SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Patriots

January 30, 2012

Relaxed Patriots arrive in Indy

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Even the usually dour Bill Belichick was joking around as the New England Patriots arrived in Indianapolis for Super Bowl week.

At his opening news conference last night, Belichick was asked if he expected some Hoosier hospitality.

"I never had too much hospitality here," he said, noting that the Patriots aren't exactly popular in Colts country, "until I went for it on fourth-and-2."

His gamble on that play at the New England 28 with 2:08 to go failed and led to the Colts' winning field goal in a 2009 regular-season game.

"Fans greeted us lots more and were awfully friendly" after that, he added.

All-Pro receiver Wes Welker wasn't familiar with the term when asked the same question.

"What is Hoosier hospitality? What does that consist of?" Welker asked to laughs before getting a full explanation from a local television reporter. "I think it will be a little strange practicing at the Colts' facility. I don't know how many people like that, but we'll be calm and polite and not try to rub it in, so I hope everyone is appreciative of it."

Belichick, dressed in a suit — no hoodie for the coach this time — also said All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski is "day to day" with a high left ankle sprain for next Sunday's NFL title game against the New York Giants. Gronkowski has been wearing a walking boot since being injured in the AFC title game.

"You've got to prepare for every one of these situations that come up," quarterback Tom Brady said of the possibility Gronkowski will be limited for sidelined. "You always have to have some contingency plans."

Brady knows the Giants will bring lots of heat with their pass rush, but for now he was more comforted by not having to face a local rival who frequently has put Brady on his back.

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