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The Latest: Pats’ Brown joins wife for birth of their child

January 31, 2019

ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on Super Bowl 53 (all times EST):

6 p.m.

New England Patriots left tackle Trent Brown was excused from the team’s final media session before the Super Bowl to be with his wife, who had a baby.

A team spokesperson confirmed to The Associated Press that Brown’s wife was in town in the Atlanta area, and the offensive lineman would play in the game Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.

The 6-foot-8, 380-pound Brown was acquired by New England last April from San Francisco and started all 16 games at left tackle for the Patriots this season after previously playing right tackle for the 49ers.

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5:20 p.m.

Rams tackle Andrew Whitworth is the recipient of the NFL Players Association’s Alan Page Community MVP award for his work in the Los Angeles area.

Whitworth was not at the union’s news conference, and his wife, Melissa, accepted the award and the $100,000 check that will go to the Big Whit 77 Foundation.

Former Falcons tackle Mike Kenn introduced Melissa Whitworth and noted her husband went “above and beyond in serving his city.” Whitworth donated a game check to helping people in Thousand Oaks who were displaced by fires —the Whitworth family was one of them— and to survivors of victims of a mass shooting in the area.

“This means a lot to our family,” Melissa Whitworth said, “but not as much as it’s about the community of Thousand Oaks. I’ve never been through anything quite like the month of November in Southern California. Twelve people were murdered 5 miles away, and hour later our entire city was on fire.”

She noted there were firefighters “whose chose to save our house when theirs were burning.”

On a video, Whitworth called the honor “something so special because of community involvement.” He hoped the money would “make lasting change in our community.”

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4 p.m.

As chairman of the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee, Rodney Barreto is eager to show the NFL what it has been missing.

Next year the game will be played in Miami for the first time since 2010, and Barreto predicts visitors are “going to be blown away.” He led a Miami group attending this week’s game in Atlanta to brainstorm and promote the Super Bowl’s return to South Florida.

Miami has hosted 10 Super Bowls, which is tied with New Orleans for the most, but fell out of favor because of an aging stadium. The 2020 game was awarded to Miami after Dolphins owner Stephen Ross embarked on a $550 million stadium renovation that included a canopy and improved seating.

As a result, Barreto predicts Miami will again become a popular choice with the NFL and will host a game every five years.

The center of activity for the 2020 Super Bowl will be downtown Miami. Barreto notes the area has changed since it last hosted a Super Bowl, with new science and art museums, new hotels and improved rail service.

What hasn’t changed is the balmy weather in the winter. Barreto’s forecast for next year’s game: “Clear skies and 72.”

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3 p.m.

The Vince Lombardi Trophy will be part of a championship celebration at the end of Sunday’s Super Bowl that will include Joe Namath and Emmitt Smith.

Before the trophy is presented to either the Los Angeles Rams or New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a former Super Bowl champion from the winning franchise whose identity has not yet been determined will carry the prize on-field. He then will hand it to Smith, the MVP of the game 25 years ago.

Smith, in turn, will bring the trophy to Namath, the MVP of the third Super Bowl 50 years ago. Broadway Joe then will turn it over to Commissioner Roger Goodell for presentation.

Players from the winning team will line either side of a red carpet as the trophy, named for the Hall of Fame coach of the Green Bay Packers, champions of the first two Super Bowls, is paraded.

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11 a.m.

Larry Fitzgerald, Drew Brees and Travis Kelce are among NFL stars rewarding military veterans with trips to the Super Bowl.

Through USAA, they will be joined by Christian McCaffrey, Kirk Cousins, Case Keenum, Falcons coach Dan Quinn and former Browns great Joe Thomas in honoring the veterans for their service.

Fitzgerald is bringing Army Lt. Jameson Lopez to Atlanta. Lopez was responsible for coordinating more than 300 combat missions with the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces.

“Teaming up with USAA and The Pat Tillman Foundation to honor military veterans this year has been a very rewarding experience for me, first with My Cause My Cleats, and now with a Super Bowl ticket giveaway,” Fitzgerald said. “I had the opportunity to meet Jameson Lopez earlier this year and I’m happy to be able to help send him on a trip of a lifetime to the Super Bowl.”

Brees, teaming with the USO, is rewarding a Saints fans, hardly a surprise. Retired Army Sgt. Patrick Gray won several medals for his work in Afghanistan.

“As a lifelong Saints fan who has served our country for 20 years, this is simply a small way to say thank you,” Brees said.

Kelce’s recipient of a Super Bowl trip is former Army Sgt. Patrick Benson, a Bronze Star winner who founded the nonprofit War Horses for Veterans after he left the service.

“Sgt. Patrick Benson first served his country in the Army and now he continues his service by helping fellow veterans as they return home,” Kelce said. “In honor of his service, I am pleased to award, with the help of USAA and the VFW, a trip to the Super Bowl to Sgt. Benson.”

Quinn, a recipient of the NFL’s Salute to Service Award, worked with TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) to honor Zachary Boland, a marine private who passed away in 2016.

“Zachary Boland made the ultimate sacrifice, passing away during training, but his commitment to our country lives on courtesy of his father Bob, who served in the Army, and his brother Nathaniel, a current Marine,” said Quinn. “It’s a special privilege to team up with USAA and TAPS to award Bob and Nathaniel a trip to the Super Bowl.”

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