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News Blitz 2/14: Political football

At least a half-dozen of Tom Brady's teammates say they won't make the traditional trip to the White House this spring, when the president honors the Super Bowl champions. Brady told Pro Football Talk that he understands why they're staying away, but added, "Putting politics aside, it never was a political thing. At least, it never was to me. It meant you won a championship and you got to experience something cool with your team, with your teammates. Everyone has their own choice. It's an offseason. These days are valuable for everybody. You only get so much time with your family and friends, and if people don't want to go they don't want to go and that's their choice."

The Boston Globe continues this discussion thread with a column denouncing the Patriots' ties to Donald Trump, the controversial 45th U.S. President.

"The steadfast refusal to denounce any of Trump's policy stances by [owner Robert] Kraft and Co.," the author declares, "has left a portion of their own fan base feeling disheartened. It has cemented their image among those who view them as the NFL's answer to the Death Star."

Kraft addressed the upcoming Washington visit in part during an appearance on NBC's Today Show on Monday.

"I'm happy to say this is our fifth Super Bowl in the last 16 years, and every time we've had the privilege of going to the White House, [several] of our players don't go. This is the first time it has gotten any media attention. Some of the players have the privilege of going in college because they're on national championship teams. Others have family commitments. But this is America. We're all free to do whatever is best for us, and we're just privileged to be in a position to be going."

Brady, meanwhile, had a lengthy discussion with the MMQB website in the aftermath of Super Bowl LI, in which he is (not surprisingly) tough on himself for his performance in most of that game.

"I think it was one of the greatest games I have ever played in, but when I think of an interception return for a touchdown, some other missed opportunities in the first 37, 38 minutes of the game, I don't really consider playing a good quarter-and-a-half plus overtime as one of the 'best games ever.'

The MassLive blog has another Brady-related item, about how he did his part to help former rival Jason Taylor get into the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

"The games against Jason are some of my most (well, maybe least) memorable. He is one of the greatest opponents I've ever faced," Brady wrote to the committee recently. You can see the full letter on the blog post.

Elsewhere in Patriots news, New England might need a new tight ends coach, if reports about Brian Daboll are true. Many media reports suggest he's interviewing for the OC job at a high-profile college.

An ESPN blog posts suggest five things each AFC East team must do this offseason, including the Super Bowl LI champs.

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