The Patriots have had a pretty wild October.
On just the second day of the month, quarterback Cam Newton received a positive COVID-19 test, making him the first of eight Patriots players to wind up on the COVID-IR list in October.
After more positive tests came in following their game against the Chiefs, the Patriots had to close down their facilities on multiple occasions, and their game against the Broncos was delayed twice.
Now, after going nearly a week without a positive COVID-19 test, the team was able to have a normal workweek. For the first time since the lead-up to their game against the Chiefs, the Patriots practiced three times in one week.
Head coach Bill Belichick said the team had virtual meetings on Wednesday, but was finally able to have their normal team meetings on Thursday and Friday.
“Yeah, it was great to be able to get back on the field and have a pretty normal week,” Belichick told reporters Friday. “… I think we all appreciate that — maybe took it for granted a little bit from the way it was in the past because it was always that way. But, now having experienced the other side of it — you know, players dressing in a bubble and driving home and having to shower and things like that — it’s just a lot of little inconveniences that as a team, players and coaches, that we’ve had that we didn’t have here for a few days.
“And now that we have them back, I think there’s definitely an appreciation. I know there is. I have it, and I know a lot of our players feel it as well, just to be able to do things on kind of a normal basis. So, that’s been positive for the team, and I think their attitude and energy has reflected that.”
One of those players who took things for granted was Julian Edelman. The receiver said that he found the saying “You always want what you can’t have” to be true after what the team has experienced these last few weeks.
“I never thought it would come to this, but I was pretty excited to go out and practice and have a normal week,” Edelman said. “It’s a huge part of how you build confidence, especially with a young unit and a young team. When you go out and can see yourself do it on film and the guy next to you doing the right thing, you get experience doing it.”
Another player grateful to be back at practice is wide receiver Gunner Olszewski. He said he wasn’t a big fan of the type of work he’s had to do recently.
“I’ll tell you, it’s awful,” Olszewski said. “I don’t know how y’all do it, sitting at a desk all day, staring at a computer. It’s tough to do because you don’t get to let off any steam, you know? I can’t speak for anybody else, but I don’t love meetings.
“I love playing football. But the meetings are important. So when you have to go to meetings and you don’t get to go on a field and use what you just learned, it’s tough because you’re like ‘man,’ and it’s tough just sitting at a desk all day and not getting to go on the field and do it.”
The Patriots are scheduled to host the 49ers at 4:25 p.m. Sunday.
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