Quick hits from Belichick on Day 3 of mini-camp


Quick hits from Belichick on Day 3 of mini-camp

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick shared a few thoughts before saying goodbye to the media (happily) for the summer. Joke was on us; he ended up canceling mini-camp's Day 3 session just an hour later.

Mini-camp is just over a month away, but the players won't get to take their playbooks home and study in the meantime. But there is a reason why.

"We'll make some revisions to it based on some of the things that happen over the week, weeks -- make some modifications to it. The way the playbook's set up, we make some modifications to it every year based on the installation schedule."

Did Belichick really fax Saints interim coach Joe Vitt about joint practice? Yes. Once you get beyond the faxing-as-primary-mode-of-communication part, it's easy to hold interest in the idea. The teams meet in a preseason game on August 9, but just imagine the kind of media response a practice prior to that date would have. Unfortunately, the logistics might be too complicated. The Saints play in the Hall of Fame game on August 5, so fitting a practice somewhere in between would be tough. Still . . .

"It's a possibility. Right now we're really just trying got focus on getting through this mini-camp here." Belichick added they could practice against a different team.

The coach confirmed injured tight end Jake Ballard did make it to Gillette on Wednesday.

"He was here yesterday afternoon. I talked to him and we'll move along with his rehab. We'll see how that goes. He seems to be doing relatively well for where he's at when he had the surgery. "

How about that AFC Championship bling?!

"Bittersweet," Belichick said of the recently received rings. "Whatever it was last year, it was. So it's time to move on." Okay, then.

Of the guys digging in for receiver competition this offseason, you probably don't have Britt Davis high on your watch list. But keep him in mind. The first-year player -- at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds -- has caught the attention of reporters during mini-camp and Belichick said the study is warranted.

"He's been an interesting guy to work with. One of our bigger receivers. He has good size. He's had some experience in our system through former Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels, some familiarity. I think he's adapted well and put himself a good position for training camp."

Even if the Patriots wanted to bring back free agent defensive end Andre Carter, there's currently one issue . . .

"Um . . . We'll see. There isn't a spot now," Belichick said. "Somebody would have to move off." Good point.

We were reminded again of how much higher the stakes are during training camp. Belichick said the players, now left to their own devices, will be counted on to get in shape for the late July practices.

"I think overall these guys are in pretty good shape, but I don't think they're in training camp shape -- real football shape. That will come over the next few weeks -- getting back to their offseason training -- lifting and conditioning and doing things that really get them prepared for the football season from a conditioning standpoint.

ESPN’s Mortensen: Deflategate coverage led to death threats


ESPN’s Mortensen: Deflategate coverage led to death threats

In an expansive profile on The Ringer.com, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen says he and his wife were subjected to death threats because of Mortensen’s Deflategate coverage.

After the Patriots’ AFC Championship Game victory in January 2015, Mortensen tweeted information he said he received from a source that has long since been proven incorrect. The info - that 11 of 12 Patriots footballs in the game were underinflated by 2 pounds - remained uncorrected on Twitter and in an ESPN.com story for more than six months.  

The controversy over Mortensen’s reporting drew the ire of Patriots fans, many of whom blamed the tweet and his story for fanning the flames of what eventually led to a four-game suspension for Tom Brady and a $1 million fine and loss of draft picks for the Patriots. 

Mortensen, who has subsequently undergone treatment for cancer, told The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis that the threats led him to tell his wife Micki that he didn’t want her traveling with him from their home in Arkansas to Bristol, Connecticut when he did studio work for ESPN. 

“What bothered me is we’re in an era where if your wife goes onto social media, she basically reads that they want you to die,” Mortensen said. “Even after I got cancer, I got some death wishes.”

More from the Ringer story:

“My job is to protect her,” he said. When Mort himself came to Bristol, he behaved like someone who was living under a public threat. He went straight from the ESPN studio to his home, avoiding restaurants and rarely appearing in public.

Mortensen said after his initial tweet, a second source, with whom he had a better relationship, told him to used a broader description of the footballs, i.e. call them “significantly underinflated.”  Mortensen now acknowledges that information should have given him pause.

“That should have raised the journalist in me to a higher level,” he told the Ringer. “I’ve got to ask some more questions here. What are we talking about, 2 pounds under? But, no, I got to get on TV.”

Thursday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/report: Edelman still limited


Thursday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/report: Edelman still limited

FOXBORO -- Even though Dion Lewis returned to practice on Thursday, there were no changes to the Patriots injury report.

Because Lewis remains on the physically unable to perform list, he does not count against the active roster, and the team is not required to list his participation level following practices. The Patriots have three weeks to activate Lewis, and whenever they do, he'll be eligible to show up on the participation report.

There were no changes to New England's injury report, meaning that tight end Martellus Bennett, receiver Julian Edelman and linebacker Jamie Collins all continue to be limited. Edelman has been limited with a foot injury since before his team's Week 6 matchup with the Browns. Despite just nine catches for 65 yards in Tom Brady's first two games back from suspension, Edelman bounced back against the Steelers and reeled in nine passes for 60 yards.

The Bills continue to be hampered by a variety of ailments. Linebacker Zach Brown, who almost single-handedly ruined Patriots plans back in Week 4, missed Thursday's workout with an illness, as did guard Richie Incognito. Running back LeSean McCoy missed practice for the second straight day with a hamstring injury, and receiver Marquis Goodwin was out with a concussion. 

Here's Thursday's full practice participation/injury report for the Patriots and Bills:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


LB Zach Brown (illness)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
G Richie Incognito (illness)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)

T Seantreal Henderson (back)

LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)