FOXBOROUGH — What did Patriots quarterback Tom Brady get his offensive linemen for Christmas?
Well, they don’t know yet.
“We still have business to take care of,’’ center Ted Karras said Thursday afternoon.
Across the league, offensive linemen have received a variety of presents from their quarterbacks. Lamar Jackson of the Ravens gifted Rolex watches, Jameis Winston of the Buccaneers gave Big Green Egg charcoal grills and Omaha Steaks gift cards, Aaron Rodgers of the Packers hooked his line up with 65-inch Samsung televisions, and Josh Allen of the Bills had Traeger grills delivered on Christmas Eve.
New England’s offensive line, however, will have to wait a bit longer.
In the past, Brady has given what Karras calls “very relevant, useful gifts.’’ Among them have been Canada Goose winter jackets, iPads, and watches.
As a rookie in 2016, Karras received a pair of sturdy, chocolate brown, waterproof UGG boots, the same ones he wore to Gillette Stadium on Thursday. Karras then pulled out his keys from his coat pocket to reveal a gray braided keychain that he also received from Brady that year.
“Getting a gift from Tom Brady is kind of surreal,’’ said Karras. “I’m very thankful. I just try to do a great job for him. He’s so generous and such a good leader.’’
Perhaps if the Patriots can clinch a first-round bye and the AFC’s No. 2 seed with a win over the Dolphins on Sunday, Karras and the rest of the offensive line will have something waiting for them at their lockers.
“He’s always done such a great job,’’ Karras said. “I do really look forward to it.’’
Traveling in style
Navy football players were treated to quite the surprise on Thursday.
Waiting for them on a runway at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport was one of the Patriots’ charter planes, ready to fly the team to Memphis for the Liberty Bowl. The Naval Academy was able to procure New England’s customized Boeing 767 because the Patriots’ regular-season finale on Sunday is a home game.
“The Naval Academy Athletic Association contracted the plane with Team 125, who is the operator of the plane for the Patriots,’’ said Navy’s senior associate athletic director, Scott Strasemeier, in an e-mailed statement. “The NAAA and the New England Patriots have a longstanding relationship, which certainly did not hurt our ability to work out an agreement with the Patriots. We are extremely grateful for the support and the cooperation we received from Mr. [Robert] Kraft and his staff.’’
Coach Bill Belichick, who grew up in Annapolis, Md., is a longtime supporter of the Naval Academy. His late father, Steve, served in World War II before becoming a scout for the Navy football team — a post he held for more than 30 years.
Navy will take on Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31.
— Navy Athletics (@NavyAthletics) December 26, 2019
Shilique Calhoun was the lone player missing from Thursday’s practice, as the veteran linebacker was sidelined because of an undisclosed illness.
Cornerback Jason McCourty (groin) and right tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle), both of whom left last Saturday’s win over the Bills early, practiced on a limited basis.
McCourty has missed three of the last five games and played limited snaps in the other two.
Also limited at the session were receiver Julian Edelman (knee/shoulder), linebackers Jamie Collins (shoulder) and Ja’Whaun Bentley (knee), and cornerback Jonathan Jones (groin).