FOXBORO -- Dan Koppen, who broke his left ankle in the Patriots' season opener in Miami, spent time Wednesday with media. Koppen was placed on season-ending injured reserve back on September 21. Even though he had a very good chance of being healed before the end of the regular season, the need to open up a roster spot made the move necessary. "It was a decision made but it's a business and things gotta get done," he explained. "You can't hold spots all year."Koppen didn't sound too charged up about the fact he landed on IR, but he seems to have accepted the decision. "Obviously you want to come back and play and injuries are part of the game," he said. "It's a business and things gotta be done and don't work out the way you want to all the time."Koppen was wearing a bulky boot on his left foot. He said he just got off crutches. "It's tough," he admitted. "You want to be out there, you want to be playing, but like I said before, injuries happen and next man up's gotta be ready to go. But as far as watching, it's just tough. But you get used to it."Koppen turned 32 in September. The five-year extension he signed in 2006 expires after this year. Asked what he sees coming down the road, Koppen said, "I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I'm enjoying where I'm at right now, rooting these guys on and hoping we have a great season. We'll deal with that later."Koppen, who's been capably replaced by Dan Connolly, said he wants to remain with the Patriots."This is a minor bump in the road. We'll be back and hopefully I'll be here," he said.
President-elect Donald Trump made sure to thank a few of his supporters from New England -- particularly those at 1 Patriot Place -- during a speech on the eve of his inauguration to the nation's highest office.
Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady all earned shout-outs from Trump. Kraft was one of many Trump donors present for a dinner at Washington, DC's Union Station, where he was singled out by the soon-to-be-president.
"In the audience we have somebody that's under no pressure whatsoever because he's got a great quarterback named Tom Brady and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft," Trump said. "Good luck, Bob.
"Your friend Tom Brady just called. He feels good. He called to congratulate us. He feels good. Good luck. You're going to do great."
Trump gave one extra nod to Belichick, who he says taught him to out-work his competition.
"I out-worked everybody," Trump said. "I think I out-worked anyone who ever ran for office. I learned that from Belichick."
FOXBORO -- The Patriots have signed free-agent tight end Rob Housler to a future contract. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound target last played for the Bears but was released at the end of training camp.
Housler won't be eligible to participate with the Patriots during the postseason, but he will be available for the offseason program and training camp leading up to the 2017 campaign.
Housler taken in the third round by the Cardinals with the 69th overall selection in 2011. In 65 career games, he has 109 catches for 1,166 yards and one touchdown.
The Patriots may have been intrigued by Housler's skill set last summer when he caught one pass for 52 yards -- making two Patriots defenders miss in the process -- during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots and Bears held joint training camp practices in August that would have given Patriots coaches and scouts a closer look at everything Housler has to offer as a player.
Housler was one of the better athletes at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2011, running a 4.55-second 40-yard dash (fastest among tight ends), posting a 6.9-second three-cone drill, and recording a 37-inch vertical leap.
Bill Belichick and his staff hit big on a future-contract signing two years ago when a running back with a significant injury history was available to scoop up at the behest of then-assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi. Since then, the Patriots still have never lost with Dion Lewis in uniform.