Sunday, January 21, 2018
Sports

Pats practice halftime

INDIANAPOLIS — For what is believed to be the first time in Super Bowl history, the Patriots simulated game conditions for Sunday by taking a 31-minute "halftime" break during Wednesday's practice.

After practicing for an hour, various media outlets reported Thursday, the Patriots went inside the locker room for the longer-than usual intermission before returning to the field for the second half of the practice.

"We were trying to simulate the best we can," New England coach Bill Belichick said Thursday. "It's not perfect, but it's the best we could do. Practice, take a break, come back out and restart."

RB Stevan Ridley said the move had the support of the players.

"Coach Belichick is a genius," he said. "He's special. That was Coach Belichick doing his thing.

"To come up with that idea shows you what he's thinking about. He knows what's going to work, and he's been around longer than any of us. And he's doing everything he can to get us prepared."

Even when the players came in at "halftime" of the practice, Belichick spoke to them as if it were halftime of the Super Bowl.

"We were sitting in there, and we had a halftime talk like it'll be Sunday," Ridley said. "He wanted this to be like a game experience; as close as we could get."

Gronkowski update: Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski practiced, though on a limited basis, for the first time since sustaining a high left ankle sprain during the AFC title game.

"He did some things. He didn't do everything," Belichick said. "We'll see how he is (today). I think that will be the big key."

Jurisprudence: Federal authorities announced a crackdown on websites that stream unauthorized broadcasts of sports events a few hours after Patriots QB Tom Brady said he watched last season's Super Bowl via an illegal site.

Investigators seized 16 sites and brought criminal charges against Yonjo Quiroa of Comstock Park, Mich., who reportedly controlled nine of them.

Brady said he was out of the country during last season's game.

"I was rehabbing my foot in Costa Rica, watching the game on an illegal Super Bowl website," he said. "And now I'm actually playing in the game, so it's pretty cool."

The boxer: Giants RB Brandon Jacobs went 35-2 as an amateur heavyweight boxer and won an AAU state title in Louisiana.

He makes it sound as if he wasn't much of a stylist in the ring. Now 6 feet 4, 264 pounds, he was a bit less imposing physically back then. Not much less imposing, though.

"I'd go in and catch 'em with a few good left hands and stop them. It never got to the point that I knocked anybody out cold," he said.

"I have no regrets about boxing, and I still got the AAU state trophy at home. It doesn't matter if you knock out someone or not."

Dancing duel: Giants WR Victor Cruz has become known for doing the salsa after touchdowns. What will Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez do if he scores on Sunday?

"They told me to do the salsa. And I was joking around, saying maybe I'll do the merengue," the former Gator said. "But that's his style, and I respect him doing that. And that's also a shoutout to the Hispanic community."

Cruz sidestepped the idea of a dance-off.

"I just want to get in the end zone and win this football game," he said.

One decision made: As the visiting team, the Giants will call the coin toss. Special teams captain and LS Zak DeOssie already knows what he will say: "I've called tails every single time this year, and that's what it's going to be this weekend."

DeOssie went 4-4 during the regular season. The coin came up heads before the division win over the Packers but came up tails twice, including before overtime, against the 49ers in the NFC title game.

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