FOXBOROUGH — The NFL may be focused on the Patriots’ deflated footballs, but New England tight end Rob Gronkowski? Not so much.
“I’m not worried about no balls,” the most gregarious of the Patriots joked on Friday. “Maybe Tom’s (Pats QB Brady) worried about balls, but I ain’t.”
Nobody in New England seems that worried about footballs, even if the fallout from DeflateGate rages on around them at the Gillette Stadium compound. The league announced a detailed probe into the mystery of the underinflated footballs from the AFC title game, and a host of former players insisted they didn’t believe the press conference denials from Bill Belichick and Brady.
But Pats players stood by their coach and their quarterback. On Thursday, before he had spoken with the press, Brady had met with his team, and former Jet cornerback Darrelle Revis said the quarterback had made it clear that he had done nothing wrong.
“He stood up and spoke and just said, ‘You know man, this is a distraction and we just need to keep focus as a team,’ ” said Revis. “That’s something he wouldn’t do. He wouldn’t break any rules.”
Brady’s meeting fully settled the players, added safety Devin McCourty.
“I think this team understands we’ve got a leader that we never question,” McCourty said. “There’s never any doubt no matter what the situation is, whether it be on the field or off the field. This team has a lot of trust in Tom. Honestly, I don’t think anybody in this locker room is worried about it (DeflateGate).”
And did McCourty believe Brady’s denial? He didn’t even watch the afternoon press conference, that’s how little he cares about this world-dominating scandal.
“Does it matter? I’m kind of past all of that,” McCourty said. “We went out there and we won a game in the AFC Championship and we got the right to play in the Super Bowl. I think that should be the focus and the topic, so that’s what I want to talk about today.”
The same could be said of his Patriot teammates on Friday. Asked what he made of the whole controversy, which led to NFL investigators spending three days questioning players and team personnel in Foxborough, veteran defensive tackle Vince Wilfork answered quickly.
“Nothing,” he said, acting sick of the questions. “Here we are with the biggest game of our career, and that’s what it’s about. It’s about going out and being able to play the game you work so hard for and be in the Super Bowl.
“That’s what it’s about. (We’ve) got to be able to eliminate all distractions right now, and I’m pretty sure we’ll have more distractions.
“But at the same time, I think we’ve done a great job around here all year of just being so focused on our opponents and what we have to do to win a ballgame.”