Patriots

Quick Slants the Podcast: Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff lauds Bill Belichick; A deep dive into the newly-released 2019 Patriots schedule

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Quick Slants the Podcast: Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff lauds Bill Belichick; A deep dive into the newly-released 2019 Patriots schedule

1:24 - Tom E. Curran is joined by General Manager of the Atlanta Falcons Thomas Dimitroff, who talks about his impressions of Bill Belichick following the NFL meetings in March.

9:55 - Before letting him go, Tom gets Dimitroff's thoughts on the batch of receivers in the upcoming draft.

13:58 - Tom breaks down each and every matchup of the Patriots 2019 schedule, from their Week 1 opener vs. the Steelers, to their tough Week 5-through-9 stretch  (18:31), to an interesting December with games against the Texans and Chiefs (23:55).

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Report: Rob Gronkowski's back injury lowers chances of Patriots return

Report: Rob Gronkowski's back injury lowers chances of Patriots return

Rob Gronkowski played through a lot of pain last year. And if he decides to come out of retirement, he'll likely have to do the same.

It's been widely reported that injuries played a factor in the New England Patriots tight end's decision to step away from football at age 29. Among those injuries was a bulging disc in Gronkowski's back that NFL Media's Mike Giardi reported might need surgery at some point this offseason.

In his column Monday for The MMQB, Albert Breer confirmed Gronkowski's back injury played a role in his retirement decision and could dissuade him from attempting a comeback:

One reason why Gronkowski scuffled through 2018 was a mid-season battle with a bulging disk in his back. By the end of the year, it was no longer a factor. But I’m told that knowing how close he might have been to a fourth back surgery, and the implications that could have down the line, was one factor in his decision to retire.

So just logically, it’d be hard to imagine that concern would go away at 30 years old. Or, at the very least, would be one mental hurdle he’d have to clear if he were to come back again.

Gronkowski already has undergone three back surgeries and spoke openly this past season about the punishment his body has taken. Some current and former NFL players refuse to believe Gronk is done playing, but the affable All-Pro seems to be enjoying post-retirement life, with WWE cameos and appearances at Boston sporting events occupying part of his time.

In short: Gronk had good reason to retire, and while the door isn't totally shut on his 2019 return, it seems like he'd need a very good reason to suit up again.

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Devin McCourty draws fitting Patriots parallel in Rutgers commencement speech

Devin McCourty draws fitting Patriots parallel in Rutgers commencement speech

Devin and Jason McCourty had some quality life experience to draw on at their alma mater this weekend.

The twin brothers and New England Patriots defensive backs delivered the commencement speech to Rutgers' Class of 2019 on Sunday at the school's football stadium.

The theme of the McCourty twins' speech was realizing success, as Devin told the 2019 graduates, "Don’t just be successful, but redefine success and then do it again."

Devin and Jason reached the pinnacle of success with the Patriots this past season, becoming the first twins to win a Super Bowl as teammates when New England defeated the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

But that achievement was the result of years of hard work for both brothers, who stepped outside their comfort zones to pursue their NFL dreams despite not being elite recruits out of high school.

"If we accept those fears from others, how can we unlock our true purpose on this earth?” Devin said. "Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. The power of positive thinking can change your life."    

Devin then brought it back to the Patriots, whose modern-day dynasty began when head coach Bill Belichick trusted his gut and stuck with Tom Brady as the team's starting quarterback in 2001 over Drew Bledsoe.

“I know chasing goals can be scary," he said. "You may be doing things for the first time in your family’s history. You may be following in the footsteps of someone great. But do you think we’d be standing here, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Paul Robeson’s graduation, if he let fear and doubt step in the way of being great?

 "Would the Patriots have won six Super Bowls if Bill Belichick listened to other people and put (Tom) Brady back on the bench?" 

Devin is right, as Belichick's QB decision led to a series of events that reunited the twins on New England's sixth Super Bowl title team.

You can check out the McCourtys' full speech in the video below:

 

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