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Super Bowl notebook: Hundreds greet returning champion Patriots

Associated Press
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been mum on his future, saying his focus is on celebrating. The team’s victory parade is Tuesday.

New England Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty said Monday he won’t go to the White House if the Super Bowl champions are invited by President Donald Trump, and teammate and twin brother Jason said he highly doubts he would make the trip.

A day after the Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams for their sixth NFL title, Devin McCourty said flatly that he would not join the team for a White House visit.

His brother hedged only slightly.

“I haven’t thought about it, but I highly doubt it,” he said, at which point Devin playfully accused him of lying and Jason agreed there was virtually zero chance he would go.

While Tom Brady and Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman celebrated at Disney World, Bill Belichick and the rest of the team returned from Atlanta to Gillette Stadium and were greeted by hundreds of fans. Jason McCourty pumped the Lombardi Trophy in the air as he got off the bus, then high-fived the fans along the fence before skipping past the crowd.

Devin McCourty had openly wondered if he would return for a 10th NFL season. But he said Monday that he was just looking forward to being with his teammates twice more: at the parade today, and at the ceremony where the team will receive its championship rings.

Is Gronk done?

Tight end Rob Gronkowski is a three-time Super Bowl champion who has been one of the most dominant players at his position.

But his time is running out, and just when that happens has been a question all season. Back, knee, ankle and arm ailments have limited his time on the field. And, when he did play this season, he looked mostly like a shell of his All-Pro self.

“I’ll tell you this: It was the most satisfying year I’ve ever been a part of,” said Gronkowski, 29. “How we came together, the obstacles we had to overcome, the grind from the beginning of training camp to now, it’s just surreal.”

Kaepernick murals sub in

The Atlanta artist community is responding in force after a mural featuring embattled former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was turned to rubble days before the Super Bowl.

Fabian “Occasional Superstar” Williams was dismayed when he learned that his mural was destroyed Friday, but he quickly rallied fellow Atlanta artists to respond by creating at least seven new Kaepernick murals, spread out across the city.

Extra points

Football fans in three states legally bet almost $185.5 million on the Super Bowl this year, the first major professional sporting event to be posted on the boards of sportsbooks outside Nevada.

... Travelers heading home from the Super Bowl were enduring waits of more than an hour to get through airport security on what city officials have called “Mass Exodus Monday.”

... The Patriots’ win over the Rams was seen by 100.7 million viewers, the smallest Super Bowl audience in a decade.