FOXBOROUGH — Adrian Clayborn has been a healthy scratch the last two weeks after playing in the Patriots’ first 14 games, and the veteran defensive end acknowledged Wednesday it’s not easy being a spectator.
“Yeah, it’s frustrating. I’ve never been inactive before,’’ said Clayborn, who has 2.5 sacks and 12 quarterback hits this season. “But I haven’t had an easy career thus far and it won’t be easy going forward, so I just have to roll with the punches. It’s no sad story. It’s just what it is.’’
Clayborn declined to get into specifics about why he hasn’t played or what conversations he has had with his coaches but said his focus is on staying positive and staying ready.
“I’ve just got to keep my mind on what’s ahead. Whether I’m playing or not, I’ve got to be ready,’’ Clayborn said. “Not much I can do other than that — it’s not my decision.’’
Clayborn is the second veteran lineman benched this season, with tackle Danny Shelton sitting for Weeks 13-15. He returned the last two weeks.
Coach Bill Belichick talked about what goes into the decision to deactive players on game day when asked about Shelton on Wednesday.
“So, I mean, look, there’s a lot of guys we could have played in the last couple weeks that were inactive that we just couldn’t activate,’’ said the coach. “So, it was [Shelton] a couple weeks. It’s been other players. In the end, we just have to pick the ones we feel like would be the most important for that particular game, it changes week to week.’’
Devin McCourty, Dwayne Allen, and James Develin were the lone players absent from a sun-splashed Patriots practice Wednesday afternoon.
McCourty suffered a head injury early in the second half of Sunday’s 38-3 win over the Jets. The Patriots safety and captain isn’t expected to be sidelined for an extended period of time.
Allen was limited and questionable for the Jets game but played a total of 28 snaps (26 on offense, two on special teams) in the win.
Develin announced on Instagram that he and his wife were expecting their third child. Develin’s post including a picture of his wife and two boys with a caption that read, in part, “Adding another member to this crew in a few short hours.”
The Patriots will practice again Thursday and likely will have Friday off. Because they are off this weekend, the team is not required to issue injury reports.
Patriots rookie linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley touched on the life of fellow Purdue student Tyler Trent, who died Tuesday after a lengthy battle with a rare form of bone cancer.
The 20-year-old Trent was an avid fan of the Boilermakers and his very public fight gained the national spotlight as he worked to raise awareness and money to research a cure for osteosarcoma.
Bentley, a two-time captain at Purdue, became close with Trent and his family. Trent, who was made a captain for life for the Purdue football team, attended last week’s Music City Bowl, where his beloved Boilermakers played Auburn.
“He was a hero. He was a hero to all of us,’’ said Bentley, who has been on the Patriots’ injured reserve list since Week 4. “In many ways, how he lived, he did more in his time than many of us will do in our lives. He made an impact on so many people’s lives and became worldwide. . . . During his toughest times, he was finding a way to make other people better rather than complaining about what he may have been going through, which was the worst time of his life.’’
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and linebackers coach Brian Flores will have their interviews for the Packers head-coaching job on Friday, according to ESPN . . . Flores also is expected to interview with the Dolphins, Browns, and Broncos . . . Belichick said this week is being used on internal issues. “Once we find out who we play, we’ll turn our attention to that team,’’ said the coach. “So, in the meantime, we’ll prepare to be ready for whoever it is, and most importantly try to work on things that will benefit the New England Patriots no matter who we play.’’ . . . The Patriots averaged a 35.0 average household rating this season, the team’s highest number since registering a 39.9 in 2015. The team had the highest TV rating in the local market for 15 of 16 weeks in the regular season, and 19 of 20 weeks when you include the exhibition season. The one exception came in Week 8, when the Red Sox’ World Series-clinching Game 5 Sunday night broadcast earned a 43.2 while the Patriots’ win over the Bills the next night came in at 37.3.