When it comes to the Patriot Way, Bill Belichick sets the tone. That was no different at Gillette Stadium Thursday night when the hot topic of the day – Tom Brady’s vacated suspension – was put on ice by Belichick and the players who were pressed by the media to comment on the news.
Belichick didn’t exactly open up when asked if he was relieved that he no longer had the uncertainty of which quarterback would start the season opener against the Steelers next week.
“I’ll just talk about the game,’’ Belichick said. “Any questions about the game.’’
And that concluded the Brady line of questioning for the rest of the Belichick’s presser.
It wasn’t much different in the locker room, where the players know the drill when it comes to being asked about off-field issues.
“We ain’t really been focused on that,’’ LeGarrette Blount said when asked about the big Brady news. “We’ve been focusing on the [New York] Giants and playing this game today and, you know, try to do things right.’’
The Patriots running back – who must sit out the first game of the season for a substance abuse violation – was then asked if there was a sense of relief knowing that Brady would be playing the full season.
“I’m ready to play with anybody. I’m ready to play with any quarterback we have, so you know, that [decision] was not really high on my priority list, you know,’’ Blount said. “Everybody was out here worrying about that Giants’ game. I can’t speak for the whole team, but I know me personally was just worried about this game right here.’’
Patriots offensive lineman Ryan Wendell preferred to keep the focus on the quarterback who took all the snaps Thursday night: Ryan Lindley.
“Tommy didn’t even play tonight. You got any questions about Lindley?’’ Wendell said. “Well, who’s got a Lindley question because he was playing well tonight. I was excited to see him out there doing good for us. No one? … All right, guys. You guys have a good night.’’
Lindley was asked how relieved the team was when they found out Brady would be back.
“You know, I’m not sure,’’ the third-string quarterback said. “We were kind of all focused on game day, and then the guys who weren’t playing were kind of doing their own thing. So we were just dialed in on the Giants.’’
And from Ryan Wendell to Ryan Lindley we move to Logan Ryan.
“I don’t know. Personally, I was just trying to get ready for the game,’’ Ryan said asked about the team’s reaction to the Brady news. “I knew I had a game to play and wanted to make the most of my opportunity.’’
The Patriots cornerback did admit it was good to have the four-time Super Bowl champion back under center.
“It helps, so I would say yes,’’ Ryan said.
Second-year unning back James White also followed suit. “It’s not really my position to comment on that situation,’’ White said. “I’m just worried about myself right now.’’
The only player in Foxborough who was unabashed in his happiness for Brady was New England nemisis and Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
“I’m happy for Tom,’’ Manning said. “I know it has probably been a stressful offseason and few months. [I’m] happy he’s back playing and that he will be playing next week. I try not to get too involved in all that and I don’t know the details. Obviously [Roger Goodell] has a job to do, but I am just glad [Brady] can play next week…’’
“I don’t think anything surprises me, saw that it got [overturned], I know he’s been dealing with a lot, so I’m glad he gets to play,’’ Manning said. “He’ll be home and hang the banner. It’s been a long few months for him. I’m just happy he’ll be back.’’
So is everyone else who can’t wait for Thursday night.
Here’s how Patriots fans celebrated Tom Brady’s overturned suspension: