Malcolm Butler

Malcolm Butler

FOXBORO — Cornerback Malcolm Butler said Tuesday that he he missed workouts earlier this spring because of “family issues,” but offered a no comment when it came to his contract situation.

“There was a big misunderstanding. I had some off the field issues. That’s that,” Butler said when asked about his absences from OTAs earlier this spring. “Family issues. Something like that.”

There was some speculation that Butler was looking for a new deal.

“It is what it is,” he said when asked about his current contract situation. “I’m going to play hard, no matter what. It is what it is.

Asked if there was any conversation about a new deal, he deferred.

“I’m not sure about it. I can control only what i can control. I’m just out here playing football,” he said.

He was if he believed he was deserving of a new deal.

“I have no comment on that,” he said. “All I can do is just go out there and play football and make plays for the team. Whatever. To help the team win. That’s what I’m all about.”

Butler expressed excitement about the opportunity to get back on the field with the rest of his teammates.

“It feels great. Just trying to get out here and get better. Do anything to help the team win,” he said. “It feels good. We have a good group of cornerbacks. Everybody out there competing.

“We’re just out here competing, doing whatever we can to help make the team better.”

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Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick is doing his best not to feed into the mystery surrounding Rob Gronkowski.

Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick is doing his best not to feed into the mystery surrounding Rob Gronkowski.

The Patriots superstar tight end missed the first day of mandatory mini-camp Tuesday at Gillette Stadium. When asked, the Patriots coach hinted that Gronkowski was actually in the building but just not practicing on the field.

“There are a lot of players that were not on the field,” Belichick told reporters in the heat of the sun. “They were doing other things.”

Was Gronkowski expected to be there?

“All of our players are. They’re doing other things,” Belichick said.

What wasn’t clear from the answer was whether Belichick was indicating that all players are expected to be at camp or whether, indeed, they “are” in the building.

Gronkowski has been spotted often recently around Boston, including at the Myra Kraft MVP Community awards last week, where he took a break from working out to make an appearance with Tom Brady at Gillette’s Putnam Club.

Gronkowski was one of several players not spotted Tuesday. Also not on hand were Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, LeGarrette Blount, Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer.

Belichick was also asked if all players reported to mini-camp.

“I don’t know. Whoever is here is here,” the coach said.

There were special guests on hand Tuesday for the start of mini-camp as members of the Navy football coaching staff stood on the side and observed.

“They’re just up here to watch what we’re doing. We have a great relationship with Ken [Niumatalolo],” Belichick said of the head coach of the Midshipmen. “He’s been a good friend and everything I’ve asked, he’s always been there for me.”

Joe Cardona, a graduate of the Naval Academy in 2015, reported to mini-camp on Tuesday. He is beginning his second year with the Patriots.

Belichick said he didn’t know the status of his long-snapper and his availability going forward this summer or whether Naval commitments might take precedence.

“Just keep making progress,” Belichick said. “Each day, just try to build on the day before. A lot of new faces, a lot of new installation, so just grind through it day by day.

“We’re all starting all over. We’re all starting all over, coaches, players, everybody. It’s a new year, we’re all starting over.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — The Patriots just wrapped up the first of three practices this week on the fields behind Gillette Stadium, a session that lasted almost two full hours with players were in shorts, shells and helmets. (With numbered jerseys.) It was slightly overcast and occasionally cool, perfect weather for summer work.

FOXBORO — The Patriots just wrapped up the first of three practices this week on the fields behind Gillette Stadium, a session that lasted almost two full hours with players were in shorts, shells and helmets. (With numbered jerseys.) It was slightly overcast and occasionally cool, perfect weather for summer work.

In terms of attendance, cornerback Malcolm Butler was here, but wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola and tight end Rob Gronkowski were not on the field. Here’s who wasn’t here: cornerback Logan Ryan, running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive back Duron Harmon, running back Dion Lewis, defensive back Nate Ebner, offensive lineman Tre’ Jackson, offensive lineman Josh Kline, offensive lineman Shaq Mason, offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer and offensive lineman Nate Solder.

In terms of how the quarterback snaps were divided, it’s tough to figure out an exact breakdown, but from this viewpoint, Tom Brady got the bulk of the reps, followed by Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett. However, it was Garoppolo and Brissett who got most of the action in uptempo 7-on-7s near the end of practice. Brady then jumped in on 11-on-11s.

Clay Harbor showed up positively on a number of situations, making some nice grabs via Brady and Garoppolo. Running back Donald Brown hauled in a nice catch from Brady down the near sideline in one drill in the early going. Later in the same drill, Brady hooked up with tight end Martellus Bennett on a couple of really nice connections. It might only be June, but there’s reason to be really optimistic about the possibilities of Bennett in this offense. Garoppolo and Aaron Dobson connected for the nicest offensive play of the day, a pass that traveled roughly 50 yards and ended with a nice grab from the receiver in the end zone. Dobson then followed that up with an excellent catch from Brady in 11-on-11 drills. (Chris Harper also had a nice leaping catch.)

Cyrus Jones was part of a group of punt returners that included V’Angelo Bentley, Keshawn Martin and Chris Harper. (Bentley dropped a punt.) During the special teams session, Brady split off from the rest of the group with Bennett — like he did in the workouts earlier this spring — and appeared to be working on goal-line situations. At the other end of the second practice field, Brissett was throwing to a group that included Dobson and Nate Washington.

Just prior to 7-on-7 work — roughly midway through practices — Brady was picked off by Ninkovich.

Several of the cornerbacks had their hands wrapped midway through practice, a process we’ve heard other teams utilizing on a regular basis. (Butler was spotted doing this last year.) It’s a way to prevent defensive holding. Jones and Justin Coleman were among those having their hands wrapped.

Linebacker/safety Kamu Grugier-Hill was part of a special teams grouping that included Brandon King — a good sign for the youngster, who will likely have to make his bones as a special teamer if he wants to find a spot on the roster.

Geneo Grissom had to run a lap for an unspecified penalty.

Several members of the Navy football staff were in attendance for the workout. And owner Robert Kraft was on the field at the end of the practice.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Twitter accounts are getting hacked left and right these days, and Tuesday was no different.

Days after a number of musicians saw their accounts taken over, the NFL’s Twitter account was overrun. The hackers took the opportunity to break some major (and fake) news, then followed it up with a couple more after the original tweet was deleted.


Minutes after the tweet was sent, word emerged that the news was indeed fake.

Blog Author: 


This showed up on my Facebook page. I can’t identify this anonymous hero by name because I don’t know him personally. Instead, I’ll just call him New England’s Everyman. Because when he greeted Roger Goodell with the State Bird of Massachusetts, he spoke for us all.

Dont'a Hightower is the most important player for the Patriots to lock up long term. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)Malcolm Butler, Jamie Collins, Dont'a Hightower. 

Jimmy Garoppolo could get the call if Tom Brady is sidelined because of Deflategate.</p>
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If any Patriots player, or any NFL player in general, skips minicamp it will be rather expensive.