Belichick cracks wise during bye-week media meet

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Belichick cracks wise during bye-week media meet

Business at Gillette is usually a little more relaxed during the bye week.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was in a swell enough mood Tuesday, offering up quotes for the media that measured more in inches than the usual millimeters. One topic Belichick rapped about was linebacker Jerod Mayo's resurfacing in practice.

Mayo, a defensive captain and 2010's league-leader in tackles, sat out the last two games with a left MCL injury. Initially, his timetable was set at 6-8 weeks; last Friday's return to practice was something of a surprise.

Belichick was asked about Mayo's involvement with the team during those two weeks -- about any player whose status turns questionable. His answer wasn't terribly surprising. The trainer's office just sounded more crowded than one might imagine.

"Not to give you a long-winded answer, but we have a lot of players in our system. The guys who are playing, they need treatment on some of their stuff too. They get it during the break periods before the meetings, at lunch, maybe after practice. That room fills up pretty quickly with those guys.

"Sometimes the players who arent able to participate or who need more rehabilitation, some of that work gets done during the meeting time so that our medical staff can be more hands-on and can do more things with them because they have so many other guys to deal with at other points of time during the day."

Excusing himself for saying too much? There's a new one. When it came to applying the process specifically to Mayo, though, Belichick wasn't interested.

"I know you guys think its like this big secret society going on here, but whats most important to us is to get healthy players on the field. Believe it or not, thats at the absolute top of our list is to get players healthy and get them on the field. The quicker that happens, the better it is for the player, the better it is for the team, the more work we can get done and the more we can improve."

No secret societies. Got it.

The conversation continued to wind through the alleys of individual players and their progress, like offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer ("I think he's doing better. We'll see where he is." and receiverspecial teamer Julian Edelman (It's the same process with everybody.")

But after all that, and after refusing any interest in Carson Palmer-trade talk, Belichick was thrown a curveball. What's with the new hoodie? Is this limited bye-week edition or what?

He replied with a dinger.

"Might be," Belichick said, smiling that steel-trap smile of his. "You dont want to make it too popular and take over the gray one."

Duly noted.

Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

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Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss the aftermath of Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video. Curran interview Matt Light ahead of the AFC Championship. They dissect the press conferences of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and look at how to beat the Steelers.

SUBSCRIBE iTunes | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | AudioBoom

2:29 Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live aftermath

13:14 Stopping Le’Veon Bell

27:16 heywassyonumba? with Patrick Chung and Kyle Van Noy

32:30 Injury report updates for AFC Championship

36:51 Brady and Belichick’s press conferences

44:50 Matt Light interview

Belichick asked if playing at home helps: 'Go ask Dallas and Kansas City'

Belichick asked if playing at home helps: 'Go ask Dallas and Kansas City'

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick knows that how you play, not where, is what matters most. 

That's why when he was asked on Wednesday about the advantage the Patriots will have by playing at Gillette Stadium in the AFC title game, he wasn't willing to go all-in on how a comfortable environment will positively impact his team.

"I don’t know," he said. "Go ask Dallas and Kansas City."

The Patriots apparently thought enough of home-field advantage that they played their starters throughout their regular-season finale win in Miami, exposing their best players to potential injury in order to maintain their positive momentum while simultaneously ensuring a better road to the Super Bowl. 

The Patriots fans in attendance on Sunday will help when the Patriots take on the Steelers, Belichick acknowledged. But there's much more to it than that. 

"Yeah, of course," he said, "but the game is won by the players on the field. That’s who wins football games – the players. And they’ll decide it Sunday night."

And if you needed any further proof, just ask the Cowboys and Chiefs how helpful their home crowds were in the Divisional Round.