FOXBORO, Mass. — Teams game plan for the league's elite return men, such as Chicago's Devin Hester, Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson, New York's Brad Smith and New England's Brandon Tate.
On Wednesday, surely with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, Bills head coach Chan Gailey added Patriots right guard Dan Connolly to that list. Connolly's 71-yard return Sunday earned him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors, and it's had people talking for days.
Connolly received the second-quarter kickoff because the Packers were playing keep-away from Tate, and now the Patriots have a two-headed monster that has Gailey's head spinning with sarcasm.
"I think that’s a good story, but I don’t know when the last time that’s happened, probably not ever," Gailey said. "I hope we don’t kick it to [Connolly], to be honest with you."
However, Connolly missed Wednesday's practice with a concussion, and his status for Sunday remains in doubt so Gailey might have caught a break.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was later asked about Gailey's concerns in kickoff coverage.
"Yeah," Belichick said with a wide grin, "I bet Chan’s really worried about that."