The New England Patriots held their final practice before Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings on Friday. Here are five quick thoughts and observations from the day and the upcoming game.
1. Brady wants to keep old helmet
Tom Brady likes to maintain a certain level of comfort on the football field. He prizes receivers who do exactly what he expects on a given play, and evidently he expects the same level of consistency from his helmet as well.
Brady has long preferred the Riddell VSR-4, but due to new NFL rules designed to improve player safety, that older brand will be banned starting next season. In order to prepare for the change, Brady has tried other league-approved brands — including the Riddell Precision Fit SpeedFlex — but this past week he switched back to his old helmet.
Asked by Jim Gray on Westwood One Radio Thursday night, Brady indicated that he’d like to continue wearing his old helmet going forward and that he hopes to work out a deal with the league during the offseason that will allow him to do so into next season and beyond. Following up on those remarks during his Friday press conference, Brady explained why he prefers the old helmet to the newer, safer models.
“I don’t know, it works pretty good. I like the fit, I like the feel, the weight, it’s comfortable,” Brady said. “It’s just a good helmet.”
As for what happens if the league won’t let him continue wearing it?
“I don’t know... standoff,” Brady said with a grin after a long pause. “We’ll figure it out.”
2. Reaching outto fire victim
During Friday’s press conference, Brady was also asked about an Instagram post in which he reached out to Christian Holland, a victim of the California wildfires who lost his home and all of his possessions but saved his No. 12 Brady jersey.
“It was pretty touching,” Brady said. “I think it puts a lot of stuff in perspective in your life. You lose a game and you feel like, ‘Man, the whole world’s caving in,’ but it’s really – keeping things in perspective, you realize there’s a lot of people dealing with a lot of things that are very tough. And just to be able to provide support, I think for us as athletes, is pretty cool and important in what we do.”
Brady said they’ve been able to get ahold of Holland and that he plans to send him something soon.
3. Healing up
The Patriots got good news on the injury front Friday, as Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Nate Ebner were all removed from the injury report and will be good to go for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Tight end Dwayne Allen will be the lone absence on Sunday due to his knee injury, and while defensive end Trey Flowers missed Friday’s practice, it was revealed later that his absence was non-injury related and he should play on Sunday.
For the Minnesota Vikings, wide receiver Stefon Diggs returned to practice after missing Wednesday and Thursday and is officially questionable for Sunday. Wide receiver Chad Beebe (hamstring) and tight end David Morgan (knee) have been ruled out.
4. Patterson opens up
Patriots wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson doesn’t talk to the media often, but he was in rare form on Friday, opening up about playing his former team and his relationships with his current and former teammates.
Among his remarks, Patterson said he remains tight with Vikings receiver Adam Thielen, who was an undrafted free agent with the Vikings and a teammate and frequent roommate of Patterson’s for four years. “He’s a great guy. I love that guy to death, man,” Patterson said. “Every day, if we’re not talking, we make sure we stay in communication through social media or something.”
Another subject that came up was his relationship with Josh Gordon, whose locker sits right next to his. Patterson said they’ve become close as well, though he bagged on Gordon’s ‘Flash’ nickname
“Josh ain’t faster than me, so I give him The Reverse Flash. He thinks he’s faster than me, but he ain’t,” Patterson said, “So, it’s no competing for it. He’s The Reverse Flash.”
One other interesting revelation, Brady’s nickname for Patterson is apparently ‘The Experiment.’ Why? “Because he can do it all.”
5. Cleats for a cause
This weekend numerous Patriots players will be sporting special customized cleats created as part of the ‘My Cause My Cleats’ campaign, in which the players will have a chance to honor a non-profit of their choice and then auction off the cleats to help benefit their causes.
Among the causes being represented, rookie cornerback Keion Crossen will be wearing cleats in honor of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in honor of his father, who has diabetes. Running back Rex Burkhead will sport cleats honoring Jack Hoffman, a young boy battling brain cancer, and safety Duron Harmon’s cleats will aim to increase autism awareness in honor of his nephew.
Mac Cerullo covers the New England Patriots for The Daily News and CNHI Sports Boston. He can be reached by email at email@example.com. Follow Mac on Twitter at @MacCerullo.