Patriots - minus Brady - to visit Trump hours after Hernandez' death

Run-of-the mill reasons. One player said he would not be able to make it earlier this week because he had the dates mixed up and couldn't miss a family birthday party.

The Patriots organization objected, tweeting back at the Times that "these photos lack context".

A tweet and a story from the New York Times strongly suggested that the number was far less this year than when the Patriots visited President Barack Obama in 2015.

Photos shot by Getty Images appear to show hundreds of additional spectators taking in Trump's congratulatory speech from the White House lawn, which provided the president with the ammunition he needed.

"You had the best record in football with 14 wins and two losses and that didn't happen by accident", President Donald Trump told the team gathered behind him on the south side of the White House.

"The last time the #Patriots won two Super Bowls in three years, 36 players visited the White House".

There has been plenty of speculation about why New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady didn't accompany his team Wednesday during the customary visit to the White House for Super Bowl champions.

Gronkowski joined the rest of his teammates on the South Lawn for the ceremony, during which Trump praised individual players such as wide receivers Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman for their contributions during the Super Bowl. They are tight end Martellus Bennett, running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive tackle Alan Branch, linebacker Dont'a Hightower, defensive end Chris Long and defensive back Devin McCourty, who all opposed to many of Trump's views and policies. "I think I got this".

Six other Patriots had announced they wouldn't attend the event for political reasons.

Trump also received a personalized No. 45 jersey and helmet from Kraft and Belichick, respectively. You know, some of the players have the privilege of going in college because they're on national championship teams, others have family commitments.

  • Julie Sanders