By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
FOXBORO In remembrance of the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., the New England Patriots recognized the somber moment in American history prior to Thursday's preseason game against the New York Giants.
The Pats hosted former guard Joe Andruzzi, his three New York City firefighter brothers and his father, a former New York City police officer.
They served as honorary game captains and participated in the pre-game coin toss.
In addition to their participation, all five branches of the military - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard - presented separate color guards for the national anthem while police officers and firefighters also took part in the pre-game ceremonies.
A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.
CHARLOTTE - Tom Brady didn't merely fly to Carolina because he likes having his ears pop.
The Patriots quarterback will indeed play Friday night against the Carolina Panthers. Given Bill Belichick's stated objective of making Jimmy Garoppolo's preparation for the season's first four games a priority, it was uncertain whether Brady would be on the field even though he traveled. But with Brady a late scratch last Thursday against the Bears after gouging his thumb just before kickoff, his chances for game reps before his exile were waning.
Brady made it very clear this week that he doesn't just want the game reps for tuning up and getting knocked around but because he believes it's his job and responsibility to be out there leading the team, regardless of where he'll be the first four weeks of the year. With him feeling that strongly about playing being important for his preparation and for his standing within the team, it makes sense for Belichick to give him reps.
It's not known whether Brady or Garoppolo will start or how many series either quarterback will play Friday night.
Alan Branch has been reinstated by the Patriots after the team suspended him prior to last week's preseason game with the Bears, according to Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran.
When Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about Branch's absence last week, he replied, "It's a club matter."
What got Branch suspended by the team is still unknown, but he is expected to be a contributing player on the interior of the Patriots defensive line in 2016. He started in 17 games last season, including both playoff games, often lining up alongside fellow defensive tackle Malcom Brown.
Through training camp the Patriots have also used Terrance Knighton, Vincent Valentine, Anthony Johnson and Joe Vellano on the interior of their defensive front. Branch, however, has consistently been used with the team's first defensive grouping. It's unclear how a week away from the team might impact his spot on the depth chart.
Field Yates of ESPN was the first to report the news that Branch had been reinstated.
Tom Brady traveled with the Patriots to Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, ahead of the third preseason game Friday night against the Carolina Panthers.
Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald was first to report the news.
There’s no word on if Brady will play. He missed the opener against the Saints and, after cutting his thumb with scissors, missed the second exhibition game last Thursday against the Bears, both at Gillette Stadium.
Brady, of course, will miss the first four games of the regular season serving his NFL-imposed Deflategate suspension.