By Gregory Hunt
Some NFL teams are magnets for drama. The Dallas Cowboys are one such team, as they regularly attract negative attention due to its media-loving owner Jerry Jones and controversial players such as defensive end Greg Hardy. The Cleveland Browns are another, as the saga of quarterback Johnny Manziel continues its downward spiral.
Deflategate notwithstanding, the New England Patriots are typically good about avoiding drama, and whenever it does pop up, the organization is good at not letting it affect its focus on the game. As the Patriots prepare to meet the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC Divisional Playoff game at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, the team is maintaining its focus as it is dealing with reports about the recent hospitalization of defensive end Chandler Jones.
Jones back at practice after hospitalization
According to dispatch records obtained by the Boston Herald from the Foxboro Police Department, Jones was rushed to nearby Norwood Hospital Sunday morning for an undisclosed medical emergency. The records show that Jones showed up at the Foxboro Police station at 7:42 a.m. and was transported to the hospital after being evaluated by EMS personnel. Jones' house is only a block from the station. The Patriots' leader in sacks was released from the hospital that same day, and he has attended all scheduled meetings and practices since then.
A number of reporters showed up at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday to ask about the incident. Jones did not speak with the media, but some of his teammates told reporters that they were refusing to get distracted by any speculation about Jones.
"We just ignore it," said safety Duron Harmon. "I think Coach [Bill] Belichick just does a great job of just really, like, brainwashing you. To let you know there’s certain things that we need to care about and certain things that we need to just let be. And he does a great job. Right now, all we can do is focus on Kansas City."
Jones was selected to the Pro Bowl this year after making a career-high 12.5 sacks, which was fifth in the NFL. He played in 15 of the 16 regular season games despite being hobbled by hip, toe and abdomen injuries at various points of the year.
Injury report is a positive one
The injury report released by the Patriots on Wednesday looks promising. Although 17 players are named on the list, no one has been ruled out for Saturday's game, and guard Tre' Jackson (knee) is the only one that was held out of practice on Wednesday. Quarterback Tom Brady is on the report with an ankle injury he suffered in the regular season finale, but he was a full participant in practice Wednesday.
Against the Dolphins, pass protection was a big problem for the Patriots thanks to injuries at left tackle to both Sebastian Vollmer and LaAdrian Waddle. Both of them were limited participants in practice on Wednesday, so it appears both of them will be ready to go against the Chiefs.
"Good," Vollmer replied when a reporter asked how he was feeling on Wednesday. "Practice is important, injured or not. Every time you’re out there, it’s a good thing. It’s the playoffs. I don’t think anybody is 100 percent out there. It’s a physical game."
Gregory Hunt is a Boston native and a life-long fan of the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics. He's also particularly fond of lacrosse, IndyCar racing and women's college basketball. He currently works for Examiner.com where he serves as the Senior Manager of Content and Media Access. He also writes for Examiner.com as the New England Patriots Examiner. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
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