A positive sign for Pats

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A positive sign for Pats

I know it's hard to focus on this Sunday's game when there's so much quality ref bashing to be had, but I figured I'd interrupt the national crisis with a bit of good news about the Pats' Week 4 opponent.

First of all, it's the Buffalo Bills. And while I know that the Bills are currently 2-1, and thus ahead of New England in the standings, let's not forget that those two wins came against the Chiefs and Browns. In the same breath, we can't forget that this will be a road game for the Pats. A road game within the division. A road game within the division that they lost last year. Obviously, it won't be easy.

But it could be a lot worse.

Especially since the Bills will likely be short their two most dynamic players.

I say "likely" because neither CJ Spiller nor Fred Jackson has been officially ruled out, but both are a long shot to play. Spiller a former first round pick who's blown up this season sprained his shoulder on Sunday against the Browns, and was initially pegged to miss 1-2 weeks. Jackson explosive in his own right hurt his knee in Week 1 and was initially expected to miss at least a month. Both will try to practice, but both will be fighting an uphill battle.

So, there's the good news.

The bad news? Well, the Bills still have a quarterback and a competent fleet of receivers.

And the Pats still have Devin McCourty.

Now, back to killing the replacement refs.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Gronkowski presented with 2016 Ron Burton Community Service Award

Gronkowski presented with 2016 Ron Burton Community Service Award

At Tuesday night’s Patriots Premiere event, tight end Rob Gronkowski was presented with the 2016 Ron Burton Community Service Award.

Gronkowski is the 14th player to have received the award that is named for the late Ron Burton. The first player the Patriots organization ever drafted, Burton was well-known for his charitable work.

“Ever since I’ve been here, following the Krafts, the whole Kraft family, from Myra Kraft, Mr. Kraft, all his sons, seeing everyone lead by example, how they give back to the community every single week was just an honor to see,” said Gronkowski, “I just wanted to be a part of it and give back to the community in a positive way.”

Those who have received the award in the past include Nate Solder (2015), Devin McCourty (2014), Matthew Slater (2013), Zoltan Mesko (2012), Jerod Mayo (2011), Vince Wilfork (2010), Kevin Faulk (2009), Larry Izzo (2008), Ty Warren (2007), Jarvis Green (2006), Matt Light (2005), Troy Brown (2004) and Joe Andruzzi (2003).

"Rob is just as fun to watch at a community event as he is on the game field," said Kraft. "Giving back to the community is a big part of being ‘Gronk.' He is engaging with fans of all ages. His gregarious personality makes him one of our greatest ambassadors, especially when spreading cheer to children at local hospitals or schools. We love the devotion and enthusiasm that he shows in the community and are proud to present him with this year's Ron Burton Community Service Award."

Gronk, never shy about cracking a joke, entertained the crowd like only he can.

“Who would have ever thought five years ago when I was on ESPN every weekend drunk that I’d be accepting this award?”

Ordway: Garoppolo has to play in game 4 of the preseason vs. Giants

Ordway: Garoppolo has to play in game 4 of the preseason vs. Giants

Glenn Ordway sits in with Bob Neumeier and Gary Tanguay on the Arbella Insurance Early Edition to chat about Brady's suspension terms, and Brady, Garoppolo and Brissett playing in the final pre-season game.