TRAINING CAMP COUNTDOWN: 6 days until Patriots training camp

We’ll kick off this morning with a piece from Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, who took the time to look at all the different scenarios surrounding the Tom Brady contract saga, which has caused quite a stir this entire offseason.  As far as a potential holdout goes, Riess held his weekly chat yesterday and stated quite emphatically that when camp begins – Brady will be there.

Jeff Howe of NESN.com previews the Patriots tight ends, and feels that this could potentially be one of the most versatile groups they’ve had in quite some time.

Howe also has another entry focusing on the fact that with all the departed veterans, the team is in need of leadership in order to be successful this year.  In the article he takes a look at several different groups of players who could end up stepping into that role.

Andy Benoit of the New York Times has their preview of the Patriots, and he claims that “the dynasty has ended” here in New England.  He offers up a bunch of reasons why he believes that, along with looking at each position on the team heading into this season.

Christopher Price of WEEI.com has an article this morning where he breaks down the roster heading into camp, and he’ll be rating players from 1-82, with the first 10 available in today’s edition.  Be sure to check it out.

First round draft choice Devin McCourty experienced his first taste of Massachusetts rush our traffic last night, which caused him to be 45-minutes late for his appearance at Modell’s Sporting Goods in Medford.  The good news for Patriots fans is that the rookie appears pretty confident that his contract is going to be done in time for him to report to Foxboro this Sunday, and when asked by the Boston Herald what he hoped to get out of camp, he’s told the newspaper that he’s simply just excited to start working with his teammates.

“Just bond with my teammates,” he answered. “It’s my first time ever playing in the NFL. It’s a dream come true. Just getting out there, being with those guys, learning from the older guys, guys who have been there. I’m just excited being able to play at this level and learning so many different things.”

A terrific story that needs to be pointed out is one that is in the Boston Herald this morning, with Patriots receiver Wes Welker spending time with U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Downing.  According to the report, after 9/11, Downing re-enlisted into the military, only to become a double-amputee when his Humvee hit a roadside bomb while on patrol in Afghanistan in 2008.  His story inspired Welker, who said he wanted to meet him.

“Society has it completely wrong by making athletes heroes,” Welker told the newspaper. “Mike Downing is the real patriot. When I heard his story, I wanted to meet him.”

“He’s such an inspiration,” said Welker. “He’s not bitter or angry. I don’t know if I would have re-enlisted after serving my country. He’s made such tremendous sacrifices, and he has a great attitude. It’s something we can all learn from.”

It’s a great story, so be sure and take a moment to read the whole thing.

Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe addressed Brady’s contract situation on Fox 25 here in New England, and also shot down the idea that Brady has become too Hollywood - along with the notion that there’s a disconnect between fans and New England’s star QB.  Disregard the headline, and if you watch the video you’ll find that the footage of him with Gisele makes them look less like two famous people, and more like a couple who is simply in love.

Glen Farley has an article that ran in the Norwich Bulletin this morning where he says that New England’s offensive line feels incomplete without Logan Mankins, and his absence would definitely be a downgrade to that unit.

Joe Gill of Boston Sports Then and Now is doing a series on “50 Years of Patriots Football”, and will be offering up a piece over the next week looking at each decade that we’ll be running here at PatsFans.com.  His first edition ran late last night, covering the birth of the franchise and its first decade - and is definitely worth checking out. 

Jim Donaldson talked about what it was like to cover the team “back in the day”, and has comments from some of the guys who covered the Patriots before they became one of the NFL’s elite franchises.

Christopher Price takes a look at New England’s training camp schedule and notes that the Patriots will be among the top teams in the league in terms of the number of two-a-days by the time it’s over.  With all the young guys they have this year it appears that head coach Bill Belichick is trying to get everyone working together, and more time on the field means more time to bond and become a tighter group. 

Albert Breer of the Boston Globe takes a look at another Patriots’ opponent, focusing on their week 10 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts.

 OTHER NFL HEADLINES:

ESPN.com has an interesting look at Michael Vick, who is back in bankruptcy court.  The article outlines Vick’s unbelievable financial spending, along with the chain of events that lead to him spending time in prison over the dogfighting ring that put him behind bars. 

Recent reports have said that Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed may start the season on PUP, but it appears that there’s quite a “disconnect” between him and the Ravens after the team recently refused to send him game tape.  His comments in the Carroll County Times certainly make it sound like things are starting to get ugly between the two sides.

In case you haven’t heard, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant became the first player to reach a deal with his new football team yesterday.  According the Associated Press the deal is for $11.8 million over five years, with at least $8.3 million guaranteed.

That’s it for this morning.  Enjoy your Friday, and we’ll have more updates throughout the day.