Rob Gronkowski said Wednesday people underestimate how serious he takes football. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski said Wednesday people underestimate how serious he takes football. (Elsa/Getty Images)

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Rob Gronkowski is a kid at heart.

The 25-year-old star tight end is as outgoing as anyone, always wanting to talk and laugh with anyone who will listen and does more charitable events than anyone on the team.

Because of his personality, Gronkowski sometimes gets a bad rap that he doesn’t take football as serious as he should.

Gronkowski responded to those people on Wednesday.

“I feel like they underestimate the hard work and dedication behind the scenes for everyone,” Gronkowski said. “Just going in the weight room when it’€™s your time to work out, the meetings behind the scenes, the practicing during the week. I mean, I feel like some people just look at it like you go out there on game day and play, but that’€™s not really the case.

“You always have to be taking care of your body throughout the whole week, in the morning and all the way through nighttime, getting sleep. So, people kind of underestimate the hard work and dedication that goes into the week to get prepared for the games on Sunday.”

His work ethic was shown this past offseason as Gronkowski suffered a torn ACL in a December game and was ready to go for the team’s first day of training camp this past summer and was active for Week 1 of the regular season. That injury wasn’t his first major injury either, as he’s battled back and elbow injuries over the course of his career.

“I’€™ve been through a lot, for sure,” said Gronkowski. “They’€™re all the worst. You never want to be injured, no doubt. You always want to be out on the field with your teammates. I really don’€™t have one that I’€™ve played with like bad — I just go out there and play. Every time I step out onto the field I’€™m ready to go.”

With that being said, Gronkowski still takes some time to let loose and have some fun, which sometimes gets criticized in the media.

So, why is it made such a big deal when he goes out and parties?

“€œBecause I’€™m a baller? Is that a good answer?” he said.

Sunday will be his second Super Bowl game, as he played in 2012 against the Giants in Indianapolis — although not at 100 percent — finishing with only three catches. That experience he says will help him this time around.

“I’€™ve just got to come in here and keep it all business and just focus on the Seattle Seahawks,” said Gronkowski. “All the little things, all the noise around, just block it off and just focus. Focus like it’€™s any other week, just practice like it’€™s any other week, go to meetings like it’€™s any other week, and let all the distractions do their own thing outside.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Tom Brady spoke for 45 minutes Wednesday morning as part of the Patriots’ media availability at their team hotel.

His voice sounded like he was stuffed and Brady revealed he is battling a bit of a cold.

Tom Brady revealed he's battling a cold on Wednesday. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Tom Brady revealed he’s battling a cold on Wednesday. (Elsa/Getty Images)

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Tom Brady spoke for 45 minutes Wednesday morning as part of the Patriots’ media availability at their team hotel.

His voice sounded like he was stuffed and Brady revealed he is battling a bit of a cold.

“I’ve had it for four or five days,” said Brady. “My kids got sick and my wife is pretty sick right now. I brought it unfortunately to Phoenix but I’ll be fine. I’ll be good. I’ll be 100 percent. I’m not worried about it at all.”

“It’s been lingering, so I’m just trying to get some rest,” he added. “A lot of garlic, old remedies, everything I can.”

The quarterback acknowledged Brandon Browner, who played with the Seahawks last season, has talked with the offense about what Seattle does on defense and Brady seems like he knows the Seahawks well.

“I feel like I know these guys pretty well,” Brady said. “I know how they play. I got a lot of respect for the way they play and they got good players and a great scheme and they got very good coaching.”

The last time the Patriots played a Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona they lost to the Giants to ruin their undefeated 2007 season. Brady doesn’t want to look back to that game, but certainly hopes the results are different this time around.

“I wish that game would have ended differently, but we didn’€™t make enough plays that day,” Brady said. “It’€™s good to be back here and have the opportunity to play in this game. We’€™re playing against a great team. Like I said, it’€™s not where you play — it’€™s how you play. I think if we want to win this game, we’€™ve got to go play really well.”

The quarterback, who has plenty of experience in big games, is aware this isn’t just like any other game, and is one of the biggest of his and other members of the team’s careers. He said part of controlling emotions is one of the biggest keys to the game for he and his teammates.

“It’€™s not just another game,” he said. “It’€™s the biggest game of our season, but, truthfully, when the ball is kicked off, it’€™s like any other game. You just rely on the experience that you have to be able to temper the emotions and the enthusiasm, and then it’€™s an emotional game, so you’€™ve got to let it all hang out when you get out there. It’€™s going to be a tough game. We’€™re prepared for that. We’€™ve been in some tough ones this year. We’€™ve been behind. We’€™ve had to come back in the fourth quarter. Whatever we’€™ve got to do.”

