Some Monday morning shares to start your day:
Gronk played with a heavy heart on Sunday against the Titans, dedicating the game to his close friend Dana Parenteau who died suddenly on Friday at the age of 43. Dana was an omnipresent fixture within the Gronkowski clan.
“My good friend [Dana Parenteau] loved the game of football, [he] loved being at all my games, always had my back,” Gronkowski said after the Patriots win over the Titans. “I definitely dedicate that touchdown to him. I pointed up. I know he was up there watching. [I] just definitely made that score for him and I know he was going crazy knowing that it was dedicated to him.
“I know he would want me to go out there and whoop some booty, which we did as a team. He’s pumping me up before the games and loves seeing me go out there and ball. That’s what we did today and I know he’s up there and he’s proud.”
Tom Brady spoke about Gronk’s efforts under the trying circumstances. “He played tough all day. It was great to get him in the end zone there early and get ahead,” Brady said. “We talked about playing this game from ahead, playing on our terms, and that was a big play. It was single coverage and [he] got good outside leverage. I just tried to put it on him. He’s been through a lot this week. I’m sure he’s happy to get the win like we all are.”
According to the Herald’s Steve Buckley, Gronk plans to bring his first quarter touchdown ball to Parenteau’s funeral this week. “I’m going to sign it and I’m going to give it to him on his funeral day,” Gronkowski said.
If it’s not Donald Trump tarnishing Tom Brady’s legacy, it’s the sketchy business practices of Brady’s trainer Alex Guerrero that continues to make news. First Boston Magazine published an update to their ongoing Guerrero investigation last week, showing that he was investigated by Massachusetts agencies along with Brady’s TB12 Sports Therapy Center.
Then over the weekend, a report by the venerable Bob Hohler in the Boston Globe revealed that the Patriots medical and training staffs complained to coach Bill Belichick about Guerrero’s alternative health practices and questionable background.
“A source with direct knowledge of one such complaint recalled Belichick’s response: Tom wants him. What am I supposed to do?”
The big question on the table is if the Patriots partnership with TB12 Centers is just a way to pay the star quarterback a side-deal benefit without taking a salary cap hit.
Speaking of Brady’s golfing buddy, the Washington Post chimed in Monday with the headline: Make athletes accountable again: Questioning Brady on Trump is right. New York Magazine has also gotten in on the Brady-Guerrero action.
ESPN reports that Odell Beckham Jr. is set to suspended for his meltdown in Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers. Gary Myers of the New York Daily News blames Giants coach Tom Coughlin for enabling the bad behavior:
“Referee Terry McAulay should have thrown Beckham out of the game in the third quarter after an intentional helmet-to-helmet hit on Norman. What does a player need to do to get ejected? At the very least, Coughlin should have sat Beckham down for a series in the first half when it was clear Norman had taken him out of his game.
“But Coughlin was so desperate to win, he refused to teach his immature star even a brief lesson. Beckham faces big fines from the league and possibly a suspension. The Giants? They’re a dreadful 6-8.”
Joey Iosefa can’t do it all. The backfield-thin Patriots have signed veteran running back Steven Jackson to a one-year deal according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
Jackson, 32, met with the Patriots on Wednesday and worked out with the team the following day, sources told ESPN last week. He has not played in the NFL since being released by the Atlanta Falcons in February.
A three-time Pro Bowler, Jackson has rushed for 11,388 yards in parts of 11 seasons with the Falcons and the St. Louis Rams.
I’m back. pic.twitter.com/rjd0JDXgPi
— Steven Jackson (@sj39) December 21, 2015
ESPNBoston’s Mike Reiss says the Jackson-Patriots marriage is one that suites both sides: “The Patriots needed a reliable power runner to play the brand of playoff football they sometimes adopt when the weather gets cold and elements can become more of a factor, and the risk is low to see if Jackson can help fill that void. And Jackson has craved the chance to play in a Super Bowl after having only made the playoffs once in his career (2004).”
As you might expect, Tom Brady told WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show on Monday that was unaware of the NFL’s PSI check of the footballs used in Sunday’s game against the Titans. “No, I wasn’t aware of that. I know they said they were doing some different protocols this season. They don’t really make us aware of that. … I’m not sure [if the balls were tested in a previous game this season]. This is the first time I’ve heard of it. But like I said, they had mentioned that they were going to do some different protocols. Whatever they choose to do, that’s what they choose to do.”
The NFL is expected to respond today to Tom Brady’s response to the NFL’s appeal of the federal court ruling that wiped out the Patriots quarterback’s four-game suspension in September. Last week, New York law professor Robert Blecker filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. “Naturally, the NFL summarily characterizes its own investigation as full and fair, emphasizing a Commissioner’s unfettered discretion to define and punish conduct detrimental to the integrity of the sport,” Blecker wrote. “However from the start, the NFL’s investigation, adjudication, and punishment of Tom Brady for actively participating in a scheme to illegally tamper with ball pressure has been infected with bias, unfairness, evident partiality and occasional fraud.” A three-judge panel will hear oral arguments in March on the NFL’s appeal of the decision issued by Judge Richard Berman before issuing a decision weeks or months afterward.
Can’t wait to see first photos of the supposedly slimmed-down Pablo Sandoval this spring. Peter Gammons reports that “Sandoval’s two-a-day workouts in the Dominican and his new diet chef will result in a return to his 2014 form.”
KG says it’s Boston all the way. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Wolves veteran and former Celtics champion and Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett said Boston fans are simply the best. “‘Everytime I go to Boston I’ll have that sentimental feeling,’ Garnett said. ‘But, all in all, all good. That’s what you want. All good.’ “Garnett was asked one more question. Which city had the better fans, New York or Boston? “‘Bostonians all day,’ Garnett said. ‘And they know that.'”
Did Dave Dombrowski do enough to get the Red Sox back in contention next season? ESPN’s Buster Olney asks the all-important question: “Boston signed Price to a record-setting $217 million contract and reconstructed its bullpen with the additions of Craig Kimbrel and Carson Smith, building onto a developing group of young position players who performed much better at the end of 2015 — Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Eduardo Rodriguez. “Will that be enough, in a division with the defending-champion Blue Jays, who might have the best lineup in baseball, or the Yankees, who are getting younger but also have major concerns with rotation depth?”
Should Patriots Nation fear Pittsburgh’s offense and Kansas City’s defense the most in the postseason? Peter King writes in TheMMQB: “Pittsburgh’s three-headed wideout monster (Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton) caught 32 passes in the win over Denver. How often have the fifth and sixth seeds in a conference playoff been the biggest threats to No. 1? This could be that year, with Kansas City and Pittsburgh the kryptonite to New England.”
Here comes the rink. The red-hot Boston Bruins report on the progress of the outdoor rink being built at Gillette Stadium in preparation of the New Year’s day showdown with the Montreal Canadiens.
OK, folks. I have to apologize… It’s all about Steve Harvey today.