Gronkowski 'jittery' with excitement for Week 1


Gronkowski 'jittery' with excitement for Week 1

FOXBORO -- Each player interview in the Patriots locker room Sunday morning got a preface. It's like there's an unwritten rule that those who'd been felled by Friday's roster cutdown had to first be acknowledged before moving on.
Rob Gronkowski was no exception.
"That shows the business side of the NFL and it's always tough to see your friends go," he said. "Your friends, people that are your mentors, guys that you look up to -- it's tough seeing them go. It's part of the business, but at the same time you wish them luck and you hope that everything works out for everyone that you see go. It's definitely a tough time."
But there's not a lot of time to dwell. This is Week 1, after all.
"It's kind of like last week now, but just focused on the game now that's coming up, Tennessee. Just going to be preparing hard, mentally, physically and getting ready."
The Patriots fly out to visit the Titans this weekend. Gronkowski said he's jittery with excitement to get things kicked off.
But of course. He not only has to answer for his own 2011 season -- the best statistical year for a tight end in NFL history -- he has to do it on a surgically repaired ankle.
Gronkowski believes he's on pace.
"That's what our whole training camp, always out there practice, getting ready. It's up to the coaches how much we play during the preseason games, but I feel that practice-wise, that's where it starts. And continuing from all of camp, practicing all of camp, and going into this week, all the reps we'll be getting this week, a couple practices to get prepared. Definitely feel prepared, hopefully throughout this week too. Get some good physical and mental preparation in to be ready."
Luckily, the tight end is working with Tom Brady and one of the league's most high-powered offenses.
"What I notice about the system is that we're always just trying to get better. Every single week, win or loss, you just want to improve and get better in the areas that you weren't doing so good at. Practice-wise, going back and looking at the film from the practice day before.
"You want to go out on the field and improve what you did wrong. And what you did right, you want to make sure that you're staying up to date, doing those things right, from there on out, every single practice. So basically, it's go time and we have to go out there and practice hard every week, keep the offense in rhythm."
There's no stopping -- as he and the rest of the whittled-down team are currently well aware.

Stevens: Bradley, Zeller, Jerebko out vs. Trail Blazers


Stevens: Bradley, Zeller, Jerebko out vs. Trail Blazers

BOSTON – Before Brad Stevens addressed the media before the Celtics faced the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday afternoon, he had to take a moment to make sure he wouldn’t forget anyone who wasn’t able to play.
Yeah, the list was a pretty long one.
Tyler Zeller, Demetrius Jackson and Jonas Jerebko will not play tonight due to sickness. And Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain) will also be out with a timetable that’s starting to feel like it’ll be longer than anyone would want.
“I don’t anticipate Avery this week at all,” Stevens said. “He still has some soreness. Obviously we’re concerned about the long-term impact of a sore Achilles; what it means on that foot but also what it means when you compensate off it. But he’ll be back when he’s ready but I think he’s still a little bit away.”
Bradley, the team’s top on-the-ball defender and No. 2 scorer this season at 17.7 points per game, will be out for the sixth time in the Celtics’ last seven games because of the Achilles injury.
Replacing him in the starting lineup will be Marcus Smart whose status for tonight’s game wasn’t a sure thing.
On the Celtics’ pregame notes package, Smart was listed as probable with a sore right ankle injury. I asked Stevens about Smart’s status a few minutes ago, and he said the 6-foot-4 Smart will play tonight.
In his 15 starts this season, Smart has averaged 10.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists while shooting 38.4 percent from the field and 31.7 percent on 3's - all of which are better than what he produces when coming off the bench. 

Sale: “Time for both sides to do something different, I guess”


Sale: “Time for both sides to do something different, I guess”

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”