FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – The Latest on the NFL’s season opener, Steelers-Patriots

7:45 p.m.

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To loud cheers from a soaked crowd – fewer than half the seats were filled in the heavy rain – Tom Brady jogged onto the field to begin warmups for Thursday night’s season opener against Pittsburgh.
The Patriots star, able to play after a federal judge vacated his four-game suspension handed down by the NFL in the deflated footballs scandal, was joined by backup Jimmy Garoppolo. Brady then walked over to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for a short chat.

As Brady began tossing the ball – presumably properly inflated – to receiver Danny Amendola, the precipitation slowed to a drizzle.

6:50 p.m.

While nearly all the attention has been on Tom Brady in the world of NFL quarterbacks this summer, Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger will set an impressive team record when he steps behind center against New England.

It will be Roethlisberger’s 159th start, surpassing Terry Bradshaw’s record for the Steelers of 158. Roethlisberger is 106-52 as a starter. He appeared in one game in 2004, his rookie season, as a backup.

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The two-time Super Bowl winner and the first quarterback to win the AP’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award, Roethlisberger has a bit of ways to go to equal Bradshaw’s four NFL titles. Then again, Roethlisberger is only 33.

6:20 p.m.

Heavy rain has put a dent in any festivities in the parking lots of Gillette Stadium hours before kickoff of the NFL season when the Patriots host the Steelers.

The wet weather prompted fans to raise hundreds of tents for tailgating, but they did so relatively quietly. The usual blaring music was missing. No one was chanting Tom Brady’s name or carrying a fake Lombardi Trophy – or even railing against the NFL for the deflated footballs case.

Instead most of the fans were just trying to stay dry before heading into the stadium.

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