Matthew Slater deferred to the fans when asked how Roger Goodell will be received at Gillette Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Matthew Slater deferred to the fans when asked how Roger Goodell will be received at Gillette Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Even though the Patriots will be raising their fifth Super Bowl banner at Gillette Stadium when the 2017 season opens in September, the bigger storyline may be Roger Goodell making his first trip to Foxboro since Deflategate began.

Speaking to reporters at Gillette Stadium Tuesday, Matthew Slater was asked how he expects Goodell to be received, but the special teams captain didn’t have an answer.

“You know, that’s not for me to say,” Slater told reporters. “That’s up to our fans, how they choose to receive him. I think us, as a team, we’ve moved on. We moved on a long time ago. We went out last year and took care of our business. Now it’s up for us to take care of our business this year. And we have a lot of important things to worry about, a lot of things we need to get ourselves ready.

“So, how should he be received? I haven’t given that a whole lot of thought. How will he be received? I’m not the one to ask that question. I think you should ask the good people of Foxboro how they’re going to receive him.”

Slater said he’s watched Super Bowl LI a few times since February and noted he views it like a fan.

“I get nervous every time I watch it, like I don’t know the outcome,” Slater said. “Pretty unbelievable what we were able to accomplish. Again, I’m just very proud to have been a part of such a special team in 2016.”

“I’m sitting almost as a fan, like, ‘What are they doing?’” he added. “I don’t know. It’s unbelievable. To think that we were down 25 points and … The one thing I won’t forget is the way we looked at one another. I’ve been on teams when we were down three points, 10 points and the confidence level wasn’t there on that day for whatever reason. But that Super Bowl Sunday, we had it. We maintained our belief. As I sit there and watch it as a fan I think about the looks I saw on guys’ faces over the course of [a] 60-minute ballgame, and it puts a smile on your face.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Tom Brady finally received his recovered Super Bowl jersey at the end of March.  (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady finally received his recovered Super Bowl jersey at the end of March. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

The man who stole Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jersey will likely never spend one day in jail. Meaning, he’s probably going to get away with the crime.

Journalists Robert Klemko and Jenny Vrentas published a long-form article on the MMQB Tuesday detailing the FBI investigation into Brady’s missing jersey. According to the piece, it took law-enforcement less than two weeks to identify the culprit, Mexican newspaper director Mauricio Ortega. Officials in Mexico City were surprised the NFL allowed Ortega to obtain a press credential, considering his paper, La Prensa, is a poorly respected tabloid.

As it turns out, recognizing Ortega was the easy part, thanks to extensive locker room videotape and a tip from a Patriots fan who bought an item from him on eBay. Ortega sent Dylan Wagner, the 19-year-old Boston-born informant, a photograph of his memorabilia collection in December. In it, Brady’s missing jersey from Super Bowl XLIX was prominently featured. In addition to Brady’s uniform tops from Super Bowls XLIX and LI, Ortega also acquired Von Miller’s helmet from Super Bowl 50.

Though U.S. authorities first flew to Mexico Feb. 21, officials didn’t seek to reclaim the jerseys until mid-March. An anonymous U.S. investigator told the MMQB it was challenging to navigate the increasingly divisive political climate between the two nations.

“We had [Ortega] identified –– that wasn’t the point,” the investigator said. “It was now the point of walking that political minefield as delicately as we could to appease everybody. We didn’t want to upset the Mexican authorities, we didn’t want to upset the Mexican people, we didn’t want to upset the U.S. embassy.”

Finally, on March 12, Mexican law-enforcement officials approached Ortega’s residence with a search warrant, which they didn’t execute. Instead, they asked him to hand over the stolen property. When he complied, they left.

In Mexico, the minimum penalty for theft of an item worth more than 35,000 pesos ($1,800 U.S.) is four years in prison. But even though Brady’s Super Bowl jersey is worth a lot of money in the U.S. –– the Houston Police Department says it’s valued at $500,000 –– that isn’t necessarily the case below the border. Samuel González, the former head of the organized crime unit in Mexico’s federal prosecutors office, says Ortega’s attorney should insist the value of the jersey in Mexico is merely $200 –– far below the threshold for mandated prison time. It would be difficult to prove otherwise.

Further complicating matters, only those charged with serious crimes, such as murder or drug dealing, are extradited from Mexico to the U.S. Jersey theft doesn’t appear to make the list.

Ortega will almost certainly never be allowed to enter an NFL locker room again. But barring unforeseen circumstances, he won’t pay a legal price for his Super Bowl heists.

 

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer

There have been rumors over the last several weeks of the Seahawks looking to move cornerback Richard Sherman, and the Patriots potentially being interested if they lose Malcolm Butler.

