Curran: Putting the 'Patriot Way' in perspective

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Curran: Putting the 'Patriot Way' in perspective

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - A well-done preview of the 2011 Patriots was presented by Andy Benoit in the New York Times. In it, Benoit shrugs away the notion of the "Patriot Way" saying scheme and personnel are the bellwethers of success in New England, not a workmanlike, selfless approach. "Locker room chemistry and teamwork and all those convenient Disney movie elements are great, but in the end, football is about the battle that takes place on that 10053 piece of turf," writes Benoit. "And those battles often dont come down to wanting it more or overcoming adversity they come down to out-scheming and out-executing the enemy."I'm with Benoit. The notion that grown men walk into Foxboro and become lemmings incapable of independent thought because Bill Belichick is in charge ispablum. Butdismissing the fact that sometalented players often tamp down their self-interest for the Patriots is not a myth. Those that do so - and it's not been unanimous - are still in it for themselves. They all want something- theirnext contract, validation, accolades, the chance for their children to see them play in the NFL, a championship ring, the satisfaction of playing the most evolved version of professional football we've seen - requires a little professional self-denial and a lot of trust inThe Hoodie. On Tuesday, wide receiver Deion Branch - a malcontent when he left here in 2006, a smiling foot soldier now - spelled out why so-called "bad boys" keep it under wraps. "When you label somebody a bad boy, you never know what somebody's been through," Branch cautions. "Say if I'm acting up somewhere else. My reasons for acting up may be because of this or that. Coming here, you know it's all business. You come in here and do your job. You do your job, everything'll be straight. Everybody wants to win. We play this game because it's a great job, but guys want to win. I think winning satisfies everything. And that's what we're all about over here."While Belichick exerts a certain amount of Big Brother-ly authority over his playerspublic comments and talking points, he does not tend to impose great personal restrictions on veteran players. Expectations? Yes. But he lets them be adults. "It ain't nothing where guys are hard on each other around here," Branch insisted. "You're still a man, everybody respects each other but you have to come to work. Come in and do a job. They pay you."It's really not that complicated. And Belichick has figured that the old guy who's a good guy and still can play, he might like it here. A guy like Andre Carter, formerly of the Redskins. He was asked Tuesday about whether Albert Haynesworth can change his reputation in New England. "That's up to Haynesworth," Carter answered. That's the crux of it. It is up to the player here. For some, it's Eden. For others it's Parris Island. "There'sa lot of veteran guys, a lot of great leadership, you see a lot of guys up-and-coming," Carter said when asked about the mix in New England. "This is just a great organization. It's all about one team and that's something I've admired. Everybody comes here to work."I'm going to go hard until I can't go no more," Carter promised.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Deal is done: Patriots announce they've traded Stork for conditional 7th rounder

Deal is done: Patriots announce they've traded Stork for conditional 7th rounder

FOXBORO -- The Patriots didn't release third-year center Bryan Stork, though they informed him they would do so early on Wednesday. Instead, they traded him to the Washington Redskins. 

The deal was announced on Wednesday afternoon. In return for the former fourth-round pick out of Florida State, the Patriots received a conditional 2017 seventh-round pick from Washington.

Stork is reportedly mulling retirement. If he does not report to the Redskins, and the conditions of the deal are not met, the Patriots would not receive compensation.

The seventh-round pick would provide the Patriots with a seventh-rounder in 2017 that they didn't have when the day began. The team traded its original seventh-rounder to the Lions last season in exchange for tight end Michael Williams.

(The Patriots could, in theory, receive a seventh-rounder from the Lions since they received a conditional seventh in a trade for linebacker Jonathan Bostic, who was sent to Detroit in May. But because Bostic is recovering from foot surgery, the conditions of that trade may prevent the pick from ever making its way to New England.)

The Patriots informed Stork of his release early Wednesday, but before that move was processed, the Patriots and Redskins were able to work out a deal. 

Stork has had difficulty staying healthy as a pro, his emotions sometimes got the best of him on the field, and teammate David Andrews had beaten him for the starting center role with the Patriots. Still, Stork's teammate and friend Jimmy Garoppolo said it was tough to see Stork move on.

Despite the question marks that accompany Stork's arrival in Washington -- that is, if he decides to report -- the Redskins were more than willing to pay the modest price to acquire him. They are desperate for help at the center position.

Gronkowski returns to practice; Mason, Branch still missing

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Gronkowski returns to practice; Mason, Branch still missing

FOXBORO -- The Patriots had a welcome face back on the practice field on Wednesday, as tight end Rob Gronkowski returned to action after missing the team's previous five practices as he dealt with an injury. 

Gronkowski participated in the warmup period of practice and then remained with the majority of his teammates for drills. 

The last time Gronkowski was spotted on the field was last Monday, which was the first of three joint practices between the Patriots and the Bears. He pulled up after pursuing a Tom Brady pass, walked along the sideline, met with head trainer Jim Whalen, and then left practice early. He did not suit up for Thursday's game against Chicago. 

Gronkowski has not participated in a preseason game since 2012. 

Patriots not spotted at Wednesday's practice were Shaq Mason, Jonathan Cooper, Sebastian Vollmer (on the physically unable to perform list) and Dion Lewis (also on PUP). Alan Branch, who has been suspended by the team before last week's preseason game, was also missing. 

Jabaal Sheard, Rob Ninkovich, Malcolm Mitchell, Shea McClellin, Tre' Jackson (PUP) and Danny Amendola (PUP) were present for warmups but went to a lower field for conditioning. Amendola and Jackson were not in pads for the short-and-shells session. 

Jon Bon Jovi was taking in the session alongside Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft.