TRAINING CAMP COUNTDOWN: 8 days until Patriots training camp

Just about one week to go until camp is here, and the Patriots announced the practice schedule for training camp yesterday, with the team kicking things off with seven two-a-day sessions.¬† Next Thursday at Gillette fans can catch the morning practice from¬†9:30-11:15 AM, while the afternoon practice will run from¬†3:45-5:30 PM.¬† The full schedule is available at Patriots.com, and you’ll definitely want to check their site in the morning if you’re planning on heading down – as it could always change.

Albert Breer of the Boston Globe has more on how the Patriots’ joint practices against the Saints and Falcons will work, with the Saints being the first opponent, and the one New England fans will be able to catch in person here in Foxboro.

Breer also scouts the Cleveland Browns, whom the Patriots will face in Cleveland on November 7th.

We’ve seen quite an infusion of young players, and with the departure of a lot of New England veterans like Rodney Harrison, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, etc. – Breer points out that it’s also made the Patriots change their draft strategy.¬† He looks at who New England took while the veterans were on the team, and who was selected after their departure.

ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss was on the Mike & Mike radio show yesterday, and talked about a variety of topics, including the biggest one on the minds of most Patriots fans, and that’s Tom Brady’s contract situation.¬† Reiss expects Brady to be in camp next week, and also discusses the difficult situation that owner Robert Kraft is in, as Kraft is one of the leading owners in the labor standoff between the players and owners.

Reiss also has some more news and notes, and points out that wide receiver Torry Holt has caught a pass in 168 straight games, which is the second longest streak among active players and the ninth longest in NFL history.  He also points out who the team will face in 2011, with a trip out west to Oakland coming up.

They’re apparently paying attention to the Tom Brady situation out in California, with the Sacramento Bee reporting that Brady would look good in a 49ers jersey in the event New England fails to reach an agreement on a new contract with him.¬† One interesting note – the article points out that in the past two decades only John Elway and Brad Johnson have won Super Bowls past the age of 33.

The other day we mentioned the visit to Sea World by wide receiver Randy Moss¬†– which was first pointed out by Christopher Price of WEEI.com.¬† NESN has a quick video of Moss’ visit, which includes footage of his time with Sir Winston, a 2,200-pound walrus.¬†

Michael Hurley of NESN also takes a look at the potential of Brady holding out, and says all the discussion is “meaningless”.¬† Hurley says Brady will be in camp next week, and while the story should end there – it likely won’t.

However, NESN’s Jeff Howe feels that Brady’s contract could become an unnecessary distraction for New England, and would prefer to see them get him signed, and “bury the story”.

Reiss held his weekly mailbag yesterday and made an interesting suggestion, pointing out that it may not be a bad idea if the Patriots go the way of what the Titans recently did with runningback Chris Johnson, and that’s offer both players some money to “sweeten the deal” in good faith until more light is shed on the current labor situation.

Mike McDermott of the Providence Journal reports that a poll released by Harris Interactive has found that Brady is the eighth-most popular American sports star. He was not in the top 10 when the poll was conducted last year.

Reiss reports of a jersey number change, with second-year running back Thomas Clayton switching to jersey No. 35.  He was previously No. 46, and is considered to be a long shot to make the roster.

Sorry, came accross this and I’d leave them out but¬†unfortunately each time I include these incredible stories – you click on them anyway – so obviously you must be curious.¬†¬† The Boston Herald has a photo of Brady’s ex Bridget Moynihan, who was at the recent premiere of “Ramona¬†and Beezus”.¬† She and son Jack¬†were apparently¬†entering the Greenwich Hotel in New York‚Äôs TriBeCa neighborhood, and as a result of this breaking news the Herald has a mention of this amazing event.

OTHER NFL HEADLINES:

The Washington Post reports that training camp begins¬†for other teams this week, with the Cleveland Browns’ rookies scheduled to report to their camp in Berea, Ohio. on Friday.¬†¬† The Dallas Cowboys are scheduled to report to their camp in San Antonio, Tex., on Saturday, while the rookies for the New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers report to camps Sunday.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com has an article this morning where he suggests that the NFL should suspend players who took money in college.¬† Florio feels that since it’s ultimately the schools who pay the price since the players are more or less free of any consequence after making it into professional football, having the NFL suspend them may be more of a deterrent to keep them from doing it in the first place.

And finally former Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins head coach Jimmy Johnson is joining the world of reality television.¬† ESPN.com reports that¬†Johnson is¬†apparently¬†set to join the cast of ‘Survivor Nicaragua’.¬† This is terrible news for me, as it may end my consecutive streak¬†for the number of¬†years of having never watched the show.

That’s it for this morning.¬† Hope everyone has a good day, and be sure to stop by our Patriots Message board and join in on the latest fan discussion.