a Giants helmet to practice

Mike Vrabel recalls trolling Bill Belichick by wearing a Giants helmet to practice

Bill Belichick has enjoyed tremendous success over his last 20 years as head coach of the New England Patriots, but he still likes to reflect on his days as linebackers coach and defensive coordinator of the New York Giants.

Belichick spent 1979-90 with the Giants and helped them to two Super Bowl titles (XXI and XXV) in that span. Those glory days have stuck with Belichick to this day, to the point where he often brings them up during Patriots practices.

Back in 2007, then-Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel showed up to practice wearing a Giants helmet to troll his head coach — and the Tennessee Titans head coach looked back on that hilarious moment in a conversation with NBC Sports Boston's "Camera Guys."

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"Every other day, it's not an exaggeration that [Belichick] would reference the New York Giants. And he'd be like, '[Carl] Banks used to do this, Pepper [Johnson] used to do this, and [Lawrence Taylor].' Like, 'You guys stink. These guys were 3-4 linebackers.' And he would show us film.

"So finally I was like, 'OK, we've got to do something.' And I found this old helmet in the equipment room, and I was like, 'You know what? I think now's the time to roll with it, come out there and be like, 'Here we go, Bill. We've got the Giants linebackers going."

Even Belichick had to crack a smile at that one.

It turns out Vrabel wasn't the only jokester on those Patriots teams, either. His fellow linebackers provided plenty of humor at practices.

"We didn't stretch," Vrabel said. "It was like me, Tedy [Bruschi], Larry [Izzo]. It was like the old guys from The Muppets. We didn't stretch, we just sat around in a circle and sat there and just told jokes for 12 minutes."

Vrabel also talked with The Camera Guys about the real reason he FaceTimed Tom Brady and Julian Edelman during the Syracuse-UNC game, his thoughts on Brady's "The Match" performance, and much more.

Check out the full interview from NBC Sports Boston's YouTube channel

NFL opt outs: Complete list of players who won't play in 2020 season

NFL opt outs: Complete list of players who won't play in 2020 season

NFL training camps officially began Tuesday, but there were some notable absences.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif became the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season last Friday, citing health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then, multiple players have followed suit, continuing a trend across all major North American professional sports of players declining to participate in their seasons as COVID-19 persists in the United States.

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The Patriots especially have felt the impact of this trend: Six New England players -- including star linebacker Dont'a Hightower -- already have opted out, the most of any NFL team.

Below is a running list of the players who have opted out of the 2020 NFL season, according to reports or team/player confirmations. The list is sorted alphabetically after the Patriots, with the date of the players' opt-outs in parentheses.

New England Patriots

RB Brandon Bolden (July 28)
OT Marcus Cannon (July 28)
S Patrick Chung (July 28)
LB Dont'a Hightower (July 28)
WR Marqise Lee (August 1)
OG Najee Toran (July 27)
FB Danny Vitale (July 27)
TE Matt LaCosse (August 2)

Baltimore Ravens

OT Andre Smith (July 28)
WR/KR De'Anthony Thomas (July 27)

Buffalo Bills

CB E.J. Gaines (August 2)
DT Star Lotulelei (July 28)

Carolina Panthers

LB Jordan Mack (July 28)
LB Christian Miller (August 3)

Chicago Bears

DT Eddie Goldman (July 28)

Cincinnati Bengals

OT Isaiah Prince (July 31)
DT Josh Tupou (July 31)

Cleveland Browns

OL Drake Dorbeck (July 29)
OL Drew Forbes (July 29)

Dallas Cowboys

CB Maurice Canady (July 27)
WR Stephen Guidry (July 28)
FB Jamize Olawale (Aug. 2)

Denver Broncos

OT JaWuan James (Aug. 3)
DT Kyle Peko (July 28)

Detroit Lions

DT John Atkins (July 29)
WR Geronimo Allison (Aug. 2)

Green Bay Packers

WR Devin Funchess (July 28)

Houston Texans

DT Eddie Vanderdoes (July 28)

Jacksonville Jaguars

EDGE Larentee McCray (August 1)
DL Al Woods (July 31)

Kansas City Chiefs

OG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (July 24)
RB Damien Williams (July 29)

Los Angeles Rams

OT Chandler Brewer (July 31)

Minnesota Vikings

NT Michael Pierce (July 28)

New Orleans Saints

TE Jason Vander Laan (July 28)
TE Cole Wick (July 28)

New York Giants

WR Da'Mari Scott (August 2)
LT Nate Solder (July 29)

New York Jets

OL Leo Koloamatangi (July 28)
LB CJ Mosley (Aug. 1)

Philadelphia Eagles

WR Marquise Goodwin (July 28)

Seattle Seahawks

OG Chance Warmack (July 27)

Tennessee Titans

OL Anthony McKinney (July 28)

Washington Football Team

DT Caleb Brantley (July 27)

Free Agents

G Larry Warford (July 28)

Bucs' Tom Brady celebrates 43rd birthday with self-aware tweet

Bucs' Tom Brady celebrates 43rd birthday with self-aware tweet

What do you get a six-time Super Bowl champion with a supermodel wife and millions of dollars for his birthday?

Turns out the answer is pretty simple: a new phone.

Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady turns 43 years old Monday, and once he hits the field for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season, he'll be just the fifth QB in NFL history to take a snap past 43.

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Here's how Brady celebrated his first birthday outside New England in over two decades:

What's with the new iPhone reference? Well, Brady inadvertently let slip on his Instagram story this weekend that he's still rocking an iPhone 6.

The iPhone 6 came out in September 2014, back when Brady still was seeking his fourth Super Bowl title and had yet to become entangled in the Deflategate debacle.

There's nothing wrong with keeping the same phone for six years, but when you're a multimillionaire of Brady's stature, you can probably upgrade a bit more often.

Then again, nothing reinforces Brady's status as the NFL's oldest non-kicker like the QB rocking some out-of-date technology.

At least his wife, Gisele Bundchen, still supports him, regardless of what iPhone model he has.