Patriots

Patriots video showed 'direct view' of Bengals sideline for 'eight minutes,' report says

Patriots video showed 'direct view' of Bengals sideline for 'eight minutes,' report says

More details are emerging about what happened in Cleveland during last Sunday's Browns-Cincinnati Bengals game, and they're not a great look for the New England Patriots.

According to The Athletic's Paul Dehner Jr., a member of the Patriots' production crew "wearing Boston Bruins gear" was spotted in the Cleveland press box capturing extended footage from the Bengals' sideline.

From Dehner:

According to sources who have viewed the tape, it shows about eight minutes of footage focusing on recording the Bengals’ sideline. It’s a direct view of the sideline as players run on and off the field and coaches make signals for plays.

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor confirmed Monday the NFL is investigating the Patriots for having a film crew at Sunday's game.

Here's New England's perspective: In a statement Monday, the team said the film crew was dispatched by a production crew working independently from football operations to shoot a feature on a Patriots advance scout for "Do Your Job," a video series on Patriots.com that highlights the work of various staffers.

Head coach Bill Belichick insisted he had no knowledge or involvement in what the film crew and that it's a completely independent operation from the team.

But even if Belichick was unaware of what was going on, the Patriots videotaping an opposing team's sideline to identify signals (New England plays Cincinnati this Sunday) is a far more serious offense than simply shooting footage of an advance scout at work.

"This isn’t an over-the-shoulder of the advanced scout who is doing his job stuff," Dehner wrote. "This is shooting the sideline. For an extended period of time.

"The egregious nature of the video is why it set off the firestorm it did during the game with the Bengals executives in the press box."

The NFL's investigation still is ongoing, so expect more developments as this story unfolds.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Ex-Patriots star Rob Gronkowski reveals where he wanted to go in 2010 NFL Draft

Ex-Patriots star Rob Gronkowski reveals where he wanted to go in 2010 NFL Draft

Rob Gronkowski envisioned beginning his NFL career in Arizona.

Gronkowski played two seasons at the University of Arizona and was one of the best tight end prospects entering the 2010 NFL Draft. His initial preference was to make the 2-hour trip from Tuscon to Glendale and play for the Arizona Cardinals. The Kurt Warner era in Arizona had just ended and the team needed a tight end. On paper, the Cardinals and Gronkowski were a perfect match.

“I loved being in the state of Arizona … I was praying that they would take me because I wanted to go there,” Gronkowski said Tuesday on Arizona radio station 98.7 FM's "Doug & Wolf" show. “I felt like they needed a tight end and they brought me in for a little visit.”

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

The visit didn't go very well.

“I took a visit there and everything, I could tell they had no interest in me,” Gronkowski said. “I could tell, the people that brought me in, they were just bringing me in to bring me in.”

Concerns over Gronkowski's back played a part in him dropping to the second round, where the Patriots took a chance on him with the 42nd overall pick. Gronkowski played nine years for the Patriots and became arguably the greatest tight end in pro football history.

He also played a part in three Super Bowl-winning Patriots teams, including a Super Bowl LIII triumph over the Los Angeles Rams in February of 2019 that turned out to be his last NFL game. He retired in March of last year.

The Cardinals are still searching for an elite tight end 10 years later. The position has been an area of weakness for Arizona throughout the last decade. According to USA TODAY, Gronkowski's 80 career receiving touchdowns are 54 more than every Cardinals tight end combined (26 TDs) from 2010 through 2018. 

The Cardinals did take a tight end in the 2010 draft with the selection of Jim Dray in the seventh round. He played in 56 games (and tallied just two receiving touchdowns) for the Cardinals over a seven-year career that also included time with three other teams.

Gronkowski would've been great for the Cardinals, and he was right in their backyard.

Perry: Vrabel and others tiptoe around Brady buzz at combine

NFL Rumors: Could Patriots videotaping investigation punishment come soon?

NFL Rumors: Could Patriots videotaping investigation punishment come soon?

Stop us if you've heard this before: An investigation into a Boston-area sports team has dragged on longer than expected.

The NFL launched its investigation into the Patriots back in December after the Bengals caught a New England staffer videotaping their sideline from Cincinnati's press box during a Week 14 game.

The Patriots issued a statement addressing the incident and footage of their film went public, but the league still hasn't concluded its investigation more than two months later.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

A verdict could be coming soon, however, as The Boston Globe's Ben Volin reports the NFL is "getting closer to wrapping up" its investigation.

From Volin:

Last week, NFL Security completed what was believed to be the final interview with a Patriots employee. Now the security officials must write up their report, then hand it up the chain of command, where it will eventually land on the desk of commissioner Roger Goodell, who will approve of a final course of action.

There's still no precise timetable for that course of action, per Volin.

Head coach Bill Belichick has maintained that his football staff had no connection whatsoever to the illegal videotaping, but New England still could face punishment in the form of a fine and/or loss of a mid-round draft pick.

Will that punishment come before Major League Baseball concludes its never-ending investigation into the 2018 Boston Red Sox? That's anyone's guess.