Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com has an article this morning on offensive lineman Ted Larson, who was waived by the team at the start of last season in hopes of having him clear waivers and return to the practice squad.  Instead he was claimed by Tampa Bay, and went on to have a terrific season.  Reiss points out that with all the questions the Patriots have and the uncertainty surrounding Logan Mankins, it’s likely a personnel decision they may be second guessing.


As the battle ensues regarding the use of the franchise tag by the NFLPA, Logan Mankins could be stuck in limbo. (PHOTO:Icon/SMI)

WPRI out of Rhode Island has an article on Patriots fan Scott Crane, who suffered a massive heart attack at the playoff game last month against the Jets at Gillette Stadium.  According to the report three volunteers, each doctors and nurses from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, helped him to the first aid station (see this video of the report).   Crane was unconscious and did not have a pulse, but the medical team worked quickly to get his heart beating again.  This is the second public story that we’re aware of involving a fan suffering a severe medical emergency, and fortunately for Crane his story turned out O.K. – because the last one didn’t.

Glen Farley of the Patriot Ledger ponders whether or not to watch Sunday’s Super Bowl, and offers up some reasons why fans may want to.  I didn’t watch last year’s because I didn’t want to potentially have to witness seeing Peyton Manning win his second ring.  Luckily he would go on to throw an interception which was returned for a game clinching touchdown, and it sealed the game and gave Drew Brees and the Saints their first championship.  This year I don’t want to see Ben Roethlisberger potentially win his third title and enter into the same conversation as what Tom Brady and the Patriots have accomplished.  Needless to say considering how last year worked out – I’ll probably find something else to do Sunday night.

John Cockrell has his “Friday Outtakes”  for Patriots.com, and takes a humorous look at Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers, and gives an interesting comparison of the two quarterbacks heading into Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe has his “On Football’ column this morning, and takes a deep look into some of the issues going on with the current labor situation.  As it stands right now the two sides are extremely far apart, with the current Collective Bargaining Agreement set to expire on March 4th.  The most recent issue is over the league’s announcement that the teams have the right to apply the franchise tag to players, which NFLPA General counsel Richard Berthelsen says they have no right to do.

“There’s no franchise tag without a new CBA, it’s as simple as that. We have a lot of things in the agreement that say, ‘In each year covered by this agreement . . . ’ But when the agreement ends, those rights don’t survive. It’s very simple. This isn’t rocket science.
 
“The collective bargaining agreement clearly says that they get one franchise player for every season covered by this agreement. They already had it for 2010; 2011 isn’t covered by this agreement, so that means the right to have it ends.

Christopher Price of WEEI.com points out with the confusion surrounding this current situation involving the franchise tag, it may cause quite a problem with Patriots offensive guard Logan Mankins, who is still without a new contract.

Mike Reiss has a similar article, and points out that for now Mankins is stuck in limbo as the fight between the two sides doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon.

Reiss also published his chat transcript from yesterday where he discussed a variety of topics with fans.  It’s an interesting read, and there are several tidbits worth checking out in this one.

The New Hampshire Register has an article this morning on defensive lineman Ron Brace, who helped try and get students at Mauro-Sheridan Science, Technology and Communications School excited about eating broccoli Thursday.  According to the article the school held a kickoff for the city’s participation in the national grassroots healthful food initiative, “Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools.” The program seeks to provide 6,000 salad bars to schools over the next three years and Brace was on hand to help try and make kids think “it’s cool” to eat salad.  Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald reported via Twitter that it was a torn ligament in Brace’s elbow that sent him to IR, but he’s expected to be ready for training camp.

Rapoport also reports that a ceremony was held at the Sheraton in Dallas, with the Patriots offensive linemen being awarded the Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award presented by Prilosec.  In the article is a photo of Dan Koppen, Dan Connolly and Mark LeVoir, who were on hand to accept the award on behalf of the rest of their teammates.

Along with the award, Aron Angel of NFL.com asked them what Brady’s reward was for protecting him well enough to earn the AP Offensive player of the year honor, Koppen said, “We’ll let everybody keep guessing, but he’s very generous and very fashion forward.”   According to Koppen it didn’t involve a new pair of Uggs, who the quarterback recently signed on to represent last year.

Tom Curran writes that Koppen is still having a tough time getting over to New England’s loss to the Jets last month.

“We definitely would have liked to be here under different circumstances, but that’s the way it works. That’s the NFL,” said Koppen. “We didn’t earn our spot to be here. We’ll just have to deal with that and learn from it and get better. It’s bittersweet.”

There are some other comments in that piece on his thoughts on the situation with some of his teammates heading into this offseason (ie: Matt Light, Mankins, etc.).

Mike Reiss reports that Patriots owner Robert Kraft is in Dallas, where he’ll be attending NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s “State of the League” news conference on the Friday leading up to the game.

Vic Carucci of NFL.com joined “The Big Show” on WEEI yesterday, and talked about a variety of topics including his thoughts on Roger Goodell’s comments about Belichick’s handling of his response to SpyGate.  The audio is available via this link for anyone who is interested in hearing the interview.

Kirk Minihane of WEEI.com writes that Goodell only has himself to blame for feeling “deceived” about the fact Belichick didn’t publicly apologize following the reports.  It’s a good read, so be sure and check it out.

Christopher Gasper follows up with an article of his own, saying Belichick “Needs a New SpyGate Game Plan.  Gasper apparently isn’t happy with the fact Belichick didn’t come forward following the fiasco and explain what happened to the media, and he feels that no amount of wins will change the public opinion people have about what transpired.  It’s an interesting read, but I disagree. 

Nick Underhill of MassLive.com ponders whether or not we could see Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald coming to New England next season.

Jeff Howe of NESN has a mock draft this morning, with this one seeing California Defensive Lineman Cameron Jordan being selected with the 17th Overall Pick.