FOXBORO — If the NFL thinks it can ruin the Super Bowl experience for the Patriots and their players over Deflategate, Vince Wilfork has a message for them.

“We can’€™t let anything take our excitement away,” the Patriots captain and 11-year veteran said Friday. “We worked hard to get here and everybody in that locker room is excited to play this game, and we need to be, we should be. You’€™re not going to take that away from us. You can’€™t take our joy away from us.”

Wilfork, with his trademark smile, answered reporters Friday wondering if the ongoing controversy might take away from the anticipation for the Super Bowl. Is Wilfork still excited for football’s most important game?

“Very excited,” said Wilfork, who is about to take the field for his fourth Super Bowl. “This is ‘€“ besides coming to training camp when you’€™re away from football the whole offseason ‘€“ I think this is one of the most exciting times of the year, especially if you have a team that’€™s in it. Our job is to be able to prepare well, and hopefully that’€™s good enough to win this ballgame. Everything we put into it to this point, everything we have, we’€™re going to have to leave on the field, and everything energy-wise we have has got to be geared towards getting that accomplished. That’€™s where I’€™m at right now. Hopefully the team feels the same way. You have a locker room full of guys that are happy and excited, and we should be.”

As for the deflated football controversy, Wilfork insists he’s not giving much time to it, while admitting he is preparing himself for more questions and distractions on the subject in the days leading up to the game.

“Here we are with the biggest game of our career, and that’€™s what it’€™s about,” Wilfork said. “It’€™s about going out and being able to play a game you work so hard for and be in the Super Bowl. That’€™s what it’€™s about. [We’€™ve] got to be able to eliminate all distractions right now, and I’€™m pretty sure we’€™ll have more distractions, but at the same time, I think we’€™ve done a great job around here all year of just being so focused on our opponents and what we have to do to win a ballgame. That’€™s where I’€™m at right now, so nothing different for me. [We’€™re] facing a good football team so we have to do everything we can to be able to play well against them this game.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
We get the national perspective on Deflategate and the Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl with the playmaker, Hall of Famer Michael Irvin.

[0:15:10] ... As we prepare. For the Seattle field. Okay did this just into Mark Brunell has said that he feels that mr. Kraft is lying and that's Andyaat. And Troy Aikman is called from. To relinquish the ...
[0:19:29] ... quarterback in the NFL and we used to talk about you know Steve McNair had small hands so he would have trouble playing in. Wet ball games or snow right games there's a competitive advantage if your economic growth well yeah pressure effect that network Hasselbeck today on the station said. It never met it has no bearing I know I don't know I think. Matt Hasselbeck said no and they tend to its. Was on the line we've got the sound from it and now we're up against it will will play that sound for you coming up what Tim Hasselbeck he was getting into with the morning guys. I just think. This is you can't allow the leap to go to this ...




Vince Wilfork was given a 15-yard penalty for a late hit on Andrew Luck in the second quarter of Sunday’ AFC championship game, but that wasn’t the only slap on the wrist.

According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the defensive tackle was fined $8,268 for the play. It was on a drive that led to the only touchdown of the game.

Fine aside, Wilfork is looking forward to next weekend’s Super Bowl — his fourth as a member of the Patriots.

“Everything you dreamed, it’€™s about to come true,” Wilfork said Friday. “Enjoy this feeling, enjoy this time, [and] feel proud of yourself because we’€™ve battled a lot, we’€™ve played a lot of football, we’€™ve been grinding for a long, long time, and for it to be here is a special moment for us, so we should all cherish that.”

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Dan Klecko. (Getty Images)

Dan Klecko. (Getty Images)

Dan Klecko was a member of the Patriots from 2003-05 before playing for the Colts, Eagles and Falcons the rest of his career. Being around Bill Belichick and Tom Brady for three seasons and winning back-to-back Super Bowls with the team, he can offer a sense of what is going on behind closed doors leading up to the Super Bowl.

Klecko feels the team and Belichick will use this as an “us against the world” motivation mentality.

“[This is] going to make them hyper focused for the game,” Klecko said via phone on Friday. “It’s really going to lock them in on the us against the world mentality, and we all know what happened the last time something like this — got accused, or found — that was Spygate and they almost went undefeated and being the greatest team of all-time. It’s fun to watch on the outside because I know what is going on in that room.”

