Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins meets the media Tuesday. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins meets the media Tuesday. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — It was like seeing a unicorn tap-dancing with Bigfoot next to the Loch Ness Monster.

On a morning where a guy dressed up like a superhero was seen roaming the arena floor next to a Mexican TV reporter carrying a puppet, and questions like, “Who has your favorite booty: J-Lo, Iggy Azalea or Kim Kardashian?” were asked of Rob Gronkowski and “What kind of oil do you use on your beard?” for Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, the oddest sight of all was Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins answering questions from the media.

The second-year linebacker, who almost never speaks with reporters, offered a simple explanation as to why he’s been so quiet over the last year-plus.

“Yeah, man,” he said with a small smile. “You know, I’m a busy guy.”

It was hard not to notice the contrast between Collins — who clearly would have rather been anywhere else in the world than speaking with us Tuesday morning — enduring the session with reporters in relative good humor, and Seattle’s media-phobic running back Marshawn Lynch, who answered every question during his four-plus minute session with reporters Tuesday, “I’m just here so I won’t get fined” before strolling out after roughly five minutes.

“It’s not something I look forward to,” Collins confessed while looking out at reporters from his podium. “I can tell you like that. It’s just not something that I get excited about. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t do it. I don’t really need all the publicity.

“I’m just trying to get this right here over with. I’m just trying to get this Super Bowl over with, so I can go back home.”

To be fair, Collins has been a busy guy. The hyper-athletic 6-foot-4, 250-pounder led the Patriots with 109 tackles this season, but even more important, he emerged as a breakout playmaker for the Patriots. He’s only one of three guys in the NFL this year with at least four sacks and two interceptions (a group that includes Green Bay‘s Julius Peppers and Seattle’s Bruce Irvin). Collins also has seven quarterback hits and three passes defensed.

When you toss in his special teams value as well (he blocked a field goal against Miami), he’s become one of the most important pieces of the defensive puzzle for the Patriots.

“That dude is an awesome football player,” cornerback Brandon Browner of Collins.

Over the course of his career with the Patriots, the 25-year-old has been used as a defensive chess piece by Bill Belichick. He’s lined up opposing wide receivers and tight ends in the passing game, and has used his strength and speed to get physical with some of the better pass catchers in the game. He and fellow linebacker Dont’€™a Hightower have also managed to become impressive pass rushers, mainly working A-gap blitzes to perfection.

When it comes to his responsibilities, does he have a preference?

“I do, but I tend not to settle, you know?” he said. “I like to experience a lot of stuff. I like to do a lot of things on the field, especially if I can help my teammates. If they want to put me at safety, I’ll play safety. Put me at quarterback, I’ll play quarterback. I just do what’s best for the team.”

With the season-ending knee injury to veteran Jerod Mayo in October, Collins and Hightower have emerged as twin pillars of a New England defense that has offered a lot of 4-2-5 looks over the course of the season. On Tuesday, Collins spoke of the “brotherhood” that bonds the linebacking corps, one that has lasted even after Mayo went down with his injury.

“It’s been fun,” Collins said. “It’s been a success as you can see, so you know, we just need to keep that brotherhood going. I learned a lot from Hightower and Jerod Mayo. I try to use everything to my advantage.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

ESPN Senior NFL reporter Chris Mortensen joined Middays with MFB Tuesday to discuss the NFL’s investigation into the Patriots’ potential deflating of footballs in the AFC Championship against the Colts.

Chris Mortensen

Chris Mortensen

ESPN Senior NFL reporter Christ Mortensen joined Middays with MFB Tuesday to discuss the NFL’s investigation into the Patriots’ potential deflating of footballs in the AFC Championship against the Colts.

To listen to the interview on the Middays with MFB Audio on Demand page, click here.

While many came away impressed with Bill Belichick‘s animated press conference Saturday, Mortensen was skeptical of the information shared by the New England coach, saying that Belichick’€™s press conference “doesn’€™t explain how the Colts’€™ balls remained within regulation.”

“One team’€™s footballs, basically all of them were under-inflated. The other team’€™s footballs, when re-tested — and they like them on the lower end too, by the way, the Colts, were all within regulation,” Mortensen said. ‘€œAll the scientific minutiae that’€™s been thrown at us, be careful about buying into it.”

Added Mortensen: “I found it to be fascinating TV, but it didn’€™t persuade me.”

Mortensen also noted that he was surprised to see Patriots owner Robert Kraft handle Monday’€™s press conference the way he did. In addition to maintaining the Patriots’€™ innocence, Kraft said the league should apologize to his coach and quarterback if they find the Patriots committed no infractions.

“Either way, Bob Kraft, what he did [Monday], as I’€™ve been told by other people in the league, was astounding, because we all know that he’€™s now throne down the gauntlet to commissioner Goodell, who obviously Bob Kraft’€™s been his biggest ally,” Mortensen said.

Mortensen said that the comments from the Patriots shows that despite the ongoing investigation, the Pats “truly believe this is baloney.”

Despite the distraction of Deflategate, Mortensen said he believes the Pats will defeat the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday.

“I think they’€™re going to win the Super Bowl,” Mortensen said. “I think they’€™re going to win it because they’€™re the better team.”

For complete Super Bowl XLIX coverage, visit

Blog Author: 

PHOENIX — The last time the Patriots were in the Super Bowl was 2012 and Rob Gronkowski was not healthy.

The star tight end had injured his ankle in the second half of the AFC championship game against the Ravens, and clearly wasn’t 100 percent for the game. Gronkowski finished the game with just three catches for 26 yards and the Patriots fell to the Giants, 21-17.

This year is a different story as Gronkowski is 100 percent healthy, and should be one of the biggest parts of the Patriots offense Sunday night against the Seahawks.

“We’€™re just looking at this Super Bowl,” said Gronkowski. “I’€™m just worried about this one right now. Preparing all week, feeling good, feeling great, feeling healthy. That’€™s key. Just working hard in the week and we start practice back up tomorrow down here. I’€™m super excited about that. Can’€™t tell you how excited I am for the game.”

For the first time since 2011, Gronkowski played in 15 or more games. He hasn’t played a full season since that year, and although he didn’t this year, he could very well have as he was a healthy scratch for Week 17’s game against the Bills, as the game meant nothing for the playoffs.

“It’€™s definitely a tough experience, man,” Gronkowski said of being injured and missing games. “Definitely don’€™t take the game for granted anymore. It’€™s an honor to be out there on the field with my teammates and all. Throughout the whole year, especially this time of the year, going to the Super Bowl, being out on the practice field, helping my team do its job and just going out and practicing hard. I’€™m super excited for this game Sunday.”

As expected, the very outgoing tight end with a bubbly personality was asked a number of off beat questions, including singing a Katy Perry song. He also said he is the best dancer on the team and Julian Edelman is the worst.

He also did say the now famous Gronkowski party bus will be in Arizona come the weekend.

“It’€™s on its way down right now,” he said. “Body Armor wrapped it up in this thing. It can’€™t get into the parking lot in Gillette because of the Body Armor sponsor, but it’€™s all good. It’€™s on it’€™s way down here. I’€™m sure there will be some pictures with it and all that good stuff.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

PHOENIX — This is a tough time to be a Jets fan.

The team’s quarterback situation is a mess. They have a new coach. And they’re about to watch arguably the best defensive player in their history playing for the hated Patriots in the Super Bowl.

On Tuesday, at media day at US Airways Center, Darrelle Revis was asked it must be like for a Jets fan to watch him play on game’s biggest stage after making a name for himself for his first six seasons in New York.

“€œIt’€™s not really my fault,” Revis said. “I didn’€™t make the call. Management made the call at that time and they felt it was best to get rid of me. So that’€™s the situation. That’€™s how I look at it.”

Ironically, Revis is in the Super Bowl with a New York-type controversy swirling in Deflategate. That gave Revis another reason to recall what he went through in the Big Apple, and to a lesser degree in Tampa Bay, with the reported mutiny against Bucs head coach Greg Schiano.

