Patriots

Patriots QB Tom Brady jokes about his dislike for Cowboys growing up as 49ers fan

Patriots QB Tom Brady jokes about his dislike for Cowboys growing up as 49ers fan

One of the requirements to being a San Francisco 49ers is not liking the Dallas Cowboys.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who grew up as a 49ers fan living in northern California, will play against the Cowboys on Sunday at Gillette Stadium in a much-anticipated Week 12 matchup.

The 42-year-old veteran, during his Wednesday press conference, joked about the dislike he had for Dallas while watching the great Cowboys-49ers matchups during his childhood.

"I've really not liked the Cowboys since coming out of the womb, as a Niners fan," a smiling Brady told reporters. "But, no, I've got a lot of respect for those guys. They've actually had a great winning organization. They've got a lot of great players in their history, guys that I've just -- as a Niners fan -- you know, you play the Cowboys and every time they hand it off to Emmitt Smith it's a 5-yard gain, and you'd pull your hair out. And throw it up to Michael Irvin, and Troy Aikman was such a great player. The defenses, Ken Norton and Primetime (Deion Sanders). I think the history of great players, the tradition -- getting to meet Roger Staubach over the years, he's been such a cool guy, someone to really look up to. And then what they're currently doing with the team they have, one of the most talented teams in the NFL. They're playing great on offense, on defense, and it's going to be a huge challenge for us."

The 49ers and Cowboys have a long, storied rivalry that includes many classic matchups in the NFL playoffs, including six NFC Championship Game meetings from 1970 through 1994. In fact, the Cowboys or 49ers won every Super Bowl over a four-year span from 1992 through 1995.

Brady has enjoyed plenty of success versus the Cowboys. He's 4-0 with 1,164 passing yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions in his career against Dallas. Sunday's game shouldn't lack drama, especially with both teams hungry to improve their standing in the playoff races.

"I love it. I love the opportunity to compete against great teams this time of the year as Thanksgiving approaches," Brady said. "It means a lot for both teams. Every time we play at home it's important to us. Late in the year, we only have so many more chances to go out there and put on a great performance. We'll try to do that."

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Matt Cassel: How Bill Belichick will handle 'Spygate 2.0' behind the scenes

Matt Cassel: How Bill Belichick will handle 'Spygate 2.0' behind the scenes

When “Spygate” originally went down, we as New England Patriots players were unaware of anything that was going on. 

The story became national news pretty quickly. You'd turn on the television and hear everyone calling us cheaters and saying, “This is the reason why they’ve accomplished what they’ve accomplished.” 

It was so blown out of proportion, and it was all speculation at that point.

We were going into our second week of the 2007 season, and Bill Belichick addressed the team to discuss the elephant in the room.

He said, “Look, this is what’s going on, but it’s nothing you guys need to be concerned with. It’s a league issue, and you guys have nothing to do with it."

It was a general statement just notifying the team: "You’re going to be asked about it. I’ll handle the questioning on it."

The fact of the matter was, he wanted to get back to status quo. He reminded us that we had a game that week, and that we had to focus on that.

After that, it was business as usual. “Spygate” wasn’t this overarching theme he addressed constantly throughout the week. Once he said his peace in that first meeting, we were on to the San Diego Chargers (our next opponent), and then the week proceeded as usual.

I think this week's circumstances are completely different from when that development first broke in 2007. 

The players and football staff have no understanding of anything the production team is doing. ... We never saw those guys.

This situation is something in which the film crew for the Patriots' in-house production team was doing their show, "Do Your Job," on an individual scout.

The players and football staff have no understanding of anything the production team is doing on week-to-week basis. We never saw those guys unless they requested an interview with us like any other media outlet.

They weren’t at practice, they were never in meetings. There’s just no communication between them and the players and coaching staff, unless they're doing a story on one of us.

So, this is outside even the realm of football, really.

It's a mishap by the Patriots' production group in that they forgot or didn't acknowledge the rules, and because of the history, everybody immediately draws the conclusion that Bill had something to do with it and this team is somehow benefiting from this. 

That's false -- especially when you're talking about the Cincinnati Bengals, who have won one game all year. That's what makes it more comical when you consider the circumstances.

My guess is Bill won't make more than one quick statement to the team about this.

He'll say, “Look, none of you guys have anything to do with it. Even as a team and a coaching staff, we have nothing to do with this. You let me address it in the media, and if you don’t have any common knowledge of it -- which none of us do -- then there’s really no reason to comment on it.” 

That’s it. Then it’s back to business, back to the work week and back to getting ready for the Bengals. I don’t think it will be brought up any more than that.

Editor's note: Matt Cassel had a 14-year NFL career that included four seasons with the New England Patriots (2005-2008). He's joining the NBC Sports Boston team for this season. You can find him on game days 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 sign trick-shot kicker to the practice squad

Patriots sign trick-shot kicker to the practice squad

FOXBORO — Might as well, right? 

The Patriots have had to trot out four different place kickers in 2019. Three of them have come aboard since Stephen Gostkowski went on season-ending injured reserve. They had another, Younghoe Koo, on the practice squad for a time. 

They're trying everything there. And while Nick Folk has been solid — as solid as a third option could be — the Patriots aren't going to prevent themselves from seeking out ways to improve that spot. 

Even if that means bringing in a YouTube star. 

According to ESPN, the team has signed trick-shot kicker Josh Gable to its practice squad. Gable was out at practice on Wednesday afternoon. 

The Patriots worked out Gable earlier this year but the job went to Mike Nugent. Then Nugent was released in favor of Folk. When Folk had to get his appendix out, Kai Forbath came aboard. 

Now Gable will have a chance to impress on an NFL roster. At least for a time. He did not play college football, and played pro soccer in Europe for a time. He played in the Indoor Football League for the Nebraska Danger and Tucson Sugar Skulls. 

Gable's videos show some clear athleticism and a strong leg, but he'll be tested in the elements in New England (it snowed in the Foxboro area early Wednesday morning). He'll have his hands full carving out a role.

But at this point, for the Patriots, why not? 

The Patriots had multiple practice-squad spots open after two of their p-squad players, defensive back Nate Brooks and offensive linemen Tyler Gauthier, were signed to the active rosters of the Dolphins and Jaguars, respectively. There was a new (at this point unannounced) practice-squad defensive back at Wednesday's practice as well.

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