The hoopla surrounding the status of Tom Brady's leg injury has died down a bit after reports first surfaced showing Brady wearing a walking boot while visiting his girlfriend in New York. The team mandated a 'no comment' policy on Brady's injury while the quarterback remained absent from team practices all week. Sunday, Brady stood with his teammates as they prepared to leave for Phoenix. Although there was no update on his injury, he stood without the boot.
Reports first surfaced Monday showing Brady in a walking boot one day after defeating the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Championship game. Although the Patriots signal caller was photographed hours later without the boot, the noticeable limp raised alarm bells. Reports indicated the Michigan product had suffered a mild, high ankle sprain, with some media outlets predicting exactly which play he suffered the injury.
While the New York media played up the incident as a ruse by New England to throw off the Giants in their preparation, New England sources confirmed Brady suffered from a mild high ankle sprain.
When the team returned to practice on Thursday, Brady was absent. As the week went on, concern over Brady's injury fueled speculation that the injury was serious enough to impact his performance in the Super Bowl next week in Glendale, AZ. Comments from the New York Giants indicated they didn't believe Brady was hurt. Or they believed he would play anyway.
Brady's father went on record to say that even if his son had a broken leg, it wouldn't keep him from playing in the Super Bowl. Brady's teammates joked about what they'd do without their leader if he couldn't go despite his father's claim.
"Well, Bill [Belichick] actually brought me in his office earlier this morning and asked me if I wanted to move to quarterback," said wide receiver Donte Stallworth. "We're going to put in a whole new offense. He wants me to run the option."
Wes Welker followed Stallworth's lead on poking fun at the speculation surrounding Brady's injury.
"Well, actually, Coach pulled me into the office and told me I was going to be the quarterback, so I don't know where [Stallworth's] hearing that from," said Welker. "I think he kind of overheard our conversation, and that's actually going to be my role."
Over 15,000 New England Patriots fans gathered in the falling snow for a rally at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., to send the New England Patriots to the Super Bowl, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)
After a few words in a light snow outside Gillette Stadium, the Patriots boarded the team buses to head for the airport. The Patriots will practice in Glendale as they prepare for the game on Sunday.
The New York Giants leave for Arizona on Monday.
Patriots Place S Mitchell On IR
Another season in New England has ended early for safety Mel Mitchell. The special teams ace was placed on Injured Reserve Thursday with a biceps injury. It is the second season in a row that the Patriots' special teams ace finished the season because of an injury.
Originally signed by the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent in April 2006, Mitchell missed his first year in New England after suffering an arm injury in training camp. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound defender has been a key part of the Patriots special teams in 2007.
New England is Mitchell's second team in the NFL. He also played for the New Orleans Saints (2002-05).
The move to put Mitchell on IR left an open roster spot on the Patriots 53-man active roster.
Senior Bowl Scouting
Staff from the Patriots' college scouting department seem to be faring just fine without former Director of College Scouting Thomas Dimitroff this week. New England personnel were seen speaking with NFL Draft hopefuls after practices in Mobile, AL, as the college seniors prepared for their game Saturday. Dimitroff, who took over as the GM of the Atlanta Falcons, was responsible for assembling information gathered by the Patriots scouting efforts at events such as the Senior Bowl.
The game came down to an exciting finish as Tennessee quarterback Eric Ainge led the South team down the field for the final score. Ainge handed off to wide receiver Andre Caldwell (brother of former Patriots wide receiver Reche Caldwell) on a reverse. Caldwell scored to tie the game as time expired. The extra point gave the South team a 17-16 victory for one of the most exciting finishes in the the game's history.
Scout.com's staffers were in Mobile for most of the week. More coverage on the 2008 Under Armor Senior Bowl can be found here: Senior Bowl Tracker
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