Country Music Festival Pumps Up Pats Practice

Something about country music filling the air on Saturday afternoon gave a different feeling to the Patriots' second day of training camp. John Ingoldsby was there to get Adalius Thomas' reaction to the Kenny Chesney event.

FOXBORO, Mass. – Football shared the stage with country music Saturday at Gillette Stadium, as Bill Belichick and company were treated to authentic crowd noise without having to pump it in.

Instead, the Pats got pumped up by the music blaring from the sold-out Kenny Chesney concert, where some of the fans inside the stadium were watching the Patriots practice outside the edifice.

This was one distraction that noted music-aficionado Belichick welcomed by observing, "We got some music here to work on the crowd noise, that's a little stress for both the offense and the defense in terms of the communication, but we need that. The music is good, so we're fine. We have a lot of country guys on this team."

Good thing, since country was everywhere ranging from game-day-type traffic on Route 1 and tailgating country-style to a steady stream of concert-goers pouring into the Gillette and the music itself echoing through the countryside.

But not all on the team are country guys, as Adalius Thomas weighed in on the music and the atmosphere by noting, "If I have to listen to it (country music), like during practice, that's fine and I can kind of block it out. Other than that, I didn't know so many people were around here. I have seen people walking in for the past two hours, and I am like ‘where are these people coming from'? I guess they came from a long ways, and they have been tailgating quite hard so it will be interesting to see the crowd."

Interesting it was, but not as compelling as football, which is after all why the biggest free agent of the off-season chose Foxboro. "You come into a new place open-minded, and just work hard and try to win games," said Thomas. "Some things are different, but football is football, 11 against 11. I am just here to do the things I am asked to do."

When queried about his vaunted versatility of being able to play every position on defense while with the Baltimore Ravens, Number 96 simply said, "We have a lot of versatile guys around here."

LB Chad Brown answers questions from the media at Patriots training camp July 28, 2007 (Photo John ingoldsby /

One of those versatile guys is Chad Brown, also a linebacker who can play inside or outside, and he like Adalius is glad to be here. "We have a lot of experience here, with many guys who have been here for a long time. It will be tough to make this team."

When asked if he came back to win a championship, the former Steeler and Seahawk, stated, "I still love the game, and I learn something here about football every day. Obviously a little bling doesn't hurt anybody's fingers."

To his Patriot teammates, both country and non-country, that is music to their ears.

John Ingoldsby has covered the New England Patriots for various publications the past 13 years. He began writing about the NFL for newspapers in the 1970s. John is a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. You can find him on the Patriots Insider boards under the handle Rudiee.

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