The Patriots didn’t hold any organized team practices Wednesday, but several players and members of the organization were still keeping busy.
Owner Robert Kraft was joined by current players, Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, and cheerleaders this morning at the Roger Clap Innovation School in Dorchester to present a check for $50,000 to provide new playground equipment. The elementary school was chosen out of more than 3,700 communities as the national winner of the NFL’s Play 60 initiative to teach kids about proper exercise and nutrition.
The players tossed footballs and played hula-hoop games with the kids in the schoolyard during the two-hour visit.
“What a great treat to see all these young faces and the excitement,” said Kraft, who celebrated his 72d birthday Wednesday. “I’m so proud of the NFL, what we’re doing with this Play 60. I think we’ve done a good job nationally connecting with communities, connecting with young people.”
Among the seven players in attendance was running back Stevan Ridley, who didn’t show any signs of limping after tweaking his hamstring near the end of Tuesday’s OTA. Ridley declined to talk about his injury, and joked that coach Bill Belichick rubbed off on him, because at Wednesday’s event, “every ball we drop, we make them do five pushups.”
Also in attendance was receiver Danny Amendola, wearing his new Patriots jersey for the first time since signing with the team in March. Amendola said his work with quarterback Tom Brady has “been going really well.”
“So far so good,” he said. “It’s still early. Just trying to be the best we can be in the time we have.”
Amendola noted that he’s familiar with the offense given the one year he spent with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels when the two were in St. louis. He also said he’s excited about playing with a “legend” like Brady.
“He’s a football mind,” Amendola said. “He’s been around the game for a long time. It’s fun to learn from him and play with him and pick his brain a little bit. It’s going to be a good year.”
Also on hand for the Patriots were Chandler Jones, Niko Koutouvides, Matthew Slater, Shane Vereen, and Leon Washington. Amendola said that events like Wednesday’s help him feel a part of the Patriots family.
“This Boston community obviously does a great job supporting the team and rooting for the Patriots, and it’s good to finally be a part of it,” he said.