Gronkowski pops into White House briefing

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Trump's welcome to the team, scheduled for early afternoon, is coming hours after the news from MA prisons officials that ex-Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez hanged himself in his prison cell.

According to Brady, he is unable to attend the ceremony due to some personal family matters, and if they're invited to visit the South Lawn again, he will certainly attend.

But Brady's statement (published at NFL.com) about skipping the White House visit is hard to interpret as a political gesture. He continued to day that the Pats had done something special, and they are all proud of it, and will be for years to come.

The quarterback said he hoped the team could win another championship and visit the White House again soon, and wished his teammates well. "Have a great day!"

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"It is a distinct honor for us to celebrate what was unequivocally our sweetest championship with a very good friend and somebody whose mental toughness and strength I greatly admire", Kraft said. He said a "family commitment" prevented him from attending the 2015 ceremony held by then-President Obama.

Reports suggest Brady's mother is in town from California and he has chosen to spend time with her.

Gronkowski was visiting the White House with his Super Bowl champion Patriots teammates.

The ceremony itself was a decorous affair after Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had injected a note of comedy with an impromptu visit to White House press secretary Sean Spicer's daily briefing to journalists.

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President Trump made several mentions of specific players during his speech, including Danny Amendola (for his 4th down conversion), Trey Flowers (for his epic sack) and Julian Edelman (for his incredible catch), along with Marcus Cannon, Matt Slater, Nate Ebner and Malcolm Mitchell.

"With the president having so many strong opinions and prejudices, I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won't", he said.

The five-time Super Bowl champion has referred to President Trump as a friend and has said that he's "always had a good time with him".

New England Patriots CEO Robert Kraft awarded President Donald Trump with a helmet and jersey bearing the president's name. However, many members of the team, including quarterback Tom Brady, were noticeably absent.

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