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Friday, January 17, 2014
Picked-up pieces around Patriots

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Friday marked the final day of media access leading into the AFC Championship Game, with head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady holding morning news conferences, followed by an open locker-room period.

Here were a few things that caught our attention.

1. Wilfork packed and ready to go: Defensive captain Vince Wilfork had his suitcase by his locker and was present in the time that reporters were in the locker room. Wilfork has essentially served as another coach for the team since landing on season-ending injured reserve in late September.

2. Belichick credits special-teams coaches: The Patriots ranked No. 1 in the annual special-teams rankings compiled by Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News. It is clear that Belichick respects Gosselin’s work (“he does a great job of that”), and when asked to what he attributes the high ranking, Belichick first credited special-teams coaches Scott O’Brien and Joe Judge, as well as special-teams captain Matthew Slater.

3. Players asked about legalized marijuana in Colorado: Running back LeGarrette Blount was asked about marijuana being legal in Colorado and if he was worried about teammates partaking in it. He responded by saying it’s a business trip and that coach Bill Belichick told the team about it. “He basically said, ‘Don’t bother, it’d be stupid.” When Brady was told this is the first time he’ll be visiting an NFL city where recreational marijuana use is legal, he responded, “Are you excited about that?”

4. Locker-room scene: From the lighthearted department, rookie cornerback Logan Ryan was donning a red “Blount force trauma” T-shirt, created by running back LeGarrette Blount. ... About six boxes of Kane’s donuts were spread on a table on one side of the locker room. ... center Ryan Wendell, defensive end Chandler Jones and receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola were among those drawing larger crowds.