The stakes of Brady’s amazing 2016 season were amplified even more during Super Bowl week when he divulged that his mother had been battling an illness and that his father hadn’t been to a game all season.
Brady said ahead of Sunday’s magical night that he was dedicating this Super Bowl to his mother. After the victory, an emotional Brady let the season, the strife, everything all out.
It would be interesting to learn how many other NFL head coaches have done the same. Successful preparation adopts many forms, but Belichick’s methods stand out after nearly two decades worth of championship-level roster churning in New England.
Case in point: Rex Burkhead, the ex-Bengals running back who signed a one-year, $3.15 million deal with the Patriots in March. That was viewed as eye-popping cash for a back with 87 carries over four years in Cincy, but Burkhead has looked like a perfect fit for New England this summer.
As recently as Friday, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that the team had “gauged” interest in possibly trading Ealy away. Forced to cut him for nothing, the Patriots will roll on with Trey Flowers — perhaps their most promising young defender — as the team’s top end.
The Patriots acquired Ealy in March, shipping their 2017 second-round pick to the Panthers in exchange for the 25-year-old lineman and Carolina’s 2017 third-rounder. New England moved down just eight spots to grab Ealy, but he clearly never caught on, with the former Missouri star spending much of camp “working mostly with the backups and end-of-roster players,” per Reiss.
It’s almost silly to evaluate this Patriots group now because they clearly aren’t done making moves on either side of the ball. More trades and free agent signings are to come, with line Dont’a Hightower one notable big name whose status remains up in the air.
Belichick, like Cleveland’s Sashi Brown on Friday, is enjoying the flexibility that massive cap space allows. No team does a better job exploring every avenue to improve the team, something that showed up in the trade for Ealy.
The Patriots signed Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee this offseason to join a bloated backfield with Dion Lewis and James White. The moves seemed to signal an end for Blount in New England.
This week’s decision by coach Bill Belichick is a cold-blooded calculation that could weaken Blount’s market. He’ll either remain with New England on the cheap or the Pats will get compensation if he signs with another team before July 22.
LeGarrette Blount, Martellus Bennett, Devin McCourty and Chris Long did not attend the ceremony, citing political reasons for their decisions. Alan Branch and Dont’a Hightower previously cited personal reasons for their decisions not to go. Amendola also did not attend.
A total of 34 Patriots players attended the White House ceremony, the team told NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones. That compares to 36 Patriots players who went to the White House in 2004 and the 27 who attended in 2005. Roughly 50 Patriots players attended the 2015 celebration with then-president Barack Obama.