Patriots

Patriots inactives for Week 1 vs Steelers: Kyle Van Noy and Demaryius Thomas OUT

Patriots inactives for Week 1 vs Steelers: Kyle Van Noy and Demaryius Thomas OUT

As the Patriots get set to begin their sixth Super Bowl championship defense on Sunday night, a few important pieces on both sides of the ball won't be suiting up. 

On their list of inactive players, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and linebacker Kyle Van Noy headline the group. Thomas is still recovering from a hamstring issue while Kyle Van Noy is out because his wife is in labor, per Jeff Howe

Tight end Matt LaCosse was not expected to play Sunday night because of an ankle injury, but it appears he'll be active for the first time since the preseason opener. Rookies Damien Harris and Joejuan Williams will have to wait to make their NFL debuts. 

INACTIVE:
WR Demaryius Thomas
LB Kyle Van Noy
CB Joejuan Williams
RB Damien Harris
OT Korey Cunningham
S Obi Melinfonwu
DT Byron Cowart

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 p.m. EST at Gillette Stadium, as the Patriots raise another banner and face off against the only other franchise in the NFL with six Super Bowl championships. 

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Devin McCourty sounds off on Rex Ryan, ESPN over Amari Cooper 'nonsense'

Devin McCourty sounds off on Rex Ryan, ESPN over Amari Cooper 'nonsense'

Rex Ryan's harsh comments about Amari Cooper last Friday aren't sitting well with anyone.

So, why did ESPN air them in the first place?

That's what New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty wondered Sunday while taking both the former NFL head coach and his current employer to task for Ryan calling Cooper a "turd" on ESPN's "Get Up!"

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"I just wanted to call ESPN and say, ‘ESPN, listen: You have the Jordan documentary coming out. You don’t need to air Rex Ryan,' " McCourty said on his "Double Coverage With the McCourty Twins" podcast.

McCourty's point: ESPN airing Ryan's harsh comments about Cooper -- in which Ryan called the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver a "disappearing act" who "doesn't love football" and added "I wouldn't have paid this turd" -- was a ratings grab.

McCourty sarcastically noted ESPN doesn't need the extra publicity with "The Last Dance," its highly-anticipated documentary on Michael Jordan and the 1998 Chicago Bulls, dropping later this month.

"Ratings are going to go through the roof. When you drop the Jordan doc, it’s a wrap," McCourty said. "As soon as Rex Ryan said that, (ESPN) should have cut it, should have never had it on air.

"Whatever (they) had to do, just cut it. Throw it in the trash. The Jordan doc is going to drop. We don’t need any extra hits for nonsense."

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Devin's twin brother, Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty, also ripped ESPN for promoting Ryan's comments on social media.

"Everybody was all-in on this ‘turd’ comment," Jason said on the podcast. "I guess at the same time, it’s all about entertainment: How can we get more viewers, how can we get people to click this, click that?

"But at what point in the game can you call somebody a turd? Whether he’s a good player or not a good player, it was just bad ball all around."

Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore tweeted his defense of Cooper on Friday, as well, so it sounds like Ryan doesn't have many players in his corner.

Ryan later apologized on ESPN for his comments about Cooper -- which the McCourtys may tell you probably helped the network's ratings, too.

Rob Gronkowski wins 24/7 title at WrestleMania 36

Rob Gronkowski wins 24/7 title at WrestleMania 36

Rob Gronkowski was a big winner during his NFL days, taking home three Super Bowl rings in his nine seasons with the New England Patriots.

And now, his winning ways have carried over to the ring.

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Gronkowski was crowned the WWE's new 24/7 champion at WrestleMania 36 on Sunday night. The rules of the 24/7 belt are that it has to be defended at all times (hence the name, 24/7) and can be taken by anyone at any point, anywhere, so long as a WWE referee is present.

Gronk was able to take the title from his friend and fellow wrestler, Mojo Rawley. You can see the move he performed to land it via the WWE's official Twitter account.

Yeah, that was surely... something. And it sure seems like Gronk is on his way to becoming the WWE's next star given how quickly he has earned a title since signing a contract with the league in mid-March.

Gronk is actually the second player from a major Boston sports team to take home the title in the past year. Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter held the belt very, very briefly at Madison Square Garden after taking it from R Truth. Just minutes after Kanter won it, Truth took back the belt.