December 17, 2017

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The Latest: Gronkowski pops into White House briefing

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AP Photo/Susan Walsh

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the New England Patriots’ visit to the White House to celebrate their 2017 Super Bowl championship (all times local):

12:55 p.m.

The New England Patriot’s Rob Gronkowski paid a surprise visit to the White House briefing room during Wednesday’s televised briefing.

The tight end popped his head into the briefing room and jokingly asked Press Secretary Sean Spicer whether he needed any help, drawing laughs. “I think I got this. But thank you,” Spicer responded.

The Super Bowl champions are visiting the White House to accept congratulations from President Donald Trump for another NFL title.

Spicer, a Patriots fan, seemed to appreciate the interruption, saying: “that was cool.”

10:17 a.m.

Star quarterback Tom Brady will not join his New England Patriots teammates Wednesday when the Super Bowl champions visit the White House to accept congratulations from President Donald Trump for another NFL title.

The White House said it was notified that Brady was dealing with a “personal family matter” and will not attend the ceremony.

Trump’s welcome to the team was coming hours after the news from Massachusetts prisons officials that ex-Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez hanged himself in his prison cell.

Hernandez, who played for the Patriots from 2010 to 2012, was serving a life sentence for a murder conviction. Days ago, the 27-year-old former tight end was acquitted of a double murder.

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