Patriots spare details about Collins trade, hope to refresh this bye week
FOXBORO, Mass. - The New England Patriots are on a bye this week, a much-needed break conveniently falling smack dab in the middle of the team's regular season.
But what should be a relaxing week started with a bit of a reality check for players, in the form of news that linebacker Jamie Collins had been traded.
“Did what we felt like was best for the team, and that’s really it," Coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday morning, saying discussing all the elements of the trade would be "too long, too cumbersome a conversation."
The Pro Bowler was traded to the Cleveland Browns on Monday without much explanation, just one day before the league's trade deadline. The news surprised some of his Patriot teammates, especially those he was closest to.
On Wednesday, Tom Brady said the two parted in good spirits, and noted the trade highlighted the reality for any player in the NFL.
"It’s the challenging part about the NFL, but it’s definitely inevitable," Brady said. "But everyone’s still going to be in touch with him, and you know he’s our friend for life, so that doesn’t change."
When asked if the trade sparked any thoughts that it could be him some day, Brady didn't hesitate.
“It could happen to anybody," he said candidly. "You just have to show up to work, do the best you can do every day, and let your performance just try to just speak for itself.”
Brady's performance, at least, should be speaking volumes. Last week against the Bills, the quarterback picked up his 198th career win (including regular and postseason). That puts him only two wins away from tying Peyton Manning's record for most wins.
He said now is a great time for the team to look at the season so far and use it to decide what to do next.
“Hopefully, going into the second half, we’ll all be feeling good and everyone’s taking good care of themselves and have a good chance to go out there and compete hard, because you know there’s a lot of football left," he said. "[This] is when football season really starts to count and you really see what you’re made of.”
Belichick had the same thoughts about the bye week, adding it's a good time for the entire organization to catch up on both personal and professional matters.
“We have a good opportunity for our team this week to improve, kind of look back over the first half of the season, evaluate the things that we’re doing well, things that we’re not doing well,” he said. “Give the players a well-deserved break. We’ve been at it now for over three months straight, so it’ll be a good opportunity for them to catch their breath a little bit.”
On Wednesday, many players said they had plans to leave New England, traveling to visit family or friends to unwind.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski said he was going to lay low, but find somewhere warm and sunny, saying this year's bye came at a great time.
"It’s just good to rest your body," he said. "Rest it up, get away for a little bit so when you come back, it feels like you’ve been gone from football for a while and you’re super refreshed to get back."
Brady agreed, but said the bye week is always a welcome, albeit short respite.
"Bye week always, whenever it comes, it’s always at a good time," he said.