Patriots

Report: Nike ends shoe deal with Antonio Brown

Report: Nike ends shoe deal with Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown is no longer a Nike athlete.

According to Michael Silverman of The Boston Globe, Brown was dropped by Nike, a company that he had a shoe deal with. A spokesperson confirmed this on Wednesday when they said, "Antonio Brown is not a Nike athlete."

Though the spokesperson declined to explain why the company had dropped Brown, it is likely related to the sexual assault and rape allegations that were brought against him a week and a half ago.

Nike is the second known partner to part ways with Brown in recent weeks. Helmet manufacturer Xenith parted with Brown just a couple of weeks after Brown had agreed to wear the Xenith Shadow to end his helmet controversy with the Oakland Raiders. Shortly after that happened, Brown was released and came to the New England Patriots.

Brown could see similar fallout from the other companies that sponsor him as the case against him continues to be in the public eye.

The Patriots are more worried about what Brown's status with the team will be moving forward. As of right now, there's "no way of knowing" what will happen with Brown, but he is reportedly expected to be eligible to play in Week 3 against the New York Jets. His week-to-week status will still be in question as he could be placed on the commissioner's exempt list at any time.

Aaron Rodgers' great response to critics of Tom Brady>>>

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Here's how Robert Griffin III imitated Tom Brady in practice before Ravens-Patriots

Here's how Robert Griffin III imitated Tom Brady in practice before Ravens-Patriots

Robert Griffin III has helped the Baltimore Ravens prepare for several different types of quarterbacks this season by imitating their style in practice.

It's not uncommon for a backup quarterback to serve in this role for the scout team, especially for a dual-threat QB like Griffin. But he had to change his own approach for the Ravens to best prepare to play against New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in Week 9.

NFL Media's Mike Garofolo revealed Thursday on NFL Network that Griffin had to run in "slow motion" at times to emulate Brady in practice for the Ravens defense. 

Garafolo's provides more background in the video below:

Brady obviously isn't the most athletic quarterback, but he does move around in the pocket very well. Whether it's stepping up to avoid the rush, or sliding to one side or the other to buy extra time, Brady is a master at creating space in the pocket to deliver a strong, accurate pass. 

We'll never know how much Griffin's imitation of Brady actually helped the Ravens defense, but they certainly did a good job defending against him. Brady was sacked twice, hit 10 times and threw only one touchdown pass with one interception in a 37-20 loss to Baltimore. The 42-year-old veteran's QB rating of 80.4 was his second-lowest for a single game this season.

Griffin might have to imitate Brady one more time if the Patriots and Ravens meet in the playoffs. Based on the current AFC playoff picture, it wouldn't be surprising if these teams played again in the AFC Championship Game in January.

Mohamed Sanu shares his advice for N'Keal Harry ahead of debut>>>

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Patriots' Mohamed Sanu has advice for 'special kid' N'Keal Harry: 'Don't think too much'

Patriots' Mohamed Sanu has advice for 'special kid' N'Keal Harry: 'Don't think too much'

FOXBORO — Mohamed Sanu sounded as though he was talking about someone who might take the field soon. But hard to be sure. He was talking about fellow Patriots receiver N'Keal Harry, who has yet to play in a regular-season game.

"He’s a special kid," Sanu said Thursday. "He (should) just go and be himself and let his abilities take over. Don’t think too much. Have fun. He’ll be good."

Is that "he'll be good" as in "he'll be good" on Sunday? Or "he'll be good" eventually? Or "he'll be good" as a practice player the rest of the way?

Harry was left off the game-day roster in Week 9 as the Patriots took on the Ravens — his first opportunity to play in a game since hitting injured reserve at the start of the season — and now the question is whether or not he'll be ready to make his debut against the Eagles on Sunday afternoon.

In his first meeting with reporters since hitting IR, he was asked how it feels to be ready to get back on the field. 

"It feels great getting out there with my team," Harry said. "Just getting better every day with them, just looking for my role and they way to help the team."

Harry was taken with the No. 32 overall selection in the spring out of Arizona State and looked like a fit as a contested-catch weapon — someone who could bail out Tom Brady in tight spots — for a Patriots offense that was going to be without one of the best contested-catch pass-catchers of the last decade in Rob Gronkowski.

And Harry's start with the team this summer was promising. He had one practice with several drops, but otherwise seemed to make an impressive reception just about every day. He was injured in a practice against the Lions and then played in the preseason opener later that week. He made two catches — both on the outside, both against physical coverage — before getting hurt on the second. 

He left the game and was not a participant in Patriots practices for the remainder of training camp. His next practice was after sitting out the required six-week period for players designated by their teams to return off of IR. 

"It's been great," Harry said, "just going out there with the mentality to get better every day. Just going out there, trying to do my best to get better and get better at something every day. It's been good."

Harry didn't dispute the fact that he might've tried to play through something in Detroit to get on the field for the first exhibition game of the season against the Lions. He said he had no regrets about how the early portion of his rookie season played out, though.

"No, I don’t have any regrets," Harry said. "I don’t need to show anything. Me going out there and playing hard, playing through stuff, that’s just the type of mentality I have and that’s the type of mindset I grew up having. It wasn’t me trying to show anything, show toughness, it was just me."

He's had an opportunity now to be him -- someone described by Tom Brady as "tenacious" and as having an "edge" -- at practice for about a month.

Whether or not the rest of the world should expect to see him be him during a game this weekend remains to be seen. 

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