BOSTON (CBS) – With all that is going on down in Miami with the Dolphins’ current locker room controversy, the New England Patriots say there is nothing to worry about at Gillette Stadium.
“We’ve got a great locker room. We’ve got a lot of great guys. Everyone is just trying to do the best they can for the team. We take Coach [Bill] Belichick’s cue and try to go from there,” quarterback Tom Brady said on Tuesday as the team hits their bye week. “But everyone has a role to play and everybody’s role is important. You can’t do someone else’s job. You show up every day trying to figure out what you can do to help the team win. That’s the most important thing for anybody in our locker room.”
Fellow team captain Logan Mankins agrees that it all starts with head coach Bill Belichick.
“I think it always starts at the top; when the guy at the top lets you know it’s a business and we’re here to work and everything like that,” he said. “We have tons of time in there where we’re doing a lot of joking around, messing around. We have a lot of fun with each other, too, but I don’t think it’s ever taken too far.”
“It’s human nature not to take it too far,” added Mankins.
The Miami Dolphins suspended left guard Richie Incognito indefinitely on Monday for “conduct detrimental to the team in connection to allegations of harassment and bullying teammate Jonathan Martin.” That has since caused plenty of discussions throughout the NFL in regards to locker room conduct.
“There’s definitely a fine line,” Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater said on Tuesday. “Case-by-case, every individual is different. With one guy you may be able to push certain buttons and with another guy, maybe you can’t push those same buttons. You have to be sensitive and in-tune to who it is that you’re dealing with, what teammate it is and obviously your relationship with every guy is different.”
Slater said making sure no one goes over the line is part of the responsibilities of being a captain.
“I don’t care if you’ve been in this league 20 years or you’ve been in this league three weeks. We respect everybody here and that’s important to us,” said Slater. “We respect everybody here because we’re all here for the same reason, trying to accomplish the same goal. We’re all on the same team. Respect is a huge thing for us. I think we have a locker room with a lot of respect. I’m not saying that we don’t have our fun, because there’s a time and a place for that but we always do it within the boundaries of respect.
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“I think in a general sense, when things happen on other teams, whatever it may be, there are lessons to be learned there. I think sometimes it’s better to learn from someone else’s experience than making that mistake yourself,” said Slater. “I cannot comment on what’s going on down there, don’t know anything about that locker room. All we can do is focus on the guys here and continue the tradition of respect and brotherhood that we’ve had around here since I’ve been here and before I got here and just worry about us. That’s all we can do.”
Belichick was asked if the situation in Miami makes him appreaciate the leaders in his locker room even more.
“I definitely appreciate our players. They work hard, they put the team first. They’ve done what we’ve asked them to do all year,” said the New England coach. “We’ve been demanding but they’ve been responsive. I have a lot of appreciation for our players, no question.”
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