Brady practices again; Hoyer ready just in case

191543.jpg

Brady practices again; Hoyer ready just in case

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady practiced for the second straight day on Friday after missing Wednesday's practice because of a foot injury.

As for what foot it is, Patriots coach Bill Belichick joked on Friday that it was Brady's "throwing foot."

Belichick said he would further evaluate Brady's injury after Friday's practice, before he makes a decision on the quarterback's status for Sunday night's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But Brady being at practice on Friday should be a sign that he'll be ready to play.

"We'll see how it goes today, and list him accordingly this afternoon," said Belichick prior to Friday's practice at Gillette Stadium. "We'll do the same thing we always do. We'll practice, go through the week, and list his participation in practice based on what it is, and list his status for the game just like we do everybody else's, based on what we think it is, after we get through the whole week, after we get through Friday's practice."

After practice, wide receiver Wes Welker said that he wasn't concerned about Brady's status.

"He seems like he's always got something, and he always shows up on Sundays," said Welker. "So, I'm not worried about that."

In the remote case that Brady does miss Sunday's game, Brian Hoyer would be New England's starting quarterback. Belichick had plenty of praise for Hoyer on Friday.

"I think Brian has been consistent, like he's been all year," said Belichick. "He gets opportunities every week, and maybe a few more this week. He's a very dependable guy who works hard and knows the game plan.

"He's about like he always is, a well-prepared, consistent, focused kid."

Safety Jarrad Page and defensive lineman Myron Pryor were the only two Patriots players missing from practice on Friday.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comdannypicard

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

patriots_rob_gronkowski_injury_112716.jpg

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

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. 

Gronkowski doesn't think Goodell can visit Gillette: 'The fans are nuts'

Gronkowski doesn't think Goodell can visit Gillette: 'The fans are nuts'

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.