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CTE study gets Patriots’ attention

Patriot Devin McCourty believes the NFL is keeping players informed about CTE research.JOHN TLUMACKI/GLOBE STAFF

FOXBOROUGH — With chronic traumatic encephalopathy continuing to be a major concern in football, several Patriots touched on the subject Wednesday afternoon.

Matthew Slater and Devin McCourty were asked their reaction to the Boston University medical study released Tuesday that found 110 of 111 former NFL players’ brains showed signs of CTE.

In total, researchers examined 202 donated brains of men who played football at all levels. CTE was detected in 177 (or 88 percent) of them.

“As a player, you’re definitely thankful that they’re starting to look into that, do the necessary research and hopefully get us to a better place when it comes to that,’’ said Slater, who is entering his 10th NFL season. “Being married to a pathologist, I know that there is a lot I don’t know and there is a lot that we still have to learn. I let her do the worrying about that and I just try to focus on playing football, understanding that there are inherent risks with playing this game . . . I hope for players past, present, and future that we can continue to research, continue to search for things, and see where it goes.’’

McCourty, an eight-year NFL veteran, shared similar thoughts when asked if CTE is something he thinks about as his career extends.


“Yeah, I think all of the technology has shown that we’re getting more and more research,’’ he said. “I think the good thing for us, as players, is that the NFL and the NFLPA are finding ways to get all of that information to us [so that we’re] knowledgeable of the situation.’’

Last September, the league pledged $100 million for concussion research, including $60 million for technological development and $40 million for medical research.

“This is an important area that’s being given a lot of attention, as it should,’’ said coach Bill Belichick.


School’s in session

Slater and McCourty said Wednesday’s reporting day was “like the first day of school.”

The perennial captains said one thing that won’t be on the syllabus this season will be any lectures concerning the national narrative of the Patriots possibly going 19-0.

Both players said such talk is “disrespectful” to the other teams across the league.

“We need to remember it’s hard to have success in this league. There’s so many good players, so many good coaches,’’ said Slater. “I honestly think it’s quite disrespectful to say some of the things that have been said about our football team to the other players and coaches in this league. We have to remember who we are and we have to remember we have to build this thing from the ground up.’’

Slater said it’s easy for him to put those distractions aside, but he is aware of some of the things that are being predicted.

“I don’t subscribe to the Twitters and Instagrams as you guys know, but I watch a little ‘SportsCenter’ and some stuff from time to time and you guys know what’s being said about us,’’ said Slater when asked about possibly going undefeated. “I think it’s quite foolish some of the things being said, I really do. So, we can’t believe that as a football team.’’

Earlier in the day, Belichick also was asked about the high expectations, but he wanted no part of it.

“Yeah, right now, we’re just trying to have a good day here today, get off to a good start in training camp,’’ he said. “We’re not really worried about all that’s in the future.’’


Not surprised

One of the most talked-about topics around the NFL offseason has been Colin Kaepernick’s quest to find employment. The former 49ers quarterback gained attention last year for his national anthem protests, and many believe that’s a major reason no team has taken a chance on him.

McCourty, who along with then-teammate Martellus Bennett raised his fist during the national anthem on opening night last season in Arizona, said Wednesday that he’s “honestly not surprised” Kaepernick remains unsigned.

“I think he was kind of aware of what he was getting into. [It’s] sad but the guy’s a good player, he’s done some successful things in this league,’’ said McCourty, who indicated he talked to Kaepernick before the teams met in San Francisco last season. “It’s just how things shake out. What he has done, I think, has made it hard for him to get a job . . . It’s tough for him, I would imagine. We’ll see. Hopefully he gets picked up [and] has a chance to still play.’’

Working it out

Belichick revealed that the Patriots will work with the Lions prior to the clubs’ matchup in Week 3 of the preseason. It will likely be a walkthrough the day before Aug. 25 game in Detroit. The Patriots previously announced they would hold joint practices with the Jaguars in Foxborough and the Texans at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia . . . Though it wasn’t listed on the NFL transactions wire, New England signed defensive end Caleb Kidder, according to a tweet from his representatives at Reign Sports. Kidder was released by the Vikings last week. The 6-foot-5-inch, 259-pound undrafted rookie piled up 31 sacks in three seasons at Montana . . . The first training camp practice of the season is Thursday at 9 a.m. Expect a full house.


Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com.