Banta-Cain: 'It's been a fun ride' with Patriots

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Banta-Cain: 'It's been a fun ride' with Patriots

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - You knew news of Tully Banta-Cain's sports hernia surgery was not going to go over well with the Patriots. The injurywas there at the end of last season and he could have had surgery to correct it then. Instead, the outside linebacker opted to see if it improved during the lockout. It didn't. So he went under the knife last week. Now the outside linebacker drafted by the Patriots in the seventh round in 2003 suffers another cut. He will be released by the Patriots on Thursday.In a text message, Banta-Cain told me, "It was a fun ride. Countless memories of New England for life. Thanks for everything. TBC." That Banta-Cain was going to be laid low until at least September and miss virtually all of training camp after the lockout couldn't have helped his cause. Neither did the fact he carried a cap hit of more than 4.5 million and that -- when the Rule of 51 kicks in on August 4 -- he was going to be dead weight during his convalesence. Cutting Banta-Cain means the team's salary capwill still get hit with a portion of the signing bonus they gave him last March when Banta-Cain signed a four-year, 13 million deal. That figures to be about 2 million. We're still trying to figure out whether the Patriots reached an injury settlement with Banta-Cain based on the hernia that was there at the end of last season. Or is the fact Banta-Cain said it got worse during the lockout grounds for the Patriots to say it was an injury sustained while he wasn't their responsibility. The chance exists that the Patriots may try to re-sign Banta-Cain when he's healed but his brief text did have an air of finality to it. The Patriots are not well armed at outside linebacker. Jermaine Cunningham, Rob Ninkovich, Eric Moore and Marques Murrell are in the mix. Markell Carter was a sixth-round pick in April. Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Belichick: Brady-less Patriots ‘just really focused on Buffalo’

Belichick: Brady-less Patriots ‘just really focused on Buffalo’

FOXBORO -  A verrrrrryyyy long time ago, the Patriots targeted September. There were t-shirts and everything printed back in 2002 as the Patriots came off of their first Super Bowl title.

The names of that season’s first four opponents – Steelers, Jets, Chiefs and Chargers – were all listed on a bullseye.

How’d that work out? Well, they hit the bullseye for most of September, winning the first three. Then they lost four in a row and the notion of “targeting” a segment of the schedule around these parts went the way of the Dodo bird.

Which may be why, as truly remarkable as this September’s been, Bill Belichick isn’t taking any bows after three damn wins.

“We’re just really focused on Buffalo,” Belichick told me Friday morning when I asked about whether winning the first three in the face of some adversity was a point of pride. “I don’t really care about last week. I don’t really care about two weeks ago. I don’t really care about last year. I don’t really care about four years ago. I don’t really care. I think we’re just trying to get ready and compete against Buffalo. That’s our challenge this week.

“The rest of it – it’s in the books. It is what it is,” he said. “So write whatever you want to write about it. It’s good, it’s bad, I mean I don’t really care. It’s done. We’ve got to do a good job of what we have here with Buffalo. We can’t live in the past. And I respect where you’re coming from, I really do. It’s not like I’m trying to be dismissive of it, but I really don’t care. It doesn’t really matter. Nothing that happened last year, last week, last month really has anything to do with this week.”

Things change after Sunday. The best player the franchise has ever had rejoins a team that – in spite of the adversity – flourished without him. Even though the competition wasn’t what one would call “stiff” compared to challenges Brady faced as recently as last January, it’s still remarkable.

Asked about Brady’s looming return, wide receiver Julian Edelman also redirected.

“We got a game before that,” he pointed out. “When he comes back we'll obviously be happy but we got a job ahead of us with the Buffalo Bills.” 

Asked if there’s some pride taken in the beginning, Edelman replied, “It’s just having pride in your job in general. Really just focusing every week and trying to improve. I say it every week on these cameras, if you try to get better and you get better every week, you're gonna do these things. 

“It tells you that you have a mentally tough team that goes out there and works hard and prepares hard and does the extra things,” Edelman added. “I've been around here a little while and that's just the mentality we've always had and continue to have. We have a tough one against the Bills and we'll see how it tests out against these guys.”

 

 

Patriots-Bills injury report: Garoppolo, Brissett listed as questionable

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Patriots-Bills injury report: Garoppolo, Brissett listed as questionable

The inury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)

BUFFALO BILLS

OUT
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

QUESTIONABLE
DB Colt Anderson (foot)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
OL Cordy Glenn (ankle)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)