Patriots have some interesting questions for the future

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Ah, what does the future hold?

No one likes to answer those questions when you’ve just lost the Super Bowl. But they centered around New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowsi, and even head coach Bill Belichick.

Belichick bristled at the question, saying he had answered it in the past, when he said “Absolutely” he’d be returning next season.

“I already answered that question,” he said, and when asked again what that answer was, said “I said I’ve answered that question. Look, I’m not going to answer the same question every day. It’s ridiculous. Next question.”

Meanwhile, on late Sunday night, Gronkowski seemed surprised about a question concerning retirement rumors after he suffered a concussion in the AFC title game.

“I don’t know how you heard that, but I mean I’m definitely going to look at my future, for sure. I’m going to sit down in the next couple of weeks and see where I’m at. … I’m just going to reflect on the season and just see what happens.”

Has he seriously thought about retiring?

“We just lost,” he said. “I just want to sit back, relax the next couple of weeks. Really, I’ve got nothing to say about that right now.”

Belichick didn’t seem to take much stock in any of the rumors or answers.

“Every person goes through a process at the end of a season,” he said. “You get pretty drained, especially after a season like this. It’s the same for everybody.”

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Patriots safety Devin McCourty said after Sunday night’s game he would have rather lost in the AFC Championship Game than come to the Super Bowl and lose.

“Yeah, you would rather not be here if you lose,” he said. “It’s just the truth. We would have rather lost two or three weeks ago rather than come here and lose, but the truth is that you reset and you put in the hard work and you try to get back to his spot. It’s hard.

“The first time I got here (the 2011 season), it took three years to get back, so you try to get back in the playoffs and AFC Championship and try to get back to work and have a vision for the offseason and try to get better, so we can make enough plays in the games.”

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Patriots who as of now are able to hit the open market come March as unrestricted free agents include several familiar – and important – names:

Cornerback Malcolm Butler, running back Dion Lewis, receiver Danny Amendola, offensive tackle Nate Solder, running back Rex Burkhead, special teams captain Matthew Slater, safety Nate Ebner, running back/special teamer Brandon Bolden, defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois, offensive linemen Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle, corner Johnson Bademosi, defensive end Geneo Grissom, linebacker Marquis Flowers, and linebacker James Harrison.

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Matt Patricia is now the former Patriots defensive coordinator, as the Detroit Lions made it official on Monday, naming him head coach. McCourty said he thinks Patricia will do fine.

“I’m fully confident in him, so I wish him well and I hope he does a great job,” he said. “I think he’s given us a big piece of him each year for eight years now, to be part of this organization an leading the defense, it has been a great journey. … We would have liked to end with a win.”