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Bill Belichick, Tom Brady avoid questions on politics

HOUSTON -- At some point between a question on his game-day underwear routine and a commitment to appear on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, Patriots coach Bill Belichick truly seemed to be enjoying himself at Super Bowl LI Opening Night.

"There's nowhere I'd rather be than right here, right now," Belichick said.

While he took questions of all shapes and sizes, he was not eager to talk politics. After relaying fond memories of spending time with former President George H.W. Bush, Belichick was asked if he had any message for President Donald Trump.

Belichick laughed, shook his head and waited for another question.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, meanwhile, was asked to characterize his relationship with President Trump.

"I'm not talking politics at all," Brady said.

Brady was asked why.

"I just want to focus on the positive aspects of this game, my teammates and the reason why we are here," he said. "It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point. I just want to focus on the positive nature of two great teams competing at this level."

Falcons receiver Mohamed Sanu rang a familiar note on the night. He wanted to talk about football.

"I'm here because of my football talents, not because I'm Muslim. And I'm here to talk about football. So if you guys are going to continue to ask me about my religious beliefs, then I'm going to continue to tell you the same thing: I'm here to talk about football," Sanu said. "I respect all you guys, I have tremendous love for all you guys, but I'm here to talk about football."

Because of the fresh waves of reporters during an hour-long session, Sanu was asked repeatedly about President Trump's immigration executive order and he remained steadfast with his answers, usually thanking the reporter for asking.

"I have some feelings but I'm not really going to talk about it now," Sanu said. "Thank you."

Falcons safety Ricardo Allen said the team doesn't talk about politics much as a group, especially now as the team prepares for the Super Bowl.

"We know it does impact the world. But we can't let that sink inside our walls. Not saying we don't have respect for it because we do. We have a lot of respect for it," Allen said, referring to current events in the world. "We usually don't go into our meeting rooms and talk about what's going on outside. That kind of stuff, it's real. If you're bringing light to it, it can bring a team down. It can be a distraction. You could bring the smallest news from the outside and it could bring a divide."

Throughout the night, questions about politics were often followed directly by hard pivots into frivolity. In Belichick's case, that meant a question on his favorite foods (Maryland crabs) or a question from J.B. Smoove of Curb Your Enthusiasm, working as a correspondent for The Rich Eisen Show.

"One of the greatest shows on TV," Belichick beamed. "I'd do a cameo, sure. Tell (Larry David) to give me a call."

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