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New England Patriots practice in blizzard during bye week

By Alex Butler

Jan. 4 (UPI) -- New England Patriots players braved a blizzard while practicing during their bye week ahead of the AFC Divisional playoffs.

That's because coach Bill Belichick believes that "every day is a work day."

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Patriots players paced around practice Thursday in Foxborough, Mass., as swirling winds blew snowfall sideways.

A powerful winter storm is hitting the Northeast with hurricane-force winds. The storm left 95 percent of Provincetown without power at the tip of Cape Cod at one point. Wind gusts of 75 mph hit elsewhere in Massachusetts.

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Still, Belichick told his players Wednesday not to be late for practice.

"You certainly better leave yourself enough time to get here on time tomorrow," Patriots special team ace Matthew Slater told ESPN. "We all know there is weather. Coach has mentioned that several times to the team, so I wouldn't want to be the guy who is late tomorrow."

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The Patriots got in some time outside, but eventually funneled into the Empower Fieldhouse, where it appeared to be much warmer. New England began practice shortly after 10:30 a.m.

Patriots players know that Belichick is serious when he tells them to be on time. In 2009, he sent linebacker Adalius Thomas back home after he arrived late to a team meeting. Thomas was also dealing with traffic and snowfall while en route to the session. Randy Moss, Gary Guyton and Derrick Burgess were also sent home for being late.

"You're told to call, and you call, you get sent home," Thomas said at the time, according to NFL.com. "That's not an excuse, [but] I could have been in the ditch. They really don't give a damn, honestly. As long as you ain't in the meeting, they really don't give a [expletive]."

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The Patriots own the top seed in the AFC playoffs.

"I like to prepare our team for the game the best that we can so there are a lot of things that go into consideration on that," Belichick told reporters Thursday. "Take them all in and make the decision thats best for our football team that's what I try to do."

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