Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Fun in London? Only if Pats win
By Mike Rodak and Field Yates
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- As noted by head coach Bill Belichick on Tuesday morning, not too many players remain from the Patriots' last trip to London in 2009.
One of those 14 players is kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who downplayed the return visit to the United Kingdom that the Patriots will make later this week.
"It's a long trip but it's not too much farther like when we went to Seattle," he said. "I doubt we'll have too much time to really enjoy (it), or go sight-seeing."
The Patriots left London with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers three years ago, and Gostkowski says this year's trip will be a success not if he gets to see Big Ben again -- he's done that before -- but rather if they earn a victory over the St. Louis Rams.
"It will be a good experience if we play well and come home with a win," he said. "Then we'll have a really good time."
The perspective of the seventh-year veteran is contrasted with that of second-year running back Stevan Ridley, who is looking forward to visiting the foreign country.
"Going away, I don't want to say it's a vacation, because we're going out to handle business and take care of football, but any time you don't get to go -- I haven't been to London before -- I'm looking forward to making the trip," Ridley said.
However, it's clear that the message of staying focused and avoiding distractions while abroad will be sent to players this week, if it has not been already.
"We're going to try to get there a little earlier in the week, get there, get set up, and get back to football," Ridley said. "We're going to try to keep everything as close to normal as we can, have a steady work week, and prepare for the Rams."
Veteran safety Steve Gregory played in London as a member of the San Diego Chargers in 2008. After having missed the last three games with a hip injury, he said he will have to "talk with the trainers and everybody" before learning if he will be making a second trip.
"It was great. Obviously I'd never been there before, so to see London, the overall experience was amazing," Gregory said of his 2008 trip. "Playing in that stadium. Some of the people had all different jerseys on and stuff. I think they were cheering more when the guys kicked a field goal than a regular play, but it was fun, it was a good time.
"Just to be in a different country, see their culture, what it's like over there, it's different than being in America. You get to interact with the people over there, [it] was definitely something you could take with you."