“You’ve seen it — ‘We’re onto Cincinnati.’ That’s the joke, but that is the truth,” he added. “This is Tom’s whatever year in the league, he can put this stuff out of his mind. I am sure they are thinking right now, the way we rectify this is — first of all we make the balls are what they want and we go out and smoke Seattle and then hand the balls to everyone and go, ‘There’s your answer.’ I think that’s how they rectify this.”

Klecko said he’s upset at all the criticism directed at Brady because a couple PSI really is not a huge advantage in the grand scheme of things, especially with other players in the league such as Aaron Rodgers saying he likes his balls on the heavier side.

“The biggest thing I keep coming back to that I am most pissed about is Tom. This is ridiculous,” said Klecko. “People really aren’t taking a step back and looking at this situation like it’s some big advantage in the game. The guys from ESPN are bashing Tom. The guys that lost to him. The guys that have agendas on TV. Every other quarterback you’re hearing, even active ones playing in the league, why is there no out cry? They know it’s not a big deal. [Colts tight end] Dwayne Allen came out and said they could have came out with soap bars and beat us. What’s the big deal here? I don’t think people are really taking a step back and looking.”

Playing in the league for nine seasons, Klecko knows how many different quarterbacks like their balls and what the guys do to get them ready for play. At the end of the day he doesn’t fully understand why this whole situation has come about because of PSI.

“I think it’s very important,” Klecko said of quarterbacks and the condition of the footballs. “They like it their own way. ‘€¦ Let them play with it, who cares. What these guys to the game balls, the scuff them up, they put them in the sauna, the scuff them down with steel wool. They beat the hell out of these things. Then all of a sudden this one has a little less pressure it it, now all of a sudden, ‘Oh my god, can you believe this?’

“If Aaron Rodgers does like more air in his — a rule is a rule, that’s what everybody’s line this week is — why isn’t every body on him? I don’t really care. I don’t think anybody should be going after him. The fact that it’s the Patriots it sure feels like a witch hunt right now.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — There were no changes to the injury report Friday in the second of four Foxboro practices before the team leaves for Glendale on Monday.

The second practice of the week Friday was only a walkthrough inside Dana-Farber Fieldhouse, with the team reporting perfect attendance.

Brandon Browner

Brandon Browner

FOXBORO — There were no changes to the injury report Friday in the second of four Foxboro practices before the team leaves for Glendale on Monday.

The second practice of the week Friday was only a walkthrough inside Dana-Farber Fieldhouse, with the team reporting perfect attendance.

Rookie center Bryan Stork (knee) practiced for the second time since suffering the injury in the divisional round against the Ravens. He didn’t practice all last week prior to the AFC championship.

Other than Stork practicing, the report was the same as it was on Wednesday’s projection, as they had five other players limited and Tom Brady (ankle) a full participant. As required by the NFL, the Patriots projected the game status of everyone on their injury list. All six players who were limited were listed as “questionable” while Tom Brady was listed as “probable.”

For the Seahawks, Marshawn Lynch (not injury related) returned to practice after missing Wednesday and Thursday.

Earl Thomas (shoulder), who also missed Wednesday and Thursday, returned to practice Friday on a limited basis.

Here is Friday’s complete Patriots practice report, along with the projection of their possible availability for Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1:

Limited participation

CB Brandon Browner (knee) QUESTIONABLE
LB Dont’€™a Hightower (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE
DT Chris Jones (elbow) QUESTIONABLE
WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder/toe) QUESTIONABLE
DT Sealver Siliga (foot) QUESTIONABLE
C Bryan Stork (knee) QUESTIONABLE

Full participation

QB Tom Brady (ankle) PROBABLE

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Marshawn Lynch dives into the end zone after a 79-yard TD run against the Cardinals (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Marshawn Lynch dives into the end zone after a 79-yard TD run against the Cardinals (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — As some of the questions finally turned back to football strategy Friday, one of the first subjects addressed to Vince Wilfork is what the Patriots plan to do with Marshawn Lynch.

Wilfork made it perfectly clear that he thinks Lynch is the best running back in the game and the toughest ground game challenge the Patriots defense will face this season.

What comes to mind when Wilfork thinks of Lynch?

“Beast,” Wilfork said in a one-word answer that doubles as the first half of the running back’s “Beastmode” nickname. “I mean, he is an old-school running back that can do everything. There’€™s not one thing he cannot do. He is very, very, very tough. I remember playing him when he was in Buffalo as a rookie, and I went up to him at the end of the game and I said, ‘€˜You have something special. You’€™re a hell of a ball player.’€™ I said, ‘€˜I have to give my hats off to you,’€™ and he kind of smiled and was like, ‘€˜Thank you.’€™ It seems like he’€™s been getting better and better.”

