Patriots

Stephon Gilmore on Antonio Brown: 'competitive, smart, can do it all'

Stephon Gilmore on Antonio Brown: 'competitive, smart, can do it all'

FOXBORO — Members of the media had an opportunity to see Antonio Brown catch a pass in a Patriots practice jersey for the first time on Thursday.

Immediately after the stretching-and-warmup period, Brown ran a fade to the back corner of the end zone. He faked an inward breaking route, moved to the outside, leaped and plucked a Tom Brady pass at the highest point he possibly could. Assistant Troy Brown shoved a pad up through Brown's hands as soon as the ball arrived, but Brown still appeared to come down with it.

That was about all members of the media had an opportunity to see. 

Teammates, meanwhile, have seen much more from the player who wore No. 17 at Thursday's workout. Brown has now had two full practices with the Patriots. 

"AB’s AB," Duron Harmon said. "We all know what he brings to the table. We’re excited to have him here."

"You see it," explained Stephon Gilmore. "He's a great player. Competitive. Smart. He can do it all. I'm happy to have him on our team."

It looks as though — barring any further information being released about Brown and the lawsuit he's facing in Florida — the Patriots will have their newest wideout available to them if they want when they take on the Dolphins on Sunday. The NFL could still place him on the commissioner's exempt list, but their investigation into the matter might not be comprehensive enough to take that step. (You can read about what being placed on the commissioner's exempt list entails here.)

If Brown is on the field, there are a variety of ways in which he'd be able to contribute Sunday even after just a few days in New England. It was less than a year ago that the team brought Josh Gordon aboard. He was held out of his first game as a member of the Patriots and then played in Week 4 against the Dolphins to catch two passes on two targets for 32 yards.

Harmon indicated that it's not all that unusual to see a new player come in and be inserted into the Patriots offense after having only known that player as an opponent for years. 

"But we did the same thing for Josh last year, and when Marty [Bennett] came," Harmon said. "There are new guys that come to our team each and every year. And a lot of great players. I mean, you see why they're great. You see how hard they work and you see why it carries over to why they've had success before."

Even if Brown doesn't play Sunday, it sounds as though he's provided the defense with a new challenge these last couple of days. There's typically a competitive atmosphere between the offense and defense during practice periods pitting the two sides against one another, and Harmon smiled when he was asked how the defense did against an offense that now was able to deploy someone of Brown's talent level.

"Eh, we did good," Harmon said. "We had some opportunities we got to go against the guys. We did good. But those guys are definitely making it hard on us and making sure that we come to work each and every day."

 

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Tom Brady laughs off Patriots injury report designation: 'I'm feeling really good'

Tom Brady laughs off Patriots injury report designation: 'I'm feeling really good'

The New England Patriots' Thursday injury report raised some eyebrows as Tom Brady was downgraded to limited in practice. But per usual, the injury designation doesn't seem to be a cause for concern.

In fact, Brady couldn't help but laugh when asked about being listed with elbow and toe ailments. During his Thursday night appearance on Westwood One with Jim Gray, Brady assured Patriots fans he'll be good to go vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.

“That might be the first time my toe’s been on the injury report,” Brady said. “So, you know us Patriots. We’re pretty diligent about listing everything. So, I guess you have to make mention of my toe now, as well.”

As for the elbow issue, Brady dealt with it during last week's game in Houston and is ready to do the same at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.

“Isn’t there some HIPAA violation or something like that when I start talking about all of my injuries?” Brady joked. “I’m doing pretty good. I’m doing pretty good. At this time of the year, I’ll take it. I’ll take anything if I’m still able to go out there and feel like I can play my best. I’m feeling really good, really positive about this weekend.”

Kickoff for the much-anticipated Patriots-Chiefs matchup is set for 4:25 p.m., and it sounds like Brady's more than ready for the AFC Championship Game rematch.

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Patriots Talk Podcast: A detailed look at why Tom Brady's time in NE is winding down

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Patriots Talk Podcast: A detailed look at why Tom Brady's time in NE is winding down

For 19 seasons, Tom Brady has been the unquestioned starter at quarterback for the New England Patriots. And for 19 years, he has started every game that he has been healthy for.

But ahead of the 2020 offseason, Brady's status with the organization remains as questionable as ever.

For the first time in his career, the 42-year-old Brady will be set to hit unrestricted free agency. He agreed to a restructured contract with the team this offseason, but it only gave him a pay raise this season and guaranteed that the team couldn't slap him with the franchise tag.

While Brady could return to the Patriots, it's possible that he could choose to go elsewhere if the team doesn't commit to him financially or surround him with better weaponry.

On the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discussed the possibility of Brady leaving. And as Curran pointed out, that topic hasn't been broached with much seriousness despite the fact that free agency is closer than some may realize.

We're talking about a seismic occurrence in the arc of the dynasty that is basically 90 days away. They could come to some kind of conclusion and rectify it and he might finish his career here, but it doesn't smell that way.

It's important to note that nothing is set in stone, and the Brady-Patriots relationship has endured for two decades for a reason. Despite some strain in the relationship at times, things have always been smoothed over. 

That said, there are some quarterback-needy teams that could attempt to lure Brady away from New England in an attempt to put their team over the top. Curran and Perry identified a few different options on the podcast, one of which was the Los Angeles Chargers.

Hear more from Curran and Perry on the latest episode of "The Patriots Talk Podcast," which drops every Tuesday and Thursday as a part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.

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