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."

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

FOXBORO – Back in March, Eric Weddle batted his eyes longingly at the Patriots. The two-time All-Pro safety’s time was done with the Chargers and he wanted to spend his NFL autumn with a team that had a chance to win it all. 

He didn’t land in New England, but he didn’t too badly, winding up with the usually competitive Ravens.  

On a Thursday conference call with New England media, Weddle confirmed that there was mutual interest expressed. 

“Obviously, I was interested,” he acknowledged. “I have nothing but high regard, respect and admiration – and envy, quite honestly – of the success of the New England Patriots over the years. Obviously, battling them in my career, it’s always been a great game. I love the way they play, love the foundation, love everything about it. It was definitely on my radar. There were talks both ways, it just didn’t end up [working out].”

The numbers massed at the position with Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon played a role in the two sides not being able to reach accord, according to Weddle. 

“I’m good buddies with Patrick Chung,” he said. “I grew up playing with him and Devin [McCourty] is one of the best to play, so I don’t know if it would have worked out personnel-wise. But obviously, I could have seen myself fitting in there seamlessly.”

Weddle’s New England attraction apparently wasn’t love that bloomed late in his career. Toward the end of his conference call, Weddle said, “I’m still wondering why they just didn’t draft me in ’07; I could have been still playing there now.”

As reporters puzzled for a moment trying to recall the 2007 first-rounder, Weddle chipped in with the answer: “[They took] Brandon Meriweather.”

Raiders' loss to Chiefs puts Patriots in AFC driver's seat

Raiders' loss to Chiefs puts Patriots in AFC driver's seat

FOXBORO - The Patriots got a desired outcome Thursday night when the Chiefs handed the Raiders their third loss of the season. 

The 21-13 loss dropped Oakland and KC into a tie atop the AFC West at 10-3 but the Chiefs, by virtue of beating Oakland twice this season, have the divisional tiebreaker. Oakland went from the top seed in the AFC to the fifth spot.

More importantly around here, the Patriots now are in position to win out and claim the AFC’s No. 1 seed. 

Prior to the Raiders loss, Oakland would have been the top seed if both they and the Patriots won out.  Now, the 10-2 Patriots have a leg up on the rest of the conference. The Raiders’ road stays tough. They are at San Diego and Denver and host the Colts. 

The Chiefs have a more favorable close to the season with home games against Tennessee and Denver before their season finale at San Diego. 

The Patriots’ road over the final four is no picnic though, beginning with the Ravens and at Denver before the last two hosting the Jets and traveling to Miami.