Patriots players know they cannot be late for practice

Jan 4, 2018 - 3:34 AM FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots were scheduled to practice on Wednesday and Thursday of the bye week before being given a long weekend away from Gillette Stadium. With a major snowstorm forecast to hit much of Massachusetts, with the potential to bring high winds and more than a foot of snow, the players knew they were going to face a bit of a challenge getting to work on Thursday.

They also knew that there would be no excuses for absences or tardiness. Head coach Bill Belichick has proven in past snowstorms that there are no weather-related exceptions.

"You certainly better leave yourself enough time to get here on time," special-teams captain Matthew Slater said. "We all know there's weather. Coach has mentioned that several times to the team. I wouldn't want to be the guy who's late. But look, I don't think we're going to have an issue. Guys understand we need to be here. The expectation is what it is. We live in New England. There's going to be weather. Give yourself some extra time; as simple as that."

Belichick's message was loud and clear.

"He's mentioned it that he doesn't care," fellow captain Devin McCourty added. "Don't call and say your car got stuck. I think everyone knows there's two hotels up here at Patriot Place so stay there for the night. Find a way. But I tell guys, like wake up earlier, especially if you don't have a garage or something. Wake up. Go clean your car out.

"I think guys know. We're in the NFL playoffs. I think everyone kind of -- if you've been here for a week or two weeks you kind of get that this guy Bill (Belichick) that talks every day in the morning meeting, he doesn't play. So not much needs to be said about being here on time and being ready to work."

--Wide receiver Matthew Slater, New England's special-teams captain who has been elected to seven straight Pro Bowls, was announced as the team's 2017 Ed Block Courage Award winner. The honor is bestowed annually upon a player who best exemplifies the principles of courage and sportsmanship while also serving as a source of inspiration.

Slater and award winners from the 31 other NFL teams will be honored at the 40th Annual Ed Block Courage Awards Banquet in Baltimore on March 10.

Slater battled a hamstring injury this season that limited him to eight regular-season games after missing the entire preseason. But Slater still proved himself one of the elite kick coverage men in the game today when on the field.

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