March 19, 2018
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Patriots’ Brady downplays knee injury

By The Sports Xchange, Special to the BDN

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spoke publicly about his knee injury for the first time Monday, saying it was not a big deal.

Brady’s left knee was hurt during practice last Wednesday, but returned to practice Thursday and played Friday’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The 36-year-old told Boston radio station 93.7 WEEI on Monday that he “felt bad it caused more of a media story than it actually was,” according to

Brady said the injury was never considered serious but decided to leave practice after meeting with coach Bill Belichick and members of the medical staff

“We were just trying to be smart,” Brady said.

The Patriots and Buccaneers held joint practices last week. Brady was injured when Bucs defensive end Adrian Clayborn accidentally pushed Patriots left tackle Nate Solder into Brady after he threw a pass during a scrimmage.

He said the injury drew more attention than it deserved because it happened during a public practice. A video of the play went viral after a fan captured it from the end-zone bleachers.

“There were a lot of people at practice that were witnessing,” Brady said. “If that was a Wednesday or Thursday practice during the regular season, you’d probably never hear about it.

“But it’s obviously the nature of Twitter and all that social-media stuff. But it happens on the practice field, it happens on the game field, you see so many injuries that have happened over the course of the preseason.”

Brady wore a knee brace during practice Thursday.

Friday, Brady completed 11 of 12 passes with an interception in the Patriots’ 25-21 victory over the Bucs.

Some may have wondered why Brady was even playing in a preseason game and risking injury, but he said it was important to play to prepare for the season.

“There’s risk of injury in practice, there’s risk of injury driving down to the stadium in the morning,” he said. “It’s your only game prep. I haven’t taken a hit in eight months. It’s just hard to say, ‘Let’s just see what we have against Buffalo.’ You’ve got to put it in, you’ve got to see where you’re at in terms of game speeds, in terms of reads. Things are different in a game.”

The Patriots open the regular season Sept. 8 at the Buffalo Bills. Their next preseason game is Thursday at the Detroit Lions.

Gronkowski not expected back by season opener

Injured New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is not expected to be healthy enough to return when the team opens the season against the Buffalo Bills, ESPN reported Monday.

Gronkowski had offseason back and forearm surgery and was hoping to make it in time for the first game of the season. That is not likely to happen, according to the report.

“It’s a huge stretch to think he could play against the Bills,” a source told ESPN.

However, another source said that Gronkowski “looks great, is doing great.” The tight end has been running and lifting weights at the team’s training facility.

One option the Patriots may explore is placing Gronkowski on the physically-unable-to-perform list, which would keep him out at least the first six weeks of the season. It would also allow the team to keep an extra player on the roster while he is Gronkowski is out. That could include hanging on to third-string quarterback Tim Tebow, who is otherwise iffy to make the team.

Dolphins’ Keller lost for season

Miami Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller will miss the 2013 season with a right knee injury suffered against the Houston Texans on Saturday night, according to multiple reports.

Keller grabbed his right knee after a tackle by D.J. Swearinger on an incomplete pass. He suffered a torn ACL, MCL, PCL and dislocated the kneecap. reported that the injury could be career-threatening.

Swearinger, a Texans rookie safety, contends that the tackle in the lower-body region was at least partly attributable to the league’s rules that penalize hits to the head area.

“I was making a hit playing football,” Swearinger said, according to the Palm Beach Post. “In this league, you’ve got to go low or you get a fine.”

Keller was signed as a free agent over the offseason after five seasons with the New York Jets.

Jets LB breaks ankle

New York Jets outside linebacker Quinton Coples is expected to miss the first two games of the regular season with a hairline fracture in his right ankle suffered Saturday night.

The injury will not require surgery and Coples is expected to miss a total of 3-4 weeks, according to

Coples has been making the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker, and Antwan Barnes is expected to fill the roles until Coples returns.

Richardson named Rams’ starting RB

St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher did what was expected on Monday when he announced that Daryl Richardson would be the team’s starting running back for the regular-season opener against the Arizona Cardinals.

Richardson had been in competition with Isaiah Pead, Zac Stacy, and Benny Cunningham.

Richardson, a second-year player, rushed for 475 yards for the Rams last year in 16 games, although he did have any starts.

Pead played with the first-team offense in Saturday’s preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. But he had just 19 yards in 11 carries in that game.

Pead has been suspended for the regular-season opener for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

Bills’ Manuel sidelined

Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel underwent a procedure on his left knee, but head coach Doug Marrone is still hoping to have the rookie back in time for the regular season.

Marrone said Manuel is expected to be “day to day” following the preseason.

Kevin Kolb will start the Bills’ next preseason game against the host Washington Redskins on Aug. 24.

The Bills also announced they have released defensive backs Don Unamba and Mark LeGree, offensive tackle Tony Hills and wide receiver Terrell Sinkfield.

Bears sign Edwards

The Chicago Bears signed quarterback Trent Edwards to a contract a day after adding quarterback Jordan Palmer to the roster, the team announced.

The journeyman Edwards has played in 38 career games and started 33 in six NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles.

NFL NOTEBOOK: The San Francisco 49ers ruled out any chance that Mario Manningham would be ready for the start of the regular season after placing the injured wide receiver on the physically unable to perform/reserve list, coach Jim Harbaugh announced. Manningham suffered a torn ACL and PCL in his knee during a loss to the Seattle Seahawks in December. Manningham is ineligible to return until the 49ers’ seventh game of the season. … Houston Texans running back Arian Foster continues to have soreness in his back, ruining the team’s hopes of having him back on the field for Monday’s practice. The Texans plan to re-evaluate Foster’s status on Tuesday. The Titans have only one healthy running back at the moment, Ben Tate.

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