Don't expect Richard Sherman in New England. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Don’t expect Richard Sherman in New England. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

There have been rumors over the last several weeks of the Seahawks looking to move cornerback Richard Sherman, and the Patriots potentially being interested if they lose Malcolm Butler.

Well, based off Seattle’s reported asking price it seems highly unlikely Sherman will be coming to New England.

Appearing on Good Morning Football Tuesday morning, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo said it will take a first-round draft pick and another mid-round pick to get Sherman out of Seattle.

“We’re talking Darrelle Revis Jets-to-Buccaneers type of deal,” Garafolo said. “That’s what’s going to get this thing done.”

Prior to the 2013 NFL draft, the Jets traded Revis to Tampa Bay in exchange for the No. 13 overall selection and a conditional 2014 fourth-round pick. For the record, Garafolo added no team has come close to offering the right package for Sherman.

For what it’s worth, with the Patriots not having a pick until No. 72 overall, it seems highly unlikely New England has what it takes to land Sherman.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Matt Ryan thought the Falcons had the game won late in the fourth quarter. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Matt Ryan thought the Falcons had the game won late in the fourth quarter. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

After blowing a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl, some players might not want to watch the game ever again.

Not Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, as he wanted to take defeat head-on.

“No, I watched it,” Ryan told reporters Monday at his celebrity-amateur golf tournament at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth. “I watched it a day after. I watched it two days after and I watched it three days after. For me, it was one of those things where you kind of want to be able to deal with it appropriately. Maybe, that’s different for everybody.

“Some people bury it away. Some people [do] whatever. … For me it was ‘alright, let’s watch. Does it feel the same way it felt as we were going through it?’”

Ryan admitted when he connected with Julio Jones to get down to the 22-yard line late in the fourth quarter, he thought they had the game won.

“When I let it go, I was just trying to put it high in a safe spot for him to make a play,” Ryan said. “I did that. I was fired up at that point. I thought that was going to be a play that was going to change the outcome of that game. Obviously, the next couple of plays unfolded, and we didn’t end up converting [it into] points. At the time, I thought it was a huge play.”

Ultimately, Ryan believes he and the Falcons can use the loss to their benefit as they hope to reach the game again this coming season.

“I think everybody is going to be really hungry to get back there,” Ryan said. “Because, the one thing that I’m proud of, we have a young team, and we were ready to play. We played well. We were right in the mix.

“We fell a little bit short, but we should have every bit of confidence that we are going to be right back there next year getting a different outcome because we’re going to be more experienced.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
It appears LeGarrette Blount got word of Marshawn Lynch reportedly being interested in Patriots. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

It appears LeGarrette Blount got word of Marshawn Lynch reportedly being interested in Patriots. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

On Monday afternoon, it was reported Marshawn Lynch has privately expressed he would be interested in the Patriots if things fell through with the Raiders.

Well, word travels fast and apparently it got to free agent running back LeGarrette Blount.

Blount posted a picture to Instagram and Twitter of he and Malcolm Butler with the caption: We gon ball regardless. ya feel me.

It was quickly deleted, but given how quickly it came after the Lynch report, it’s likely what it was referring to.

Both players are no guarantee to return to the Patriots next season, as Blount remains unsigned (although there is reported interest on both sides) and Butler hasn’t signed his first-round tender yet, but once he does he could be traded. If he signs it and isn’t traded, he would play the season for $3.91 million.

According to multiple reports, Blount wants to return to New England it’s just a matter of making the money work.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Don't be surprised if Bill Belichick makes a deal or two before the draft. (Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports)The NFL draft is in 16 days and by some accounts it cannot get here fast enough.



On Monday, the NFL released the 2017 preseason schedule.

Although the dates and times will be released at a later date, we know who the Patriots will play and in which weeks.

The Patriots will host the Jaguars in the first preseason game. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

The Patriots will host the Jaguars in the first preseason game. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

On Monday, the NFL released the 2017 preseason schedule.

Although the dates and times will be released at a later date, we know who the Patriots will play and in which weeks.

Week 1: vs. Jacksonville (Aug. 10-14)
Week 2: at Houston (Aug. 17-21)
Week 3: at Detroit (Aug. 24-27)
Week 4: vs. NY Giants (Aug. 31-Sept. 1)

It is worth noting there seems to be the potential for joint practices with the Texans in Week 2 of the preseason. According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Bill Belichick and Bill O’Brien have been working on scheduling joint practices at Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given how much Belichick likes joint practices and the respect Belichick has for O’Brien and the Texans.

It is also worth noting none of the Patriots’ preseason games will be on national television.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable