Ron Borges writes an excellent column on Tom Brady, his fascination with the game and his love of football.
"I feel like this year I’m getting a lot of questions about my age," Brady said. "In so many ways I don’t feel any different than I used to feel. I still feel like I’m a 25-year-old kid trying to earn a job here.
"It’s never been easy for me so I don’t know what it means to take a film session off. I never did that, so when I’m asked if I get bored, I don’t have an answer. It’s not like I’ve got it all figured out. If you think that, it’s probably a sign of the end. Then the game passes you by.
"But I’ve never really had any other interests. It’s not like I have another career planned. It’s not like I have hobbies. I’ve loved this since I was 8. I feel very fortunate to have found it. "I think it’s interesting that as an athlete everyone is lumped together. People say, ‘This is the lifespan of an athlete,’ but that’s only if the process is the same for every athlete. If mine is different, why is the result going to be the same? I’ve never approached it like everyone else. My process is mine.
"People ask me about the sacrifices you have to make but they aren’t sacrifices to me because I love the preparation. I love the process. "At this point I’ve thrown the football so many times and dropped back so many times. The mental part is what brings the enthusiasm to something I’ve done thousands of times. I’ve got to do it because if I don’t, who else is going to do it for me?"
Mike Rodak & Mike Reiss highlight some soundbites from Sunday morning's open locker room media session.
Gronkowski on Branch release. Tight end Rob Gronkowski had the following to say on the release of Deion Branch: "He's just a great guy overall. Taught so much on the field -- how to practice, how to stay motivated out there, how to always do the rep right so we don't have to repeat everything. He's a great guy. Always love talking with him and we'll always be in touch with him."
McCourty set to face twin brother. Cornerback Devin McCourty is set to face his twin brother for the first time since entering the NFL two seasons ago. On Sunday, Devin joked that he won't be talking to his twin, Jason, a Titans cornerback, this week. "I told him, starting today, we're done," McCourty said. "I told him to lose my (phone) number."
Gronkowski still gets jitters. Excitement often seems to find the third-year tight end these days, but Rob Gronkowski said getting ready for next Sunday's regular-season opener still gets him anxious. "Always excited to get the season started. First game of the season ... always got the jitters, always ready to go and always excited for the game to come," Gronkowski said. "To see college football started this week ... it was exciting watching all that and it makes you more excited to get going."
Most competitive camp in Lloyd's career. He was the only newcomer to survive roster cuts at his position, but veteran receiver Brandon Lloyd says that this past training camp was the most competitive of his career. "Nothing's for certain. It was a competitive camp. I haven't been in a camp that was that competitive at the wide receiver position, where guys had so much experience, past experience with the starting quarterback, had success in the NFL, and then were just all battling out for a couple of spots. That's just the way it shook out. We all understood what we were competing for by signing here, and then it was up for the coaching staff and ultimately how we practiced and played to make the team."
Jones adjusts to being a pro. Rookie defensive end Chandler Jones touched on a number of topics, including earning the trust of veterans on the roster and how it’s hard for him to imagine what his emotions will be like when he takes the field for his first regular-season game. As for the adjustment from college to the NFL, Jones said, "The biggest transition is time management. It’s the maturity level you have as a player to take time out and go in and study on your own time."
Mallett now 'one snap away'. With the Patriots releasing backup quarterback Brian Hoyer on Friday, Ryan Mallett has been thrust into the top backup role. Mallett touched on his excitement of winning that competition, but also expressed empathy for Hoyer, whom he called "a good guy." In terms of comfort level, Mallett said he’s much further along this year (as one would expect), but stressed that his approach won’t change. "I’m one snap away," he said, "so I have to be ready."
- Erik Scalavino reports the Patriots are working this holiday weekend, and shares his notes from Sunday at Gillette.
- Press Conference: Bill Belichick (16.41 min. video).
- Patriots Today - Sunday practice report. (1.07 min. video)
- Locker Room Uncut - Players prepare for Week 1. (2.45 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Gronkowski talks business. (4.41 min. video)
- Player Interviews: Brandon Lloyd (5.28 min.), Chandler Jones (3.24 min.) and Devin McCourty (4.07 min.)
- Karen Guregian reports the Patriots' moves were for flexibility, especially the team cutting Carpenter and adding a WR & OL position.
- Greg A. Bedard notes the Patriots have the youngest opening-day roster, and the youngest defense, of coach Bill Belichick’s term with the team.
- Mike Petraglia notes the Patriots are determined to be known as much for their big-play ability on defense as they are on offense.
- Tom E. Curran writes that with the release of Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett becomes the man behind the man.
- Karen Guregian has a terrific piece on Aaron Hernandez and the bond he shares with his older brother DJ.
- Mike Petraglia reports Rob Gronkowski has been looking forward to this week ever since that "Hail Mary" pass from Tom Brady fell just out of his reach.
- Karen Guregian notes Patrick Chung may have to start using some discretion before flinging his body into every pile, if he wants to last.
- Mark Daniels says rookie DE Chandler Jones is pumped for his NFL debut.
- Christopher Price posts an updated look at the Patriots roster. At least as it stands today.
- Mike Rodak reveals the updated jersey numbers for the Pats.
- Jeff Howe Patriots Notebook: Patriots ran through a full-pads practice in preparation for Tennessee this Sunday; Tracy White returned to practice; Sebastian Vollmer returned to practice after missing Friday's session; More injury updates.
- Jason Cole (Yahoo! Sports) Will Patriots take ball out of Tom Brady's hands in order to run with Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen?
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Pats' stashing of Jeff Demps is suspicious, but don't count on anything happening.
- Brian Billick (Fox Sports) AFC East preview: With Brady in charge, Pats still king.
- Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) 2012 NFL All-Division Teams: AFC East.
- Photo Gallery (SI) Rob Gronkowski outtakes.
- Jim Wyatt (The Tennessean) Tennessee Titans comfortable with four wide receivers.
- Peter King (SI) MMQB: Labor issues with officials causing uneasiness as season opens.
- Dan Pompei (Nat'l Football Post) Sunday Blitz: The sad state of offensive line play, NFL players turned politicians, and more.
- Pat Kirwan (CBS Sports) NFL's relaxed practice rules don't cut number of players on IR.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) NFL frustrated with NFLRA's "moving target" demands.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) NFLRA release hints at $30 million in dispute.