TRAINING CAMP COUNTDOWN: 12 days until Patriots training camp

ESPN’s John Clayton has the Patriots runningbacks “On the Radar” this morning, taking a look at how New England is going to need for someone to step up this season and take the pressure off of their passing game.

Syracuse.com has a feature on former Patriots coach Dick MacPherson, who like Troy Brown is being enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame this weekend.

The Charlotte Observer reports that former Boston Patriot Dennis Byrd is in the hospital with a heart problem, although no real word is available in the article on his condition.  Byrd was drafted No. 6 overall in 1968, and played two seasons with the Boston Patriots before a knee injury forced him to retire.

The Salem News reports that former Patriot David Givens joined several Boston College players last weekend for a youth football clinic in Peabody, Massachusetts.  It apparently was a big hit for the 139 kids who were on hand for the event.

“The BC guys were unbelievable with the kids, and of course Givens was a big hit,” said¬†John¬†Layton, who started the event last year and is a former football player¬†at Northeastern. “Peabody High head coach Scott Wlasuk brought 20 of his high school players down and they worked with the kids the whole day. Coach Jim O’Leary from St. John’s Prep was there and David Bavaro (a former Patriot who grew up in Danvers) gave a speech. It was just a great day.”

The Los Angeles Times has an entertaining read on an upcoming plot of HBO’s ‘Entourage’, which apparently involves the NFL potentially moving back to LA.¬† It includes a mention of owner Robert Kraft, along with some other funny storylines.

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald has a blog entry talking about Kraft and how he manages the challenges the team faces every year going into training camp. 

Ricky Doyle of NESN.com has more on yesterday’s report of Randy Moss hiring new agent Joel Segal.¬† Segal is also the¬†agent for¬†wide receiver Brandon Tate and defensive lineman Gerard Warren, and according to Doyle¬†is considered an expert in helping players secure endorsement deals, which Moss recently said he was looking for.

Cross Terrell Owens off your wish list.¬† According to Adam Schefter, who reported this via Twitter,¬†Owens isn’t coming to New England.¬† If Schefter says it, it must be true.

Schefter also points out that wide receiver Wes Welker recently filmed a “This is SportsCenter” commercial with ESPN, and has a picture of he and Welker from the shoot.

One last note on Owens –¬†Ross Tucker of SI.com¬†had¬†a great comment in his mailbag on Friday, giving his reason as to why he feels¬†Owens is still unemployed:

“I don’t know [where Owens is going to end up], but I do know that T.O. has finally reached the stage of his career where his on-field performance no longer outweighs the risk that he will be a locker room disruption. That’s one of the beautiful things about the NFL: the stuff you do will eventually catch up with you. T.O. is paying the price for his antics in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas right now.”

Patriots.com reports that the tickets for the first ever college football game to be played at Gillette Stadium between UNH and UMASS this fall will go on sale on Tuesday, July 20th, beginning at 10am. 

OTHER NFL HEADLINES:

FoxSports.com has a piece this morning on their “Top 10 Teams that Deserve a Super Bowl“.¬† It’s an interesting read, although it may be a long time before some of the teams find their way to the NFL’s biggest stage.

Christopher Price of WEEI.com has an interesting blog entry on Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who appeared on Dennis & Callahan on Friday.¬† Carroll¬†claims that “one guy” took down USC, and has more on the scandal that is currently¬†plaguing¬†the university.

NFL.com reports that commissioner Roger Goodell will be visiting some of the league’s training camp sites next month, and will be¬†paying a¬†visit to¬†seven teams.¬† According to the report¬†he’ll¬†start off in New Orleans on Aug. 2., and then will join John Madden on his bus for visits to the Philadelphia Eagles on Aug. 3, the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins on Aug. 4, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns on Aug. 5, and the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 7.¬† Considering the fact the New York Jets will be on HBO’s Hard Knocks, I’m kind of surprise Goodell isn’t paying them a visit purely for the sake of¬†getting some television face time.

And finally¬†Green Bay Packers defensive end Johnny Jolly has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy – which is an understatement to¬†say the least.¬† The Green Bay Press-Gazette has¬†the most information I’ve seen on this story, with court records stating that Jolly ‚Äúbought, sold, funded, transported and aided in the buying, selling, funding and transportation of illegal narcotics including cocaine and marijuana.‚Ä̬† The league handed down the most severe punishment we’ve seen so far without a conviction, but it appears after doing their due diligence and looking at the evidence – there didn’t seem to be much working in Jolly’s favor.