Sunday will be Brady’s sixth Super Bowl game and he is looking to earn his fourth title, which would tie childhood idol Joe Montana for most all-time.

“This team has worked hard to get to this point,” Brady said. “We just have to try and finish it out.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

CHANDLER, Ariz. –€” Shane Vereen pulled off the first win of the week for the Patriots over the Seahawks on Tuesday night, as he bested Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman in a New England-Seattle showdown in Madden 15.

When it comes to taking a page out of his playbook as it relates to the real thing on Sunday, however, Vereen said he won’€™t be giving Bill Belichick any advice.

“Don’€™t beat them the way I did in Madden,”€ he said with a smile on Wednesday morning. “I tried some very. very risky things. Some of them worked, some of them didn’€™t work. But it was a fun event –€” you can’€™t take anything away from it. I just think Sunday, we’€™re going to have to play our game, and we’€™re going to have to play tough.”

Vereen was asked if No. 34 got a lot of the carries against Seattle.

“No, because they didn’€™t update the roster,”€ he replied with mock anger. “I tried to force-feed myself the few times I was in, but you can only do so much.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

PHOENIX — One of the biggest topics following the Super Bowl will be Darrelle Revis and his situation with the Patriots for next season.

Former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner checked in with Middays with MFB from Phoenix to talk about Deflategate and his feelings about the team that knocked off his heavily favored Rams in the Super Bowl in 2002.

Darrelle Revis could return to the Patriots next year at a $20 million price. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis could return to the Patriots next year at a $20 million price. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — One of the biggest topics following the Super Bowl will be Darrelle Revis and his situation with the Patriots for next year.

Revis signed a one-year deal with a team option for 2015 at $20 million. There was some thought he would work out a long-term deal with the team, but now there’s some thought he could play out the $20 million team option.

According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, per two sources close with Revis and another the in the Patriots organization that is what could take place.

“There’s a thought the Patriots will keep Revis at the $20 million price tag,” Cole said. “They have already tried to work out some perimeters on a long-term deal that hasn’t really gone anywhere. We’re getting closer and closer to free agency and considering is options after the Super Bowl there’s a lot in play here.

“One of the things is the Patriots may say, ‘We need to have that franchise type cornerback,’ similar to what they had with Ty Law because they’ve seen the success they have had with their defense under Darrelle Revis.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner checked in with Middays with MFB from Phoenix to talk about Deflategate and his feelings about the team that knocked off his heavily favored Rams in the Super Bowl in 2002. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Warner said he has not made up his mind about Tom Brady‘s role in Deflategate.

“Of course I want to believe Tom. Tom’s a friend of mine. You have to err on the side of believing the guy,” Warner said. “The problem is not just Tom or coach [Bill] Belichick, is that you just wonder what happened? How does something like that happen? And I think the worst part of the whole thing is just the history they have, and the fact that you know Spygate happened, and so it automatically creates a little bit of doubt in your mind and there probably shouldn’t be. We should give them the benefit of the doubt in every situation. But I think too often because of what happened before, you step back and you go, ‘Well, could it be something else?’ ”

While former Rams running back Marshall Faulk has made it clear he feels cheated by the Patriots, Warner has not come to the same conclusion.

“You fight that urge to go there,” Warner said. “Because I know on that Sunday evening they outplayed us. And so that’s where you want to leave it. It’s the history of the game, it’s the Super Bowl, they beat us. The only thing that I say is because of Spygate it just leaves an inkling of doubt to go: Did it help them? Did that help them at any point in time? Did it help them in that game? And I don’t want to go there, because I’m not a bitter guy and I don’t look at that and say they beat us because of that.

“I just think that whole cloud just leaves a doubt there that I believe is unfair on both sides. It’s unfair for the Patriots if there was no advantage. It’s unfair for the teams that they played against and players they played against if there was some sort of advantage no matter how small. That to me is the only bad part about it, because I don’t want to believe anything influenced anything, that history was dictated by the best players playing the best at the right time.”

Looking at Sunday’s game, Warner said the Patriots will need to stop Seattle’s running game while finding a way to get yards against the league’s scariest defense.

“When you talk about the Patriots, they’re going to come up with a great scheme, because they’re a scheme-oriented defense,” Warner said. “But I think the key is you’ve got to stop Marshawn Lynch. You’ve got to find a way to neutralize him and make the rest of that team beat you.

