FOXBOROUGH — Philip Rivers couldn’t help but laugh at the memory of his most notable interaction with Bill Belichick. In fact, the Chargers quarterback couldn’t help but laugh during his most notable interaction with the Patriots coach.
And it was not a time when most players would laugh.
Belichick and his staff were coaching the AFC team in the 2010 Pro Bowl — an annual affair that by all accounts is taken lightly by most, particularly the defenses. Apparently, this one was taken a little too lightly by the AFC, which fell behind, 42-0, and headed to halftime trailing, 42-7.
That was about all Belichick could take.
Rivers was one of three quarterbacks on the AFC team along with Peyton Manning and Matt Cassel, each of whom had thrown interceptions during the first 30 minutes.
“We’re getting blown out at halftime and [Belichick] kind of called us all up and said, ‘Hey, we can tackle. I know it’s the Pro Bowl and all of that but can we tackle somebody today? Let’s just go out and make this a little bit respectable in the second half,’ ’’ Rivers recalled through laughter during a Wednesday afternoon conference call.
But Belichick wasn’t just going to tweak the defense. He left the offense have it, too.
“And then he looked over at us quarterbacks and we had all thrown an interception. Thank goodness I wasn’t the only one and he said, ‘It would help if you guys would stop throwing it to the other team.’ ’’ Rivers continued. “I got a kick out of that because I’m sitting there with Peyton Manning and Cassel, and if Peyton’s not my all-time favorite, [he’s] one of. I was glad I wasn’t the only one that had thrown it to the other team. I thought that was pretty good. I got fussed out at halftime of the Pro Bowl.’’
The AFC did make it respectable, outscoring the NFC, 34-13, in the second half — boosted by a pair of Rivers touchdown passes — but ultimately lost, 55-41.
Devin McCourty returned to practice, giving the Patriots a full house as they continue their preparations for Sunday’s playoff game against the Chargers.
The Patriots started practice on the lower grass field behind the stadium but moved it to the stadium field at some point.
McCourty left the regular-season finale against the Jets after suffering a concussion and was held out of practice last week. He was listed as a full participant Wednesday, as was receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, who missed the Jets game because of a knee injury suffered in the Week 16 win over Buffalo.
Tight end Dwayne Allen (knee) and defensive end Deatrich Wise (ankle) were limited participants.
Also spotted at the windy full-pads workout were the newest members of the practice squad: defensive back A.J. Howard and offensive lineman Dan Skipper, who at 6 feet 9 inches and 317 pounds is pretty hard to miss.
Still in the mix
With the Packers, Broncos, and Browns naming coaches over the last two days, the last possible landing spot for Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores is Miami. Flores interviewed with the Dolphins last week and is still in the mix . . . Chargers running back Melvin Gordon was held out of practice to rest sore knees, according to coach Anthony Lynn, who said he is “highly confident” Gordon will play Sunday . . . New England signed defensive tackle David Parry to a futures/reserves contract. The 6-2, 317-pound Parry went to Stanford and was drafted by the Colts in the fifth round in 2015. He spent two seasons with Indianapolis and also has been in the Saints and Vikings organizations . . . James White was the recipient of the third annual Ron Hobson Good Guy award, which is presented to the “player who handles the media with class and responsibility.” Hobson covered the Patriots for 50 years for the Patriot Ledger. “I just try to be the same person every day, walk in with a smile on my face,’’ White said with a laugh. “I know you guys have a tough job to do, tough getting answers from guys like us. So, I appreciate you guys, for sure, for the award.’’ The previous winners were Matthew Slater and McCourty.