BY DAN BEGNOCHE
For most involved in Sunday's Patriots-Rams match-up in London, it's a trip across the pond away from friends and loved ones. For others, however, it's a family reunion.
A few New England players will be taking the opportunity to meet up with relatives from across Europe, who will now have the rare opportunity to travel just a short distance to see a live game and do some visiting.
“I have an uncle who married an English woman, and I think they live there part of the year, go back and forth,” Patriots right guard Dan Connolly told the media Thursday. “I also have some relatives in France that are making the trip over.”
Punter Zoltan Mesko, born in Romania, has family still in Europe as well, and he was looking forward to showing his relatives the ins and outs of America's football.
"I'm excited to show my cousins and uncles what the game's all about," Mesko told reporters Thursday. “Hopefully we get to enjoy a dinner or two. It'll be a nice time to see them.”
For the Patriots not so lucky to have family in Europe, it's an opportunity to bond with teammates. Quarterback Tom Brady alluded to the extra time Wednesday, saying that type of bonding is harder to come by back home.
“Yeah, I think you're together for extended periods of time, which is always fun," Brady said. "People are away from all their other commitments, certainly. At a home game, there are a lot of commitments that different players have, so when you go away, sometimes it’s really nice for the players to get some rest, to get some extra preparation, that extra time with your coaches. On this particular trip, we have more time than that.”
The Patriots' last trip across the Atlantic was just over a three years ago, when the team trounced Tampa Bay 35-7 at Wembley Stadium. Coach Bill Belichick noted the time change as the biggest factor in the trip overseas, with maybe the crowd a close second.
“There's some random cheering out there and the wave or whatever," he said, "things like that that if you're not really paying attention sometimes – like if I'm on the bench talking to somebody and you hear the crowd go crazy, you think something has happened, but that's their cheer or their chant or whatever it is. There are some different dynamics like that.”
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