FOXBORO -- Seattle is always known for playing in a louder-than-usual stadium. The Patriots will find out, first-hand, just how loud CenturyLink Field is this Sunday.
And it's safe to assume that Bill Belichick is prepared to crank up the music volume during practice this week.
"I think it might be the loudest stadium that weve been in and were in a lot of loud ones," said the Patriots coach in a conference call on Tuesday. "Ill put that one right up there. Their fans are vocal, its really loud. When we were out there before, four years ago, their record was 2-10. It wasnt very good, and there was a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm, a great atmosphere for football. The crowd is totally into it."
The Seahawks are 3-2 this season, and are 2-0 at home, with wins over Dallas and Green Bay.
If Belichick will have his team prepared for anything on Sunday, it will be the crowd noise.
"They do a great job of being loud, causing false start penalties and things like that on the offense," said Belichick. "Seattle has historically played very well at home. Its a huge home-field advantage for them. Record-wise, their record at home has been among the best in the National Football League, really. Theyre right up there with the Packers in the NFC. Absolutely, that will be another big challenge for us. The long trip out there and then the environment, the hostile crowd well be facing. Yes, all that is certainly part of the whole preparation and Seattle week."
When it comes to projecting Rob Gronkowski's health, it's been best to steer clear of absolutes. There have been too many injuries, too many surgeries, to predict exactly how he'll feel months in advance.
Still, in speaking with ESPN's Cari Champion recently, he said he had "no doubt" he'll be ready for Week 1 of the 2017 regular season.
"Yes, for sure," he replied when asked if he expected to be good to go.
Gronkowski also fielded a question about his long-term future in the sit-down. Lately it's been his coach Bill Belichick and his quarterback Tom Brady who receiver all the life-after-football queries, but Gronkowski, 27, was asked how much longer he'd like to play.
"I’m not really sure," he said. "I mean, I still love playing the game, and as of right now, I want to play as long as I possibly could play. My mindset is to keep on going."
Gronkowski landed on season-ending injured reserve in December after undergoing a procedure on his back -- his third back surgery since 2009. He's had nine reported surgeries -- including procedures on his knee, forearm and ankle -- since his final year at the University of Arizona.
At this point, there may be no getting out of it.
Roger Goodell chose to visit Atlanta twice in as many weeks during its run to a Super Bowl, and in the process he opted not to check in at Gillette Stadium for either the Divisional Round or the AFC title game. But once the Patriots won Super Bowl LI, many felt as though Goodell would simply have no choice but to attend the 2017 regular-season opener in Foxboro.
There are those who are itching to have him visit. There are those who hope he stays away. In an interview with ESPN, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski didn't put himself in either camp, but he seemed to suggest that it might not be the best idea for the commissioner to show his face in New England.
"To tell you the truth, I really don’t think so," Gronkowski said when asked if Goodell could come back to Foxboro any time soon. "The fans are nuts, they’re wild, and they have the Patriots’ back no matter what. They have Tom’s back. I’m telling you, he won’t get through the highway if the fans saw him. I don’t even think he can even land in the airport in Boston because Patriot fans are the best fans, they’re the most loyal fans. I’m telling you, they might just carry out Roger themselves. They couldn’t even get to the stadium in Foxboro if he landed in Boston."
Goodell hasn't been to Gillette Stadium since Deflategate, but he said during Super Bowl week that he'd be happy to visit if he was invited.