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By: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com
February 28, 2006

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As if things weren't already difficult enough heading into the offseason, it appears the Patriots may have another dilemma they'll need to deal with as they make their personnel decisions for the coming year.

Willie McGinest's Return is also in question (AP Photo)
According to the Boston Herald, while New England defensive lineman Willie McGinest is hoping to rejoin the team for the upcoming season, it's apparently going to require some maneuvering in order to keep him in a Patriots uniform. McGinest is reportedly due to make $8.3 million and is expected to be released prior to a $3.5 million roster bonus coming due in March. The move will save the team $6.8 million in salary cap space; however the next challenge may be getting him back under contract.

Sources close to McGinest told the newspaper that while it has been considered a foregone conclusion he would renegotiate with the Patriots and return, those same sources also apparently said that McGinest is prepared to walk away in the event he believes he's being treated unfairly.

Patriots vice chairman and president Jonathan Kraft told Fox Sports New England in a recent interview that he hopes McGinest will retire a Patriot.

"Willie was the first player we drafted in '94 and we all at the Patriots, not just anyone with the last name Kraft, but everyone internally has an incredibly strong feeling towards Willie," said Kraft. "I think Willie has one toward the organization. In an era where guys don't spend their whole careers with a team, guys of that magnitude, it would be awesome if we could.

"I think that this is another case where you've got to know what the rules are, and then you can sit down and address the different situations. But I think everybody would like to see Willie retire as a Patriot."

Needless to say that McGinest will join Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri as one of the long-time veterans who may be on their way out of New England, adding drama to what will likely continue to be an interesting offseason.


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