Brady: You don't ever stop thinking about the game

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Brady: You don't ever stop thinking about the game

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady was perhaps not as thrilled for a second press conference this week as reporters were. The media meet marked a break in routine, something the Patriots quarterback prizes. 
So it goes in the playoffs. There are more reporters, more questions. At least the quarterback kept his sense of humor. 
'How was practice, Tom?' 
"It was perfect," he replied, sarcasm oozing from his grin. "There was not a bad play." 
And then it was back to business. 
"No, there are always mistakes made and you correct them and you try to learn from whatever mistakes you make. I wish they were perfect, but not often."
Brady did not describe what constitutes an efficient week of workouts; it's for head coach Bill Belichick, he said, to evaluate and decide how the players do. 
"We try to go out and be consistent and go out and execute the plays that are called. A lot of times, you put in your first and second down plays, your third down plays, your red area plays -- it's your first look at them on Wednesday. Like today, we put in the red area. You go out and you see how you practice them, you see how they look. 
"If they don't look good you make changes and make adjustments. If they look good, maybe you build on them. Maybe you don't do anything with them. You put plays in, you throw plays out. That's the whole preparation leading up to the game, trying to understand the game plan, add a few things, take a few things out so what you're calling is the best stuff and the stuff you have the most confidence in." 
New England was done with practices Friday but game prep is far from over. AFC Championship or not, Brady takes it down to the wire. 
"You just keep pushing through," he said. "You finish practice today and you go in and watch film on practice and see what we have to do better and that goes right through the night. Tomorrow morning we have meetings and that goes right through the afternoon, and tomorrow night we have meetings, and then Sunday mornings we have meetings. It goes right up until game time. It just doesn't stop. You really can't turn it off at this point.
"I don't think you ever really let down or stop thinking about the game. Certainly I don't."

Gronkowski returns to practice; Mason, Branch still missing

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Gronkowski returns to practice; Mason, Branch still missing

FOXBORO -- The Patriots had a welcome face back on the practice field on Wednesday, as tight end Rob Gronkowski returned to action after missing the team's previous five practices as he dealt with an injury. 

Gronkowski participated in the warmup period of practice and then remained with the majority of his teammates for drills. 

The last time Gronkowski was spotted on the field was last Monday, which was the first of three joint practices between the Patriots and the Bears. He pulled up after pursuing a Tom Brady pass, walked along the sideline, met with head trainer Jim Whalen, and then left practice early. He did not suit up for Thursday's game against Chicago. 

Gronkowski has not participated in a preseason game since 2012. 

Patriots not spotted at Wednesday's practice were Shaq Mason, Jonathan Cooper, Sebastian Vollmer (on the physically unable to perform list) and Dion Lewis (also on PUP). Alan Branch, who has been suspended by the team before last week's preseason game, was also missing. 

Jabaal Sheard, Rob Ninkovich, Malcolm Mitchell, Shea McClellin, Tre' Jackson (PUP) and Danny Amendola (PUP) were present for warmups but went to a lower field for conditioning. Amendola and Jackson were not in pads for the short-and-shells session. 

Jon Bon Jovi was taking in the session alongside Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. 

Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Ramirez gets night off

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Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Ramirez gets night off

Hanley Ramirez is getting a night off as the Red Sox look for their third straight win against the Rays tonight at Tropicana Field.

Travis Shaw will play first base, with Brock Holt at third.

Tonight's lineups:

RED SOX:
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Brock Holt 3B
Travis Shaw 1B
Andrew Benintendi LF
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Rick Porcello P

RAYS:
Logan Forsythe 2B
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Brad Miller SH
Matt Duffy SS
Logan Morrison 1B
Steven Souza Jr. RF
Corey Dickerson LF
Bobby Wilson C
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Matt Andriese P