Patriots

Report: Kyle Rudolph signs extension with Vikings, shutting down Patriots trade rumors

Report: Kyle Rudolph signs extension with Vikings, shutting down Patriots trade rumors

The New England Patriots were rumored to have an interest in Kyle Rudolph this offseason. And it made sense. Rob Gronkowski had retired, and the team had a gaping hole at the tight end position as a result.

In recent weeks, that hole has only gotten larger. The team found out that Ben Watson was suspended for the first four games of the season and cut Austin Seferian-Jenkins as he deals with personal issues. That's part of the reason that they were tied to Rudolph in trade rumors, but nothing substantial ever came of that.

Late Monday night, a resolution came to the Rudolph rumors. He is preparing to sign an extension with the Minnesota Vikings, per Courtney Cronin of ESPN.

Given that the Patriots never seemed to show significant interest in Rudolph, this isn't a big deal. But, it does significantly water down the trade market if the team does decide to add somebody to help at the position.

For the time being, the team seems content to stick with what they have at the tight end position. They will likely roll with Matt LaCosse as the starter at least until Watson returns to action.

Patriots' next order of business? Tom Brady's contract>>>

UPDATE (Tuesday, June 11, 8 a.m. ET): Rudolph confirmed news of his pending extension on Twitter, and according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the tight end is getting a four-year deal.

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Bill Belichick the pitchman? Patriots coach spotted shooting Subway commercial

Bill Belichick the pitchman? Patriots coach spotted shooting Subway commercial

Bill Belichick apparently signed up to speak in front of a camera Tuesday.

The New England Patriots head coach was spotted outside a Subway restaurant in Branford, Conn., on Tuesday, according to several eyewitnesses who posted photos (and one glorious video) of Belichick on Twitter and Instagram.

As those Instagram users suggested, Belichick was in fact shooting a commercial for Subway, the town's selectman confirmed to Zip06.com.

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The Patriots have some downtime before training camp (supposedly) begins later this month, but it's pretty surprising to see the intensely private head coach out in public -- shooting a commercial, no less -- instead of fishing in Nantucket. (Props to Belichick for wearing his mask, though.)

Branford is a just 30-minute drive south of Wesleyan University, so perhaps Belichick paid a trip to his alma mater before or after filming this ad -- which we'll be very eager to see.

Patriots' Gillette Stadium to host 20 percent of fans in best-case scenario

Patriots' Gillette Stadium to host 20 percent of fans in best-case scenario

Cam Newton could make his New England Patriots debut in front of 13,175 fans.

And that's the best-case scenario.

The Patriots announced Tuesday they expect Gillette Stadium to operate at 20 percent capacity for 2020 home games. That's if fans are allowed to attend games at all, which would need approval from state and local governments.

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If fans attend games, they'll be required to wear face coverings "at all times" inside the stadium and stay at least six feet from other parties, per the team.

To aid in physical distancing, the Patriots will distribute tickets in blocks of 10 seats or less and close off the eight rows closest to the field. The team also announced earlier this month that all ticketing will be digital and that parking at the stadium will be free.

Again, this all assumes fans will even be allowed at NFL stadiums -- and that the 2020 season will start on time -- as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the United States.

By announcing an 80 percent reduction in crowd size, though, the Patriots join several teams in at least acknowledging this season will look very different from years past, even under the best-case scenario.