Another memorable experience: Spending a week in Israel with the Patriots

ISRAEL TO BOSTON – Spending the last week in Israel with a group of 15 current and former New England Patriots players, with the assignment to put together a television package to run on ESPN, was a memorable experience.

Because of that, there is no regular quick-hit thoughts and notes column this week.

Interviewing Stephen Gostkowski in Tel Aviv.

But a nearly 12-hour plane ride home offered plenty of time for thought and reflection. I thought a lot about my family. I also thought about how covering the Patriots has opened the door for experiences that could have only been a dream back on Day 1 of the job in 1997.

This marked the 27th time that Patriots owner Robert Kraft has led a mission to bring people to Israel, a place he has said he fell in love with in 1963 when arriving with his wife Myra for their honeymoon.

The 2019 mission included current players Stephon Gilmore, Stephen Gostkowski, David Andrews, Isaiah Wynn, Nate Ebner, Brandon King and Joe Thuney, as well as former players Drew Bledsoe, Ty Law, Kevin Faulk, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Scott Zolak and Andre Tippett. Many were joined by spouses or family members, and Super Bowl LIII Most Valuable Player Julian Edelman was added to the group briefly later in the week.

It was an action-packed six-day itinerary, arriving on Monday afternoon and departing on Saturday night. Kraft already had good reason to be in Israel this week, as he was accepting the prestigious 2019 Genesis Prize on Thursday.

I am anxious to get started on putting together a television piece that captures the experience through the eyes of those on the mission, and will be sure to relay when it airs.

So many powerful, poignant moments.


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