Pats used to dis­trac­tions

The Denver Post - - OFF & RUNNING - By Jimmy Golen

foxbor­ough, mass. » The New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots would have loved to spend the week with noth­ing else to worry about ex­cept Satur­day’s play­off game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

But Pro Bowl de­fen­sive end Chandler Jones wan­dered over to the lo­cal po­lice sta­tion last week­end, shirt­less and dis­ori­ented, leav­ing his house reek­ing of burnt mar­i­juana. Sud­denly, the de­fend­ing Su­per Bowl cham­pi­ons were back on de­fense. For­tu­nately, they’re pretty good at it.

“I mean, are there any more ques­tions about the Chiefs here?” coach Bill Belichick said Thurs­day af­ter nine con­sec­u­tive unan­swered ques­tions about Jones’ un­usual week­end. “The rest of it, I’m done talk­ing about.”

Jones apol­o­gized to his team­mates and the New Eng­land fans Thurs­day, say­ing he made a “pretty stupid mis­take,” but he de­clined to elab­o­rate on what hap­pened. Belichick re­fused to say whether Jones would be benched for fear of re­veal­ing valu­able strate­gic in­for­ma­tion to the Chiefs.

In the Pa­tri­ots’ locker room, the play­ers said they would have no trou­ble putting the in­ci­dent aside dur­ing Satur­day’s game. And it’s hard to doubt them, af­ter­what they have gone through over the last 12 months and be­yond.

Hours af­ter New Eng­land’s 45- 7 vic­tory over the In­di­anapo­lis Colts in the AFC cham­pi­onship game last Jan­uary, the Pa­tri­ots were ac­cused of il­le­gally de­flat­ing the foot­balls. Even be­fore the NFL in­ves­ti­ga­tion that would find them guilty, the Pa­tri­ots plugged up their ears and dug in their heels.

And went on to win an­other Su­per Bowl.

A sea­son ear­lier, New Eng­land posted its now- cus­tom­ary 12- win sea­son, AFC East ti­tle and trip to the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game de­spite re­leas­ing tight end Aaron Her­nan­dez over the sum­mer, just be­fore he was charged with first- de­gree mur­der. ( He was con­victed in April 2015, a few months af­ter his for­mer team­mates’ Su­per Bowl vic­tory.)

Pa­tri­ots de­fen­sive end Chandler Jones stood up for his “pretty stupid mis­take,” apol­o­giz­ing Thurs­day af­ter stum­bling to a po­lice sta­tion reek­ing of burnt mar­i­juana. Michael Dwyer, The As­so­ci­ated Press

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