FOXBOROUGH — After the Patriots arrive in London early Friday morning, the only sights the team is likely to see are those that whip past on the bus ride from the airport to the team hotel.
Other than a scheduled NFL Fan Fest appearance Saturday at Trafalgar Square by Bill Belichick and six players, the Patriots have nothing on their itinerary in the way of sightseeing trips to Buckingham Palace or the Tower of London.
“That is not the intent of this trip, no,’’ Tom Brady said with a laugh Wednesday when asked if he planned to call on the royal family. “I don’t want to get myself in trouble. We’re going to London.’’
Even in a moment of jocularity, Brady was all business about the trip for the Patriots, who will log more mileage in two weeks (11,480 round trip) for games in Seattle and London than 11 NFL teams will all season.
The trip to London alone (6,500) will give the Patriots more miles than Green Bay (5,774) will travel all season.
“Coach Belichick does a good job of preparing us for stuff like this, but it’s really a road game,’’ said Brady, who last visited London with the Patriots in 2009 when they defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 35-7. “We’re leaving a few days early, and going in the opposite direction. I think it’s going to be important to get there and kind of get used to the environment a little bit.”
In contrast, St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher took his team to London Monday. The Rams arrived early Tuesday morning and conducted their first workout Wednesday at Emirates Stadium, home of the Arsenal Gunners, the English Premier League team owned by Rams owner Stan Kroenke.
“We felt that it would probably be best to come over early to put the travel behind us and the time difference behind us and get settled,’’ Fisher said Wednesday morning in a teleconference.
“I just moments ago got off the practice field and I’m very pleased and proud with the way the guys have responded to the time change. They brought a lot of energy to the field. We had a great practice.’’
Shiancoe not quite there
Visanthe Shiancoe has yet to play a game for the Patriots; he was placed on injured reserve Sept. 5 but with a designation to return (a new luxury for teams this season). If there were a game the 32-year-old tight end would want to play in, it would be the one in London.
Shiancoe was born in Manchester, England, though his family moved when he was a baby. He grew up primarily in Maryland and lists Laurel, Md., as his hometown.
But the rules that allowed Shiancoe to return to practice after Week 6 — Tuesday was his first day back — also prevent him from playing until after Week 8, meaning he’ll have to watch one more game before being eligible to return after the Patriots’ bye week.
“I’m excited, man, I’m excited to get out there,’’ Shiancoe said. “I’ll be even more excited to play. I can’t wait for that.’’
Position of honor
Devin McCourty was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his 104-yard kickoff return in the first quarter of last Sunday’s victory over the Jets.
Jason McCourty congratulated his twin brother by posting a message on Twitter that read: “Congrats to Dmac being named Special Teams player of the week. I’ve taught u well young grasshopper (J-Mac).’’
McCourty’s kickoff return was the second longest in team history, behind Ellis Hobbs’s 108-yard return, also against the Jets, on Sept. 9, 2007.
Sunday also marked the first start of the season for McCourty at safety, a position he was thrust into when Steve Gregory (hip) and Patrick Chung (shoulder) were listed as inactive.
“I leaned a lot on our coaches and then guys like Steve and Pat, who weren’t able to play last week, but I listened to those guys a lot and just tried to use my knowledge of the defense to help me out,’’ McCourty said.
Apart from having a different vantage point on the offense, McCourty said the biggest difference was “having a little more responsibility as far as making sure everyone’s lined up and everyone’s playing the same coverage.’’
Linebacker Jerod Mayo was among six Patriots who did not participate in practice at Gillette Stadium. Mayo injured his elbow in the second quarter against the Jets but returned with a sleeve on his arm to play the remainder of the game. He showed up on the injury report as “illness/elbow.’’ In addition, running back Brandon Bolden (knee), cornerback Ras-I Dowling (thigh), Gregory (hip), defensive end Trevor Scott (hamstring), and linebacker Tracy White (foot) were also missing from the shorts-and-shells workout. There were 12 players who were limited, including Chung (shoulder), wide receiver Julian Edelman (hand), tight ends Rob Gronkowski (hip) and Aaron Hernandez (ankle), linebacker Dont’a Hightower (hamstring), guard Logan Mankins (calf/hip), tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee), and wide receiver Wes Welker (ankle) . . . The Rams had five players miss practice and two others who were limited, including wide receiver Danny Amendola (shoulder), who was injured in a Week 4 win over Seattle. “Just from the initial reports, I thought it was going to be quite a little bit longer for him to get back out on the field,’’ said Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. “Any time you get him back out there, I think it just brought a whole spark to the group today.’’