Brady 'desensitized' to roster cuts

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Brady 'desensitized' to roster cuts

FOXBORO --The Titans have had seven quarterbacks spin in and out since the last time they met New England. When the Patriots creamed Tennessee at home, 59-0, Kerry Collins and Vince Young split the snaps. Now, second-year QB Jake Locker is at the helm with Matt Hasselbeck, Rusty Smith, Chris Simms, and Chris Johnson, hitting the roster at points in between.
To consider the turnover, and consequently his own longevity, Tom Brady shrugged.
"There's turnover every year on our team, on every team -- coaches, players, staff, and so forth -- so I don't think about it too much. I think I learned at a young age that you worry about what you can control and certainly, playing quarterback, my attitude is what I think about on a daily basis."
There's been enough turnover in the Patriots locker room.
Last Friday, the day NFL rosters were cut to fit into that 53-man mold, Brady said three particularly significant goodbyes. Dan Koppen, starting center since 2003; Deion Branch, one of the quarterback's favorite targets; and Brian Hoyer, Brady's backup for the last three years. All three were felled in one axe-swing.
What do you do? Keep playing.
"I think in some ways you become a bit desensitized to it," Brady admitted. "Its not my decision, so I cant really think about it too much other than supporting your friends and what theyre going through. But its not like I can go in and lobby for guys; Its what decisions have been made or what coach always feels is in the best interest of the team. You just try to worry about going out there and doing your job.
"And we had practice that day, so we went out and practiced and you try to have a good practice regardless of who is out there because if you dont, you're really doing a disservice to yourself, your teammates and the franchise. You have to go out and compartmentalize things and go out there and have good practices and ultimately be prepared for the game."
Oh, and it didn't take Brady 13 seasons to realize he wasn't in charge.
"I think you realize at a young age that you really dont know what you dont know, so you see guys in the springtime that have great spring camps," he smiled. "I remember my second year, we had a receiver, Aaron Bailey, that was pretty good. I thought, Man, this guy is really good, and then we released him and I couldnt believe it. Man, we released that guy. He's the one that made all the plays.
There's a reason you don't remember Bailey. Brady knows that now.
"That's just what happens. You see a lot of players come and go and you just learn to deal with it, learn to live with it, and you understand, like, what my job is its challenging enough as it is. I dont have to worry about too many other jobs."

Butler reaction to Gilmore signing: 'We got another good player'

Butler reaction to Gilmore signing: 'We got another good player'

FOXBORO -- Thursday's OTA practice at Gillette Stadium gave reporters their first opportunity to see both Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore on the field at the same time.

Once Gilmore signed with the Patriots earlier this offseason, there was no guarantee he'd actually team up with the 27-year-old in his fourth season out of West Alabama. But Butler wasn't given an offer sheet by the Saints or anyone else, he wasn't traded, and now together they make up one of the most talented cornerback duos in the NFL. 

"Um, nothing much really," Butler replied when asked for his initial reaction to the Gilmore deal. "Nothing much really. We got a better player. We got another player. We got another good player on this team. Anything to help the team win, I'm down with."

Depite the fact that Gilmore is the one who received the big-money contract from the Patriots earlier this year, Butler had nothing but good things to say about his teammate following Thursday's workout. 

"He brings the size and the coverage skills," Butler said. "One of the best guys in the league. Very underrated. [He's] come in, head down, working hard. Just trying to build off each other no matter what."

Butler acknowledged that the corner group, which also includes Eric Rowe, Cyrus Jones and Jonathan Jones, has some work to do when it comes to their communication, but he indicated he'll be happy to chip in wherever he's needed. The Patriots could use some help in the slot following Logan Ryan's departure to Tennessee, and Butler said he'd be open to playing inside.

"Wherever they put me, I'm gonna play that role," he said. "I'm ready to play the slot if that's what it is."

Does Butler want to be with Patriots beyond 2017? 'Whatever happens, happens'

Does Butler want to be with Patriots beyond 2017? 'Whatever happens, happens'

FOXBORO -- Malcolm Butler came off of the Gillette Stadium practice field to a gaggle of reporters who had been interested in speaking to him all offseason. There had been speculation not too long ago that he'd be traded. There was speculation he might sign elsewhere as a restrcited free agent.

What he would say on those topics might prove to be informative. People were eager to hear from him. But it was what he didn't say that may have been the most interesting part of his first back-and-forth with reporters since Super Bowl LI.

In the rain, in front of a dozen or more microphones, following his team's third organized team activity practice, Butler was asked if he would like to be in New England beyond the 2017 season, the final year of his contract. 

"Can't predict the future," he said. "Whatever happens, happens."

Butler was given several opportunities to say that he'd like to stick with the Patriots for the long term, but he was non-committal. Though his presence on the roster for this season gives the Patriots a supremely talented cornerback duo, the fact that the team gave Stephon Gilmore a lucrative long-term contract this offseason makes Butler's long-term future in New England a bit hazy.

Playing for a restricted free agent tender worth $3.91 million, Butler was asked if it was difficult to separate the business side of things from his on-field performance.

"Not really," he insisted. "Just gotta come here and just play football. You gotta earn everything you want. Gotta come here, work hard each and every day. Nobody's gonna give you nothing."

He added: "Just gotta keep working. Ignore the noise, and just keep working. No matter what. You got a job to do no matter where you're at. Glad to be here to do this job."

Butler received significant interest from the Saints during the offseason, and he made a trip to New Orleans to visit the organization's facilities there. Unwilling to provide Butler with a big-money contract offer and turn over their first-round pick to the Patriots, the Saints decided to cease in their pursuit of the 27-year-old Super Bowl XLIX hero. 

Butler said he didn't wasn't always sure he was going to be in New England for 2017.

"You never know what's gonna happen, I was just sitting back patiently waiting," he explained. "Just doing what I can do, control only what I can control. I'm here now and that's what it is."

That Butler has been at Patriots workouts and OTA practices since signing his tender is an indication that he's ready to throw himself into the upcoming season with his sights set on performing as well as possible in order to put himself in the best position possible when he's scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency at the end of the year. 

"Wasn't gonna hurt nobody but myself if I missed this," he admitted. "This is extra time to get better, and that's what I'm out here to do. To get better and have another great year. Anything to help the team. Present a positive image."