Gregory fondly remembers 2008 NFL London trip

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Gregory fondly remembers 2008 NFL London trip

FOXBORO -- There are several players in the Patriots locker room who've played in an NFL London game before. Among them: Tom Brady, Stephen Gostkowski, Logan Mankins and Wes Welker.

In total, there are 13 current Patriots who played for New England in the team's 35-7 trouncing of Tampa Bay in 2009. (Note: Patriots linebacker Niko Koutouvides was with the Buccaneers at the time.)

Steve Gregory had a different experience. In 2008, the safety was part of a Chargers squad that lost 37-32 to New Orleans at historic Wembley Stadium.

Despite the loss, his memories of the trip are warm.

"It was great," Gregory said. "We went out for a whole week. We played in Buffalo first and then flew straight out there. It was great. Obviously I'd never been there before, so to see London, the overall experience was amazing. Playing in that stadium. Some of the people had all different jerseys on and stuff.

"I think the fans were cheering more when the guys kicked a field goal than a regular play," he laughed. "But it was fun, it was a good time."

His availability for this trip is unknown; Gregory is still recovering from a hip injury suffered back in Week 4.

If he does go he's not worried about the truncated timeline. Though the Chargers had more time to sight-see in London, Gregory said the Patriots won't suffer for leaving Thursday night.

"It is what it is. We'll get out there in plenty of time to adjust to the time and all that stuff. It'll be a good experience for the guys that haven't been."

Acclimation in the context of football is most important. The Patriots players had Monday off, making Tuesday more like a typical Wednesday in terms of preparation. Head coach Bill Belichick said this morning that the team can add time onto the back end of the week for football operations once the team lands in London.

Much like Belichick, Gregory sounded resigned to the schedule.

"Obviously it's a long flight and things like that, but no longer than going out to the West Coast or something like that.

"But that just comes with traveling. Any time you play on the road, it doesn't matter where you are, your routine gets a little bit adjusted, and you've got to kind of adjust to where you are and the things that you're doing. We'll adjust and we'll get those things going right."

Who knows -- there could be time enough to visit the Queen. Gregory laughed at the thought.

"Yeah, if she'll let me."

Brady makes 'The Hangover' reference, calls QB group his wolf pack

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Brady makes 'The Hangover' reference, calls QB group his wolf pack

Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett are starting to make a habit of this.

After clinching the AFC East title during the regular season, they made sure to grab a picture together that they could throw on their respective social-media pages. They did the same again on Sunday night. 

Sporting their brand new AFC Championship hats -- and Brissett, who didn't dress for the game, in a championship t-shirt -- the trio posed in front of their lockers like the three best friends that anyone could have.

When Brady posted the shot on his Instagram page Monday morning, he captioned it with a speech from the movie "The Hangover," calling Garoppolo and Brissett part of his "wolf pack."

Belichick on Bon Jovi moment during AFC title game: 'He had the place rocking'

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Belichick on Bon Jovi moment during AFC title game: 'He had the place rocking'

After LeGarrette Blount plunged into the end zone from one yard away, giving the Patriots a 27-9 lead over the Steelers in the third quarter of the AFC title game, the Gillette Stadium crowd partied like it was 1989. 

While fans celebrated, the massive in-stadium video board showed Rob Gronkowski, Donnie Wahlberg and Jon Bon Jovi all sharing a booth while Bon Jovi's hit from 30 years ago, "Livin' on a Prayer," blasted over the public-address system. The crowd belted out the words while the man who made them famous orchestrated from his perch.

Of course it caught Bill Belichick's attention.

"I was definitely aware of it," said Belichick, who calls Bon Jovi a friend. "Jon, I've heard him play that song dozens of times. But he had the place rocking . . . Maybe a little more than we did. Pretty impressive."

Belichick and Bon Jovi met while Belichick was coaching with the Giants, where he spent 12 years as an assistant. Bon Jovi's style of music wasn't exactly Giants head coach Bill Parcells' cup of tea, but for some of the younger coaches on the Giants staff, one of the perks of the job was that there was a rock star from Jersey to wanted to hang around the team. 

Thus, a friendship was born. Once last night's game ended with Belichick making his record seventh Super Bowl as a head coach, Bon Jovi came down from his box to celebrate with his pal on the field. 

"He's a great friend," Belichick said. "He's been a great friend for a long time, all the way back into the 80s and we shared a lot of great moments together, including the 1990 Super Bowl in Tampa, when he was in the locker room after the game, taking crazy pictures and stuff like that. Great memories from there. It was great to have Jon here. Always appreciate his great support. It was quite a moment. One you usually don't see at a professional football game so it was special."