Hightower quickly learning the Patriot Way


Hightower quickly learning the Patriot Way

FOXBORO -- Dont'a Hightower learns quickly. The rookie linebacker is sounding like a Patriot after just two days of training camp.

I definitely feel like I can help out somewhere along the line. Im going to do what I can, whatever they ask me to do. Whether its kicking or holding the snap, Im going to do whatever I can to get on the field.

His standing isn't as tenuous as all that; nobody will be asking the first-round pick to kick the football. Still, it's smart for Hightower to play the role of sponge for now.

He's already found a wellspring of advice and information: Jerod Mayo.

Hightower said he's followed Mayo's career from the University of Tennessee to New England. Seeing the former Volunteer win Defensive Rookie of the Year honors with 128 tackles clearly made an impression.

"I feel like most linebackers have the mentality that they want to come in and make a big impact. Me talking to him and asking him how he did things as a rookie, how he prepared and things like that, is going to help me out the best, said Hightower.

The Patriots must love the effort at emulation.

During camp, Mayo has been moved inside and outside over all three linebacker positions. When Hightower comes in, he does the same.

Is it too much, too soon? Yes, head coach Bill Belichick said he's wary of throwing too much at the new kid and overwhelming him. But, like with Mayo, the potential can't be wasted.

Hes a smart kid and he definitely understands football concepts. It comes pretty quickly to him so thats good," said Belichick. "He might now know exactly what every part of his assignment is, he just spatially knows where hes playing, who is next to him, can figure out kind of how hes supposed to fit things."

Good instincts, good football IQ, and versatility -- an invaluable mix. And add to that the wisdom not to take anything for granted.

I'm learning everywhere: on the field, off the field, in the weight room," said Hightower. "How to study for a different level, how to understand difference terminology. Again, Mayo's done well here. Brandon Spikes has, too. A lot of guys.

"I'm just trying to learn as much from those guys while I'm still young."

Affleck offers passionate Brady defense when asked about Deflategate


Affleck offers passionate Brady defense when asked about Deflategate

When the topic of Deflategate was broached on HBO's Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons, which debuted this week, Ben Affleck became all kinds of fired up.

"What they did was suspend Tom Brady for four days for not giving them his [expletive] cellphone," Affleck said. "I would never give an organization as leak-prone as the NFL my [expletive] cellphone . . . so you can just look through my emails and listen to my voicemails?"

Affleck grew up in Cambridge, Mass. and is a passionate Patriots fan. He made no attempts to hide his fandom, and his appreciation for Brady, as he and Simmons (also a Patriots fan) discussed the football-deflation controversy that has now lasted well over a year. 

Affleck, who said he would want to cast himself as Brady if ever a Deflategate movie was made, harped on the fact that the league wanted Brady to turn over his phone. 

"Maybe Tom Brady is so [expletive] classy and such a [expletive] gentleman," Affleck said, "that he doesn’t want people to know that he may have reflected on his real opinion on some of his co-workers."

Brady is waiting for the Second Circuit to make a decision as to whether or not it will rehear his case against the NFL. Earlier this offseason, the Second Circuit reinstated Brady's four-game suspension issued by the league when a three-judge panel ruled in favor of the NFL, 2-1. 

Pro Football Talk wrote on Thursday that a decision from the Second Circuit could come at any time. If the rehearding request is denied, Brady could then take the case to the Supreme Court. Should the Second Circuit grant Brady a rehearing, his suspension would be delaed until the court reached a decision. In that case, Brady could potentially play the entire 2016 season before a decision came to pass. 

Brady posts high school essay to Facebook on living in his sisters' shadow


Brady posts high school essay to Facebook on living in his sisters' shadow

Tom Brady wasn't always the most famous person in his family. Growing up, his sisters were the accomplished athletes in the household. 

For his latest Throwback Thursday style Facebook post, Brady published a pair of photos of an old high school essay that he wrote in the fall of his senior year in 1994. It was titled "The way my sisters influenced me."

I found an essay I wrote in 1994... I love my big sisters! #tbt. Thanks for the good grade Mr Stark!

Posted by Tom Brady on Thursday, June 23, 2016

In it, he discusses some of the difficulties of growing up with three older sisters and no brothers. Because Maureen, Julie and Nancy Brady had achieved so much in softball, basketball and soccer, Brady -- or "Tommy," as he signed his paper -- had trouble getting noticed. 

Of course, it wouldn't be long before Brady was headed from San Mateo, California to Ann Arbor, Michigan in order to play football for the Wolverines. He probably had no trouble garnering attention by then. Still, it's funny to read about how he felt overlooked in his youth. 

He closed the essay explaining that he knew his sisters would always provide him support throughout his life, adding, "hopefully, just maybe, one day people will walk up to them and say, 'Aren't you Tommy's sister?' or 'Hey where is your brother?' Maybe . . . "

If the Brady sisters didn't get those kinds of comments by the time the baby of the family was given an 'A' for his English assignment, it probably didn't take long before they did. About seven years later, he took over as the starting quarterback of the Patriots.