Lynch was drafted by Buffalo in the first round in 2007 out of Cal and promptly ran for over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, to go with 15 touchdowns. But after his second season, things started to go south in Buffalo. Following his guilty plea on misdemeanor weapons charges, Lynch met with Commissioner Roger Goodell for a disciplinary hearing. Lynch had been arrested in Culver City, Calif., for having a gun in his backpack in the trunk of a car he was in.

The NFL announced that Lynch would be suspended for the Bills’ first three games for violations of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Lynch appealed the league’s suspension on May 14 in an attempt to have it reduced or nullified, only to have it upheld by Goodell later on August 3. When interviewed on the topic, Lynch has said that he was not surprised when the suspension was upheld, and that he loves playing too much and will try to keep himself out of situations in which there is a risk of being suspended.

He suffered a sprained ankle in 2010 and was traded in October to Seattle, where’s he’s been in “Beastmode” ever since. He has rushed for over 1,200 yards in each of his last four seasons in Seattle, including 1,306 yards with a career high 13 touchdowns this season. His season was defined by a spectacular 79-yard touchdown run on Dec. 21 against the Cardinals, on the same field he’ll be playing the Patriots on Feb. 1.

“The more and more you play in the game, it seems like he kicks it to another gear, and that’€™s a sign of a great football player,” Wilfork said. “He’€™s hands down the best back in the game because he can hurt you any time he has the ball in his hands. I think it’€™s going to be so important for us to have more than one defender tackling him because he’€™s shown over the years what he [can] do. He’€™ll make some defenses and he’€™ll make some players look stupid on the football field. I don’€™t want that feeling, I’€™ll tell you that. It’€™s going to be a lot of running for us trying to get to him because he demands that. He’€™s just a great back.”

How does Lynch help Wilson?

“Well, I think any best friend of the quarterback is the run game and with the backs they have and with Russell Wilson being able to run the ball at will, it makes their offense so dynamic,” Wilfork said. “It’€™s amazing watching film. They don’€™t do a lot of exotic stuff. Basically, they go out and they do what they do and they make plays and they execute at a high level, and they’€™ve been doing it for a couple years now. Obviously saw last year when they went to the [Super] Bowl and they played well together as a team, not just as an offense. Their special teams [is] good, they have a great defense and the offense is very explosive.

“It’€™s going to be a challenge all around for us. It’€™s not just going to be just defensive line or just the defense. It’€™s going to be all three phases of the ballgame. We have to be able to play well. If we play well, we’€™ll set ourselves up well in the game, but if we don’€™t we’€™ll have problems. That’€™s the last thing we want, especially against a team like this, to have problems in the game where it can get ugly quick. Most of the times when you see teams scoring a lot of points like that, it’€™s big plays after big plays and they’€™re capable of doing that. But at the same time it’€™s amazing to see them hand the ball off and they can go 70 yards at will if you’€™re not playing good football. So, we understand that.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — Roughly an hour after the NFL released its statement of an ongoing investigation of Deflategate, Patriots owner, Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft pledged complete support and

Robert Kraft says his team is taking Deflategate very seriously. (Getty Images)

Robert Kraft says his team is taking Deflategate very seriously. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Roughly an hour after the NFL released its statement of an ongoing investigation of Deflategate, Patriots owner, Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft pledged complete support and continued cooperation with a statement of his own.

“On Monday, I received a letter from the league office informing me that they would be conducting an investigation into the air pressure of the game balls. Immediately after receiving the letter, I instructed our staff to be completely cooperative and transparent with the league’€™s investigators.

“During the three days they were here, we provided access to every full- and part-time employee the league’€™s representatives requested to speak with and produced every communication device that they requested to search. It is an ongoing process that the league and our team are taking very seriously. I very much support the league’€™s desire to conduct a complete investigation and welcome the appointment of Ted Wells to lead the process.

“Competitive balance and the integrity of the game are the foundation of what makes our league so special and I have the utmost respect for those principles. Our organization will continue to cooperate throughout the league’€™s investigation. Meanwhile, our players, coaches and staff will continue to focus on our preparations for Super Bowl XLIX and the many challenges we face as we prepare for the Seattle Seahawks.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

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