Meriweather mystified by speculation he'll be cut

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Meriweather mystified by speculation he'll be cut

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran

FOXBORO The 2011 preseason AKA the Brandon Meriweather Cut Watch concluded Thursday night. And it ended with the former first-round safety running around the field in the fourth quarter of the final fake game. This, like so many other minor personnel moves during training camp, was immediately read as a bad sign for the Big Bang Clock.

Meriweathers job security and Hurricane Irene are running neck-and-neck as the No. 1 news stories for August (we hyperbolize). A safety comes in for a workout? Meriweathers meat. Two safeties? Definitely meat. A safety gets signed? Meriweathers screwed. James Sanders is on the field instead of Meriweather? Bye-bye Brandon. So what exactly did Meriweather make of being on the field during garbage time? Is it a sign that hes headed down the depth chart? I wouldnt say that, Meriweather told me after the Patriots' 18-17 loss to the Giants. Coaches want to see me play and the other guys play too. I wouldnt say its because Im going downhill or anything like that, its when Coach Belichick wanted to play me.Its more than plausible. The Patriots are trying to enmesh players who havent been on the field much Josh Barrett and Sergio Brown. Those two spent most of the first half on the field next to Patrick Chung showing what theyre capable of. Bill Belichick and his staff know what Meriweather can do. But at the same time, that could be a bad thing. Even though Meriweathers gone to the last two Pro Bowls, his shortcomings have been highlighted. Missed tackles and coverages. The fineable hit on Todd Heap. Being removed from the starting lineup for a few games last season. And an offseason incident in Florida in which shots were fired and Meriweathers name was bandied about before he was completely cleared of being anything other than a peacemaker. His body of work here is not viewed in a positive light. I told him people in the media believe his roster spot is in trouble. Why everybody feel like Im in trouble? he asked. Hey, maybe they know something we dont. Maybe they know something that Belichick didnt tell us. He usually comes and tell us if theres something going on. Hes good with stuff like that so, you know, Im just going to keep working hard and keep playing.Ive not been a card-carrying member of the Meriweather Fan Club. But I do think the cut watch has been overblown. The story is self-propelled at this point. Hes at virtually every practice and takes almost every rep. Hes athletic enough to be a first-round pick who probably would have gone higher were it not for stupidity at the U (and who among them . . . ? ). Hes a Pro Bowler in name alone. But he isnt a stiff by any stretch. I asked him if hes aware how much heat hes taking. I dont even read the newspaper, he insisted. I try to stay from all blogs and stuff like that. Ever since I was little, its always hard for me to get something good going about myself. Ever since I was 10 years old people been finding fault with me. Im used to it.Cutdowns come Saturday so well know soon enough whether all the harbingers of doom were really that. If Meriweather is released, he wont be the only one surprised. I havent heard that and I dont feel that way either, said Patrick Chung when asked about Meriweather. You gotta ask Coach (where he stands) but yes. Yes. Hes a good player. The other stuff, thats for Coach to answer or Brandon to answer. But is he a good player? Yes, hes a good player.On Meriweathers black t-shirt Thursday night was a yellow smiley face. The smiley face had two white, gloved hands. Each hand had its middle finger extended. Meriweathers last words before leaving the locker room, Someone told me a while back: If youre in any entertainment business, the last people you need to listen to is the media.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Gronkowski, Hightower, Amendola present at Patriots practice Wednesday

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Gronkowski, Hightower, Amendola present at Patriots practice Wednesday

FOXBORO -- The Patriots had their All-Pro tight end back on the field for practice after he suffered an injury scare against the Saints in Week 2.

Rob Gronkowski (groin) joined other injured Patriots on the fields behind Gillette Stadium for Wednesday's workout, including Danny Amendola (missed the Saints game with a concussion and a knee injury), Dont'a Hightower (knee) and Matthew Slater (hamstring). Phillip Dorsett (left Sunday's game with a knee injury) was also present for practice, as was Chris Hogan, who appeared to be dealing with a leg injury versus the Saints.

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Missing from the practice were Marcus Cannon and Rex Burkhead. Cannon was limited in practice last week with an ankle issue, and Burkhead suffered a ribs injury in New Orleans. 

Gronkowski appeared to be moving well during the early portion of the practice. He took part in blocking drills with fellow tight end Dwayne Allen to start the practice and did not appear to be inhibited by the groin injury that knocked him from Sunday's win. The Patriots will release a practice report later in the day on Wednesday that indicates whether Gronkowski was at all limited. 

Watt: Brady, Belichick hurricane relief donation 'speaks volumes about their character'

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Watt: Brady, Belichick hurricane relief donation 'speaks volumes about their character'

JJ Watt ended up raising over $37 million for his Hurricane Harvey relief fund online. As it turns out, that number got a bump from a couple of his rivals in the AFC.

According to The Houston Chronicle, Watt told reporters on Wednesday that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were among the over 209,000 people who donated to his fundraising efforts.

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"That's  an incredibly kind gesture and shows what kind of people they are and speaks volumes about their character," Watt said. "They're good people."

Watt will square off against Brady and Belichick when the Texans visit Gillette Stadium on Sunday. Belichick said on Wednesday that his team will have to focus on Watt, who was injured and unavailable during last season's Divisional Round matchup between the two clubs. 

"The quickness that J.J. has with the power that he has is a pretty rare combination," Belichick said. "On top of that, he’s got great length and he’s got a great motor. You're not talking about a 6-foot-1 guy. You’re not talking about a guy that takes plays off. You’ve got to deal with his length, his power, his quickness on every single play. That in itself is difficult. He just wears guys down with effort and toughness.

"Then when you take the skill that he has and combine it all together, that puts him at a very – I mean you're talking about the best defensive player in the league for more than one year. He's got a lot going for him and he’s facing it every week. It’s not like he’s sneaking up on anybody. You know when you’re playing him that he’s going to get some extra attention. Every team knows where he is and every team is trying to make sure he doesn’t ruin the game, yet he’s still very, very disruptive. He’s a great player."