BOSTON (CBS) – Thanksgiving is known for all the delicious food that creates an artful masterpiece on your dinner table, but there is also that special bond the wonderful day has with football.

Hundreds of high schools take the field on Thanksgiving morning as a prelude to the afternoon feast, the professionals give us entertainment while we eat, and it’s never a bad idea to burn off some of that extra gravy by throwing the pigskin around after dinner.

Scores: 2013 Thanksgiving Day High School Scoreboard

The Patriots don’t have to play this Thanksgiving as they did last year (and were very thankful for Mark Sanchez’s “butt-fumble” en route to a 49-19 win), but still have to head into Gillette for a day’s practice as they prep for Sunday’s matchup with the Houston Texans.

But there will be plenty of time for turkey after practice. Many of the Patriots will celebrate together, like Logan Mankins has for each of his 10 years in New England.

“Since I’ve been here my family usually spends Thanksgiving with [offensive lineman Dan] Connolly’s family and other guys on the team that don’t have anywhere to go. We have the day together after we leave here,” said Mankins.

The same goes for tight end Rob Gronkowski, who says sitting around the table and enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with teammates and their families is a great way to build team chemistry.

“A lot of the guys have dinners and it’s cool to get together with them. It builds chemistry and it’s always a lot of fun. They always have great food,” he said.

Everyone has their favorite part of the Thanksgiving feast, from the turkey itself to the pies that await afterwards.

“Turkey, stuffing, gravy, the corn — the whole platter at once,” said Gronkowski.

It’s unknown if Gronk has ever celebrated a good gorge with a spike of the Turkey, but he’s smart enough to know not to waste a good bird.

For head coach Bill Belichick, it doesn’t matter if light meat or dark meat take up his plate, just as long as there is room for dessert afterwards.

“I haven’t turned down a lot of food in my Thanksgiving lifetime,” Belichick said with a smirk, no doubt picturing the feast that will await him after Thursday’s practice. “I make sure to leave room for pumpkin pie. I don’t want to fill up on everything and not be able to eat that pie.”

Mankins doesn’t care what is on his plate, just as long as it is drenched in a Thanksgiving staple.

“To eat anything with gravy on it, that’s my favorite,” he said.

Tom Brady said his favorite pie is any one with a lot of sugar and/or chocolate, and he’ll probably have his pick of circular deliciousness on Thursday after leading his team to an overtime win over the Denver Broncos. With his team sitting at 9-2 and atop the AFC standings, he’s  thankful to spend another Thanksgiving as a member of the Patriots.

Gallery: 2013 Turkeys Of Boston Sports

“It’s a great holiday; it’s great for us. We have a lot to be thankful as players on this team,” he said Wednesday. “It’ll be a fun day, and winning the game before makes everyone feel a lot better.”

But Brady was quick to point out that Thursday morning is still a work day for them, and the focus will be right back to the Texans when everything is digested come Friday morning.

“We still understand we have a job to do on Sunday, so everyone is going to enjoy the day and time with their families, and then get back to work.”


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