WASHINGTON — The New England Patriots toured the White House Wednesday as part of the Super Bowl win tradition.
"He's becoming a pretty famous guy for winning - you and Belichick," said President Donald Trump about CEO Robert Kraft during a ceremony on the lawn.
Most of the team was together at the White House, getting to tour the West Wing and once again celebrate their comeback win in the Super Bowl.
"The pundits had them losing - the pundits, what do they know," Trump said, working the crowd.
Trump gave special shout outs to Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Marcus Cannon, Matt Slater, Malcolm Mitchell and Nate Ebner.
"This Super Bowl victory was a complete team effort - that's the beauty of what they do - they win as a team," said Trump.
Trump has repeatedly mentioned his long-time friendship with Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
"We are privileged to be here...and there are great Patriot fans here," said Belichick, gesturing to the crowd.
He then presented Trump with a Super Bowl 51 helmet.
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Belichick also thanked the White House staff for the tour and hospitality.
Earlier in the day, Robert Gronkowski had crashed into Press Secretary Sean Spicer's daily press briefing, causing quite the commotion and many laughs.
Several members of the team did not attend the ceremony because of the man whose hand they would be shaking.
Chris Long, Alan Branch, Legarrette Blount, Martellus Bennet, Dont’a Hightower and Devin McCourty said they are not making the trip to Washington, D.C.
Our own Butch Sterns asked McCourty about his decision.
“We’ll have a lot of fun at the ring ceremony,” he said. “We had a lot of fun at the after party. We had a lot of fun on the plane coming back. The ring ceremony is really the thing where the last time the team gets together… where you get to enjoy everyone on that team. So I don’t, me personally, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.”
Two years ago when the team met with then-Pres. Barack Obama at the White House to celebrate the Super Bowl 49 win, Tom Brady did not attend, due to prior obligations. He did not visit this year again, citing family obligations.
Early Wednesday morning, former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez was found hanged in his prison cell by corrections officers. He was taken to UMass Leominster where he was pronounced dead an hour later. He was convicted of murder in 2015 and released from the Patriots in 2013. He was not mentioned during the ceremony at the White House and the Patriots organization declined to comment.
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