“On the other side of it, the Patriots offense again is multiple, but the Seattle defense doesn’t do much. You know what they’re going to do, you know where they’re going to be. They’re just really good at what they do. So can you kind of crack that code to be able to attack these guys? Or can you be patient enough, or can you block them long enough to attack them on the second level? That, to me, will be the key. Because you can’t beat this team throwing dink and dunks. They’re going to come up and hit you and they’re going to stop you. They’ll make a play on the deep ball. So you’ve got to find ways to get chunk plays. Not easy, but that’s going to be the key for the Patriots.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about Deflategate and how it will affect the Patriots this Sunday. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Mike Florio

Mike Florio

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about Deflategate and how it will affect the Patriots this Sunday. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Though Bill Belichick closed the door on the topic after his press conference Saturday afternoon, Deflategate is something that has, for better or worse, captivated a nation. Initially the NFL announced that the investigation would take a few days, but recently the timetable was extended to the coming weeks. According to Florio, this could be because if the league needed to punish someone it doesn’t want to issue any suspensions for the Super Bowl.

“I think they didn’t want to get themselves into a position where they reached conclusions and then have to do something before the Super Bowl,” he said. “If you play this out to its logical conclusion and decide there was deflation, and we’re going to assume that somebody knew about this, then the NFL may have been in a position where they have to suspend Bill Belichick, suspend Tom Brady for the Super Bowl, and I don’t think they wanted to do that. So I guess what I’m saying is suspensions would be on the table depending on what they ultimately find.”

The league has been quiet, Florio said, because “everyone’s goal, from the perspective of 345 Park Avenue, is get through the Super Bowl, get past this and then we’ll worry about it later.”

The most recent development in the scandal is video of a locker room attendant disappearing into the bathroom for 90 seconds with 12 balls belonging to the Colts and 12 belonging to the Patriots. Florio said that despite news of the video only reaching the public this week, it was something the Pats had given over early on.

To some, the 90 seconds might not seem like enough time to deflate 11 footballs, but Florio said a head coach from a different NFL team tested it and said that he was able to deflate 12 balls and still have time to go to the bathroom in that time. Florio himself even did a bit of a test on his radio show last week.

“I had a football, had a needle, got it up to the microphone yesterday, and I didn’t know what was going to happen,” he said. “It was 13.5, and I popped that thing in for two seconds, and it’s a violent release of air, especially if it’s inflated to 13.5, it does not take long. And if you, you know the ball bag, it’s the bag that you lay on the ground and you zip it and they’re all right there so it’s just needle in, needle in, needle in, needle in, it doesn’t take a lot of time to do. As they call it, take the top off the ball, that’s all it is taking the top off the ball.”

Whether or not the attendant deflated the balls in the bathroom with or without the knowledge of anyone higher up, though it may be true, might not be of concern to the league. Florio noted that Spygate caused Roger Goodell to tell the owners that they “need to reduce the standard of proof in these types of cases,” that they “don’t need to have a smoking gun.” He also added that even if the attendant says he was just relieving himself, the NFL doesn’t have to accept his explanation.

“In the NFL’s perspective, the balls were underinflated,” he said. “The Colts’ weren’t, and we have this gap, this window in the chain of custody where the balls are taken behind closed doors for 90 seconds and the end result is the balls are underinflated, and we don’t care if you deny it. We’re willing to find under the low standard more likely than not, given the outcome, and I know from people I’ve spoken to in the league office, they believe the balls were underinflated and that’s all that matters, and that’s going to be a tough one to overcome regardless of whether or not anyone confesses to putting a needle in the balls and letting air out.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

On whether this creates an ‘us against the world’ mentality for Patriots: “Absolutely, because all week long you say to the players, ‘No one thinks we can win without cheating, no one thinks we deserve to be here, everybody thinks that everything we’ve accomplished is tainted,’ and if you truly can get the players to forget about this and to remove any doubt from their own minds, and I think you can, between what Mr. Kraft said, between what coach Belichick said, I think you can, then it does create a huge advantage. Remember that, was it San Diego Week 2 of 2007, a Sunday night game after Spygate, and they just came out and obliterated the Chargers? I think there’s a chance it happens, now, there’s a big difference between the Chargers in a regular-season game and the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl, this is a good team to come out and try to blow the doors off, but I think we’re going to see a level of aggression in play calling, in the way the players conduct themselves. I think the Patriots are going to try to bring the storm early. Something occurred to me yesterday. The Russell Wilson magical comeback late in the Green Bay game, that’s a Tim Tebow outcome, and the way Belichick deals with Tim Tebow, you get up by 30 points by halftime so he doesn’t have a chance to pull the rabbit out of his hat in the fourth quarter.”

On the Packers providing the Patriots with a blueprint for Sunday: “Look at what the Packers were able to do to them. We always talk about the blueprint, where’s the blueprint? Well the Packers have given the Patriots a blueprint, and I’d say the Patriots are at least as good as the Packers at pretty much every position so you take what the Packers did,and you finish the job. You get fourth-and-goal on the 1, you don’t kick a field goal, you score the touchdown, you go for the jugular, that was what kept the Packers from winning, they were trying not to lose.”

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen