New England Patriots players can cross "act of God" off their list of possible excuses to be late for practice.
Special teams star Matthew Slater said Wednesday that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick made it clear he wouldn't have any time for players who blamed inclement weather for failing to be at practice on time.
"You certainly better leave yourself enough time to get here on time tomorrow," Slater said, per ESPN.com's Mike Reiss. "We all know there is weather. Coach has mentioned that several times to the team, so I wouldn't want to be the guy who is late tomorrow."
According to the Weather Channel, Winter Storm Grayson is threatening to cause "heavy snow, blizzard conditions, damaging winds and coastal flooding" throughout the New England region Wednesday night.
As a result, Patriots players could face tough sledding—both literally and figuratively—as they travel to practice Thursday morning. According to Reiss, Thursday's practice begins at 10:35 a.m. ET.
"I tell guys, 'Wake up earlier.' Especially if you don't have a garage or something," Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. "Wake up and go clean your car off. I think guys know. We're in the NFL playoffs. I think everyone, if you've been here for a week or two weeks, you kind of get that—'this guy Bill that talks every day in the early morning, he doesn't play.'"
Both Slater and McCourty have good reason to emphasize the importance of getting to the team's practice facility on time.
In December 2009, Belichick sent linebacker Adalius Thomas home after he was about nine minutes late to a meeting after a heavy snowfall the night before. Thomas told reporters he had almost gotten into an accident while driving to Gillette Stadium, but that didn't stop Belichick from punishing him, as well as three other late players, anyway.