“Things come up and I’€™ve been around a little bit,” said the Jets’ 2007 first-round pick. “I’€™ve been on teams where situations come up and you have to deal with them accordingly. Whatever the situation is, the league office is dealing with it too and you just have to really see what they do about it. Let them handle it.”

After tearing his ACL against the Dolphins in Sept. 2012, Revis went through an extensive rehab program that was documented in “Hard Knocks” on HBO. The following April, the Jets traded to Tampa Bay and signed one of the biggest contracts in the NFL. Revis’ 6-year deal was worth $96 million, made him the highest paid defensive back in NFL history.

He played his seventh and only season in Tampa in 2013 before joining the Patriots in March 2014, signing a two-year deal. After eight seasons, Revis is finally soaking up the Super Bowl vibe. And he has the Jets to thank.

“It’€™s pretty awesome. I mean, this is what you play for every year,” Revis said. “In the offseason you work hard to get to this point and when you get there, like right now, it’€™s so surreal to me. It’€™s awesome, but it’€™s also crazy. But at the same time, it shows that hard work pays off, and there’€™s still work to be done. We have one more game left as a team to accomplish our ultimate goal, which is holding the Lombardi Trophy up.”

Many would argue that while he is eight years older than when he broke into the league, Revis is playing the best ball of his career.

“€œThat was the No. 1 goal for me, just winning a Super Bowl. Every year, that’€™s what we play for. You know I had a bump in the road, having an ACL injury. That kind of twisted my mind up a little bit because it was more so me focusing on my health. Once I focused on my health to make sure I could get back where I need to be and playing at a high level, I was confident and determined. Just focus and get with the right team and that’€™s what I did.”

Great players want to play on the greatest stage. Revis finally has that chance. Did he ever doubt this day in the super spotlight would ever come?

“€œYou know, there’€™s always doubt,” Revis said. “Especially going through eight years of not really accomplishing what you really want to accomplish as an individual player and also as a team goal. That’€™s basically getting to the Super Bowl and actually winning it. I can speak for myself personally and I’€™m sure I can speak for a lot of guys in the NFL who don’€™t make it to the playoffs. There’€™s some guys that play 13 or 14 years and never make the playoffs. It’€™s humbling, but at the same time, it’€™s a great experience. It just shows that we worked so hard to get to this place that we are at now.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk and Peter King of join the show to talk about the latest news surrounding deflate gate.

[0:01:34] ... you guys that. Oh with with Robert Kraft forceful press conference yesterday Bill Belichick and that's got to start this Saturday. Our guys that that's at the patriots. Have nothing to do with it in the mountains. I'm not convinced about it but clearly they put up a very stout. And very vehement defense what impressed me is usually. When they're some sort of complicated topic. Or some sort of controversial topic Bill Belichick responds by saying L that's in the hands of the league we're gonna let them handle it. The next question basically. And ...
[0:04:24] ... what happened is they took all the balls that they from the Baltimore Ravens all the balls from the Chicago Bears in separate bags. And they put the gauge from the pumped in to every one ...
[0:13:50] ... league believe something. I am absolutely totally. Confused. Because. Especially after watching Bill Belichick on Saturday. I you know and I think if you talk I talk to one coach on Monday who said I can tell you categorically Bill Belichick did now. He never ever would be strike me as he is knowing that there's eight. Twenty or 30% chance that he's ...
[0:19:06] ... you what do you think what do you think like at a Sean Payton thinks right now who still thinks that he was wrong. You know in the bounty gate thing. Sean Payton is saying to himself hey listen. I want. I want justice done because we got jobs so let's see the patriots did ...

Mike Westhoff joins the show to talk about deflate gate and the Pats innocence. Also what would have happened if he worked with Bill Belichick.

