After a couple of days devoted largely to travel and media obligations, the New England Patriots gratefully returned to the football field Wednesday.
“We’ve had all this chaos of media, this and that,” quarterback Tom Brady said. “It’ll be good to go out there in some nice warm weather and some good grass and throw the football around and execute things that you want to get done and get the week started.”
The Patriots will meet the Seattle Seahawks at Super Bowl 49 on Sunday at Glendale, Arizona. Meanwhile, they are practicing at the Arizona Cardinals’ training facility in Tempe.
“Their facilities are good,” coach Bill Belichick said. “We’ll utilize whatever we think is best. They have a nice indoor facility, pretty nice outdoor fields. So we’ll make it work.”
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The Patriots are staying at a luxury hotel about 30 minutes from downtown Phoenix in the southeastern suburb of Chandler.
Some players have speculated that the relative isolation is no accident.
“I expect nothing less from coach," receiver Julian Edelman said. "I thought we were staying in New Mexico. I guess that’s the Patriot way.”
The Pacific 12 Conference is well represented on the New England roster: safety Patrick Chung and running back LeGarrette Blount of Oregon, receiver Matthew Slater and linebacker Akeem Ayers of UCLA, running back Shane Vereen of California, cornerback Brandon Browner of Oregon State, offensive lineman Cameron Fleming of Stanford, tackle Nate Solder of Colorado, tight end Rob Gronkowski of Arizona, and defensive lineman Sealver Siliga of Utah.
Punter Ryan Allen walked on at Oregon State before transferring to Louisiana Tech.
“I competed with one of the NFL’s best right now: Johnny Hekker (of the St. Louis Rams and Bothell High School),” Allen said. “He and I both walked on, and we are very good friends to this day. Once he won the job and he earned the scholarship, I was kind of at a standstill point whether I stay (at OSU) and play it through or to try and go out and receive a scholarship to get some of my school paid for.”
This week, several of those Patriots have used the Super Bowl forum to talk up their conference and their schools.
“They take the Pac-12 as a soft conference and obviously it’s not,” Blount said. “We made it all the way to the national championship game. We didn’t win it, but we made it there. The Pac-12 is a tough conference.”
That said, Blount was asked why he names his Perry, Florida, high school rather than his college during video introductions.
“I’m the first person to ever come out of my home town and make it to the NFL,” he said. “I take tremendous pride in that; nothing against Oregon, I’m Oregon pride all day every day, I love the University of Oregon and what they’ve done for me.”
Slater was asked if he had been recruited by Pete Carroll, when the Seahawks coach was at USC.
“Their track team recruited me, but not their football team,” he said. “I think, that year, they had Whitney Lewis and Steve Smith that were the number one and two receivers in the country, and they both signed over there.”
Brady coughed a bit during his morning media session. “I’ve been fighting the cold,” he said. “I’ll be good.” … The Patriots official practice report showed that Brady participated fully despite a listed ankle issue. On the limited-participation list were LB Don’t’a Hightower (shoulder), DT Chris Jones (elbow), DL Siliga (foot) and C Bryan Stork (knee). … With the Seahawks wearing their home blue uniforms Sunday, the Patriots will wear their white jerseys. “I’m a colorful guy, I guess you could say. I prefer the blue,” cornerback Kyle Arrington said. “... As long it has this (Super Bowl) patch on it, I couldn’t care less, to tell you the truth.”