Welker also prefers to go sleeveless. “If I wear sleeves,” he said with a grin, “you know it’s cold.”
Seriously, Belichick is concerned not only with conditions at kickoff but how they change throughout the game.
“Sometimes, what it was three hours ago and what it is at that moment in time may or may not be the same thing,” he said. “That’s something you want to try and find out.”
The frigid air also could have a real impact on the kicking game. The ball is harder and doesn’t fly as far.
“You use pregame warmup to try to get a scope of how much it’s going to affect your ball,” said placekicker Shayne Graham, who played the past seven seasons for Cincinnati. “You know how to keep yourself warm on the sidelines. We’ve all been doing this job long enough to know how to do that.”
Not Aaron Hernandez.
The rookie tight end is just 21 and spent the past three seasons at Florida. He did play at Bristol Central High School in Connecticut, but its season usually ended before the snow and freezing temperatures set in.
“I just love football, so whatever weather it’s in” is fine, Hernandez said. “I prefer the warm, but if it’s not warm, we’ll work with it.”
On the chair in front of his locker were two red, yellow and black packages of “MEGA WARMER,” promising 12-plus hours of instant heat when worn inside his gloves. He even admitted he might wear long sleeves as protection against the Chicago chill.
“To each their own, man,” Light scoffed.
But Hernandez is prepared if his teammates tease him.
“If it happens,” he said, “I’ll just let it go through one ear and out the other.”
Assuming, that is, that he can hear through the head covering beneath his helmet.
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