BOSTON (CBS) — In addition to preparing for a truly unique football season, the New England Patriots have had some difficult conversations over the last few days. As players throughout the NFL and the other major sports leagues have tried to process the shooting of Jacob Blake, sports have taken a backseat, with most games postponed over the last two days.
The discussions have been ongoing in the New England locker room, and on Thursday, we saw the impact that the shooting has had on Devin and Jason McCourty, as both shared some somber thoughts on the incident. Both are active in their communities, as are most players on the team, and they’re all looking for ways to make a positive impact on the country in light of the shooting.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick would not go into what has been discussed in Foxboro, but he did say that he has learned a lot from his players over the days and months. Belichick also expressed great pride in his players, as he remains in awe of how they use their platform for the greater good.
“I’ll keep the things that happen within the team privately within the team. That’s kind of the forum we had, so I’ll maintain the integrity of that. I’ve learned a lot and continue to learn a lot,” the head coach said on his Friday morning video chat with reporters. “We have an incredible group of players and I’m so proud of this team and the players we have on it, the way that they’re involved in each other’s lives as teammates, the way that they raise their families and are involved in the community on a number of different levels.
“We’ve always prided ourselves in doing things right on the field and not only being a good football team but a pillar in the community,” Belichick continued. “That continues to be our goal and expectation, and I’m so proud of what our players do on all those levels.”
Players will be back on the field on Friday, and this time they’ll practice inside Gillette Stadium as they prepare for the upcoming season, which is now just over two weeks away. Friday will be the final practice of training camp, as players will have Saturday off.
“We’re kind of finishing up the week here. Players are off tomorrow, so we’re trying to continue to put things together from a team standpoint so we’re ready to play a game. This would have been our third preseason game last night, so generally that’s the point when things are starting to come together from an operational standpoint,” said Belichick. “We hit some of that yesterday and will again today and next week before we turn to regular season preparation.
“We’re making progress and moving ahead. We can all see how quickly this will all pull together over the next 10 days or so,” added Belichick. “A lot of work to do but players have worked hard and we’ve had a great attitude.”
The Patriots open the regular season on Sept. 13 against the Miami Dolphins in Foxboro.
Tune in to Patriots All Access Friday night at 7 p.m. on WBZ-TV for an inside look at Patriots training camp!