Tom Brady, left, and Bill Belichick won six Super Bowls together and when asked if he would have enjoy the same success without Brady, Belichick responded, “Of course not.” Steve Senne/Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass — Tom Brady actually had something to do with building a dynasty in New England, Patriots Coach Bill Belichick confirmed Friday, dousing one potential beef with the quarterback who let the team to six Super Bowl championships.

Asked by a reporter if he would have had the same success without Tom Brady, Belichick said, “Of course not.”

That Belichick was even asked was a tribute to his obstinacy and his well-worn refusal to give simple and obvious answers to simple and obvious questions, routinely brushing them aside with non-responsive filibusters such as, “We’re on to Cincinnati.”

The Belichick-Brady rift has dominated NFL headlines this week as the quarterback returns to New England with the Buccaneers to play against the Patriots for the first time in his career.

Both sides are reportedly testy over who deserves more credit for the Patriots success, a question that seemed to tilt toward Brady when he led Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl victory last year in his first season away from Belichick’s tutelage. (The Patriots went 7-9 without Brady).

On Friday, Belichick did not hesitate to share the credit.


“We’ve talked about that for two decades,” the coach said. “I think I’ve been on the record dozens of time saying there’s no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady. I still feel that way. I was very lucky to have Tom as the quarterback, and to coach him. He was as good as any coach could ever ask for.”

BUCCANEERS: Following Friday’s practice, Coach Bruce Arians said cornerback Jamel Dean, still unable to push off on the knee he injured last week against the Rams, is out for Sunday’s contest along with tailback Giovani Bernard (knee). As a result, Richard Sherman – acquired earlier this week – will be on the active roster as a precaution for the Bucs’ injury-depleted secondary.

“We’ll have (Sherman) up, just in case,” Arians said.

Also making the trip will be veteran edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul, a surprise participant at Friday’s practice after being sidelined by hand and shoulder issues since the Falcons game two weeks ago. Arians said Pierre-Paul and tight end Rob Gronkowski (ribs) will be game-time decisions.

Pierre-Paul is listed as questionable on the latest official injury report; Gronkowski is doubtful. Gronkowski was spotted at Friday’s practice, albeit without pads as the Bucs worked out in “spider” pads and helmets. He took a hard shot to the ribs in last week’s 34-24 loss to the Rams and didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday.

EAGLES: Running back LeSean McCoy got his wish – one he first expressed two years ago – to return to the team that drafted him and retire as a member of the Eagles.


McCoy, 33, expressed his gratitude to the franchise, the other three teams he played for, and the many individuals who helped make his childhood dream of becoming a star running back a reality. And he spoke of the many highs in his career, his candidacy for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and his future plans.

Overall, he rushed for 11,102 yards, finished with 15,000 yards from scrimmage and scored 89 touchdowns. He ranks 22nd all-time in the first category, 26th in the second, and tied for 39th in the third.

SEAHAWKS: Seattle expects wide receiver Tyler Lockett to play Sunday against San Francisco despite a hip injury that slowed him in practice this week.

Along with Lockett, DK Metcalf landed on the injury report with a sore foot but was not given a designation for Sunday’s game.

49ERS: San Francisco could be down two more starting cornerbacks for Sunday’s game against Seattle but are holding out hope star tight end George Kittle can play. Coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday that slot cornerback K’Waun Williams will miss the game against the Seahawks with a calf injury and outside cornerback Josh Norman is doubtful with a chest injury. San Francisco already lost its top cornerback, Jason Verrett, to a season-ending knee injury in the opener.

Norman was hospitalized Sunday with bleeding in his lung and will need to pass tests Saturday to determine whether he can play this week.


Kittle was able to get on the field a bit to run at the start of practice in a sign of progress since injuring his calf in last week’s loss to Green Bay. Kittle is listed as questionable for the game.

RAVENS: Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson returned to practice Friday, quieting concerns that a back injury might sideline him for Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos.

Jackson missed practice Wednesday and Thursday, and offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Thursday that he was “dealing with a little black flare-up,” which he said wasn’t serious. But Coach John Harbaugh said after practice Friday that Jackson was a full participant in the session, a promising sign for his availability this weekend.

Jackson, who spoke to reporters before practice Wednesday without any apparent pain, did not appear to be limited as he went through positional drills Friday.

WASHINGTON: After missing almost the entirety of the offseason and training camp and then the season’s first three games, Curtis Samuel is expected to make his debut with the Washington on Sunday. The wide receiver was activated from injured reserve Friday, and Coach Ron Rivera said he will be active at the Atlanta Falcons.

“That’s assuming that Sunday he’ll go out with no problems, no issues – we’ll sprinkle him in,” Rivera said. “… There are some things that he did that I really liked to see today.”


Samuel, 25, signed a three-year contract in March but has been sidelined for much of the past five months because of a nagging groin injury. A stint on the reserve/COVID-19 list during training camp cost him nearly two weeks of rehab, and twice after that he attempted to return to the field, only to be sidelined again when the injury still didn’t feel quite right. Samuel was placed on IR to begin the season, making him eligible to return in Week 4.

JETS: New York Jets fans have been clamoring the last few weeks for Denzel Mims to see the field again.

The second-year wide receiver will get that chance Sunday against Tennessee.

Coach Robert Saleh announced that Mims will be active for the game after the second-round pick from last year was a healthy scratch the past two weeks.

Also, although listed as questionable, receiver Jamison Crowder is set to make his season debut after being limited to for two days. Crowder missed the first three games, first with COVID-19 and then a groin injury.

BEARS: Chicago will wait until game time to announce its starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against Detroit, choosing between Andy Dalton and rookie Justin Fields.


Both quarterbacks are dealing with injuries, but Fields has been able to go through full practices the entire week while Dalton has been limited every day. Dalton is suffering from a bone bruise to his left knee while Fields wore a brace on his injured right hand all week in practice.

Coach Matt Nagy said he couldn’t rule out Dalton for Sunday at Soldier Field because his health has improved, and he is the team’s regular starter.

BILLS: Buffalo will be without safety Jordan Poyer and left guard Jon Feliciano for their game against the Houston Texans on Sunday.

Both were ruled out, with Poyer sidelined by a left ankle injury and Feliciano out due to a concussion. Jaquan Johnson or rookie Damar Hamlin could step in at safety, while Ike Boettger is among possibilities for Feliciano’s spot.

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