[0:00:32] ... the air comes out of the balloon I tell you. You would Antonio Cromartie but his was more of a cameo which pretty good name as kids you are you had a great run by his ...
[0:09:28] ... a thousand miles an hour. But gosh it was a picture of Bill Belichick I don't know I don't I don't honestly don't know culpability. Well then whatever it. But I know this with a loss ...
[0:14:09] ... have they changed the rule because of us when I was in Miami Dolphins weeks to get a guy you were allowed to carry him out. We would carry out from over to bench. With him over the bench I have a clip we played Indianapolis Colts I had two guys in a vice one publisher of the that Sam Madison I was talking to. We caught it got a twenty yard line random back out at the end zone in thrown into ...
[0:15:51] ... stupid. Final question before we let you go which who worked for Bill Belichick. You know. No I wouldn't it is true that would watch out there's too many quirks that there's just things that he ...

PHOENIX — The Seattle defense was the best in the NFL in the regular-season, allowing a league-low 267.1 yards per game, and just 15.9 points, also a league-low.

Don’t tell that to Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount.

LeGarrette Blount doesn't seem too concerned with the Seahawks defense come Sunday. (Getty Images)

LeGarrette Blount doesn’t seem too concerned with the Seahawks defense come Sunday. (Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Seattle defense was the best in the NFL in the regular-season, allowing a league-low 267.1 yards per game, and just 15.9 points, also a league-low.

Don’t tell that to Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount.

“I don’€™t care about them being the top defense, that doesn’€™t bother me,” Blount said Tuesday. “They were good enough to get here, just like we were good enough to get here.  They’€™re not immortal. They can be beaten.”

Blount wasn’t with the Patriots to start the season as the running back wasn’t re-signed following last season, and the big running back was picked up by the Steelers. Things did not go well in Pittsburgh, as following the Week 12 game on Monday Night Football he was released the next day, as he walked off the sideline and into the locker room in the middle of the game.

After clearing waivers he signed with the Patriots Nov. 20.

“They knew that I could run the football,” said Blount. “They know that I can effective with it. They know that I have big play potential. They like my style of running and I fit in perfectly with this offense. It was a perfect match.”

In five regular season games with the Patriots he finished with 60 carries for 281 yards and three touchdowns. In the two postseason games he has 33 carries for 149 yards and three touchdowns. Between last postseason and this postseason with New England, Blount has seven touchdown runs — a playoff franchise record.

“I feel like they gave me a chance to come out here and show that I can do what I’€™ve been doing in this league for a couple of years,” said Blount. “I can run the football and I can do it effectively. I was excited to become another asset to the team, another part of the team and another weapon that they have. I was excited that they gave me another chance to come back and be a part of what’€™s going on today. I don’€™t feel like I had anything to prove but I just wanted to show people that I could still run the football.”

The Oregon product acknowledged it was an up-and-down year, but in the end it will be all worth it by playing in his first Super Bowl on Sunday.

“Don’€™t ever give up,” he said. “Be persistent and continue to push forward for your dreams.  Obviously I’€™m going to be living one of my dreams in a few days.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

PHOENIX — This is a great time to be in Phoenix for the Super Bowl, and no one knows that more than Tom Brady.

In the midst of the media storm on the floor of US Airways Center during media day, the Patriots quarterback gave a tip of the cap to his supermodel wife Gisele, who is weathering the blizzard in Boston and taking care of their kids.

“Yeah, she’s at home taking care of everybody and all the kids,” Brady said. “She’s going to come out this weekend. There’s obviously a lot going on with media day and our preparations. She’s taking care of the home front.”

Brady, like others here at the Super Bowl with family back in Boston, has been in contact with his family to make sure they’re doing OK.

“Everyone’€™s pretty hunkered down,” Brady added. “There’€™s a lot of snow, causing a lot of problems in a lot of cities. So hopefully everyone is OK.”

Brady was asked how his family support system helps him deal with the ongoing controversies of Deflategate and the pressure of playing in his sixth Super Bowl.

“They mean a lot. My parents and my wife, certainly,” Brady said. “I’€™ve got a great support system.”

Gisele posted a picture of the snowbound Brady house on Instagram on Tuesday morning.

Sending love! #blizzard’„️’›„️ ‘¤ï¸ Mandando amor! #nevasca

Una foto publicada por Gisele Bündchen (@giseleofficial) el

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia