EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 2, 2012

Sorry, no more all expenses paid Hawaiian vacations

INDIANAPOLIS — Having the Pro Bowl last week cost numerous Patriots and Giants a nice vacation.

"As professional athletes, we can afford the trip any time we want it. We're fortunate in that way," said Patriot Logan Mankins. "Hawaii is a great time. You get to party it up with the guys, but I wouldn't trade this for anything."

In 2009, the NFL moved the Pro Bowl from the week after the Super Bowl to the week before it. After a one-year move to Miami, it was returned to Hawaii this winter.

In years past, Super Bowl participants often used the Pro Bowl as a celebration week. Now, that can't happen.

"In any other circumstances, I'd be disappointed," said Patriots first-time selection Matt Slater. "But there's nothing like competing with my teammates for a title. The way they have it now is good, but I'm more happy about the honor and happy about being here."

Media Sandbagging 101

Contrary to popular belief, there is no "official" New England Patriots course on sandbagging the media.

The Patriots remain at the top of the NFL heap when it comes to giving the media sound bites that say absolutely nothing.

Like everything else associated with the team, Patriots coach Bill Belichick covers every detail imaginable.

"At every team meeting, there's a progression of themes for the week that are passed along," said Larry Izzo, the former Patriots special teams captain now coaching with the Giants. "He goes over those themes for the week. It's not this is what you have to do or say. It's just that, you're dealing with the media, let's not talk about this, let's not talk about that. When it comes to ... then shut the (bleep) up."

Week to week, situations changed.

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