New England Patriots

By Matt Dolloff,

Various Patriots players responded to the latest comments from members of the Philadelphia Eagles – and even former Patriots like Cassius Marsh – about their team culture and a supposed lack of “fun” that comes along with it.

They mostly had a simple explanation for the rewards that come with the team’s tough, disciplined work environment. Nothing’s more fun than winning.

“We’ve got a couple guys here who were in Cleveland and went 0-16. They said that wasn’t fun,” said Devin McCourty, referring to a pair of Patriots who came over from the Browns – his twin brother Jason, and defensive tackle Danny Shelton.

“I have fun,” said Stephon Gilmore. “There’s just no shortcuts. You’ve got to work for everything, and I like that. If you don’t want to take shortcuts, you’ll like it here.”

FOXBOROUGH, MA – JANUARY 21: Stephon Gilmore #24 of the New England Patriots deflects a pass intended for Dede Westbrook #12 of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fouorth quarter during the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Linebacker Dont’a Hightower showed why he’s the typical kind of player that Bill Belichick and the Patriots like to bring in. To him, work itself can be fun.

“I mean, to each his own,” Hightower said. “I don’t really have anything to say to [people who took shots at the team]. I mean, guys here, I know – I mean, it’s not for everybody. It’s definitely harder than most places, but I mean, that’s part of it. A lot of guys know that when they come here. But, I mean, in the locker room, it’s not Bill’s [Belichick] job to make this fun and this atmosphere fun; it’s the guys around it. Every guy in that locker room, I love like a brother.

“We have fun, whether it’s out here struggling together – blood, sweat and tears – or we’re back in the locker room or we’re hanging out outside of football. So, there’s a time and place for everything, but we know whenever we walk through the building, it’s time to work.”

The constant attacks from outside New England could have a chance to galvanize the Patriots, to give them a whole new rallying cry. Perhaps it leads to another Super Bowl. That would certainly be a lot of fun.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at