Patriots

Shelton runs toward his target weight in Pats offseason program

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Phil Perry

Shelton runs toward his target weight in Pats offseason program

FOXBORO -- When Patriots center David Andrews was asked about his first impressions of new teammate Danny Shelton, acquired from the Browns this offseason via trade, Andrews answered quickly. 

"Big guy," he said. "He's a very big guy."

Shelton's working on that. The defensive tackle said he's shrinking a bit as he goes through the Patriots offseason workout program - and that's the goal. 

Shelton plans to play at 335 pounds, a number he still has yet to reach after gaining some weight starting at the end of last season. He explained that the fluctuations in his weight have become sort of his annual routine: Add some in the winter; shed it in the spring when workouts are underway. 

Since arriving in Foxboro, he said the changes to his body have been noticeable as he's embarked on an intensive conditioning plan unlike any he experienced in Cleveland. 

"My body's adjusting to all the running, man," he said. "It's pretty crazy. But I like it."

What the Patriots have Shelton doing is a radical departure from what he experienced in the first three years of his pro career. 

"Oh yeah. Definitely," he said. "I think any other team would say the same thing. Then again, I've only been on one team and I've only done one offseason program. Now that I'm here, it's pretty cool to change it up a bit and just watch my body change."

Shelton called the early portion of the Patriots program "a struggle," but he knows it has the potential to get even tougher since has yet to be introduced to the hill that rolls off the back of the team's practice fields.

"Not yet. I wave by it," he said. "Just getting my mind ready for it. We haven't gotten to that part. It is deceiving. It doesn't look too tough. But just hearing from some of the guys, it's not something you want to mess with."

Shelton figures to play a significant role in the middle of the Patriots defensive line in 2018. He has the ability to play as a true nose tackle and is expected to be a run-stuffing force on early downs. He was the No. 12 overall pick in the 2015 draft and considered a true blue-chip tackle in that year's class. 

His fifth-year option for 2019 was not picked up earlier this offseason - neither was the option for teammate Malcom Brown - which Shelton said, "sucked at first." But he's trying to think of it as an opportunity to show what he can do this year and put himself in a good position moving forward. 

Shelton knows that part of putting himself in a good position will be to be in good condition so that he can make plays in critical moments for his new team. 

"That's what I'm more focusing on," he said, "and that's what I like about the change is that my body will be more trained for the endurance and trained for fourth quarter, overtime."

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Patriots list no players on injury report for Sunday's game against Steelers

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File photo

Patriots list no players on injury report for Sunday's game against Steelers

An injury report with no Patriots on it?

Never thought you'd see the day, did you? After all, this is the team that listed Tom Brady on the injury report every week for three consecutive seasons -- 2005-07 -- with an unspecified right shoulder injury, even though Brady played each game during that stretch. But, after removing tight end Dwayne Allen and cornerback Stephon Gilmore from the list today, the Pats declared themselves to be completely healthy for Sunday's crucial AFC matchup with the Steelers in Pittsburgh. 

If you're looking for bad karma, here it is: The Pats removed Brady from the injury for the 2008 season opener . . . and that was the game he suffered the knee injury that knocked him out for the rest of the year.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

REMOVED FROM LIST
TE Dwayne Allen (knee)
CB Stephon Gilmore (ankle)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

OUT
T Marcus Gilbert (knee)

QUESTIONABLE
RB Travis Swanson (ankle)
WR Ryan Switzer (ankle)

REMOVED FROM LIST
S Sean Davis (knee)
C Maurkice Pouncey (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (ribs)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)

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Patriots get totally shut out in fan voting for Pro Bowl

Patriots get totally shut out in fan voting for Pro Bowl

Fan voting for the 2019 Pro Bowl ended Thursday, and players from six different teams finished in the Top 10 at the ballot box. None of those players are Patriots. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

Seventeen (17!!) different teams had a player finish as the leading vote-getter for his position. The Patriots were not one of those teams. 

So while also-rans like the Bengals (5-8), Giants (5-8), Browns (5-7-1), Jets (4-9) and 49ers (3-10) saw at least one of their players lead the fan balloting at a particular position, the 9-4 Patriots couldn't get any love. 

Not Tom Brady, who has been a Pro Bowler in nine straight years. Not Rob Gronkowski, a Pro Bowler in five of the last seven seasons. Not even Matthew Slater, a veteran of seven straight Pro Bowls.

Does it matter? Absolutely not, especially considering the Patriots would much rather head to a championship game in Atlanta in February than an exhibition contest in Orlando in January.

But it's still interesting that the dominant franchise for the better part of two decades couldn't get any love from the fans.

The official rosters will be announced Tuesday, with votes from the fans, players, and coaches each accounting for one-third of the final vote tally.

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