Thursday New England Patriots Links 2/10

Ian Logue
February 10, 2011 at 11:03am ET

Rob Gronkowski continues to dodge questions about Patriots future
Colleagues take to Twitter to praise ‘perfect’ play-by-play man
Year after year, Gil Santos delivered
Bill Belichick pays tribute to Patriots Hall of Fame broadcaster Gil Santos
Bill Belichick pays tribute to the late Gil Santos

After doing some digging, there were some interesting stories this morning - so here are today's headlines:

Devin McCourty had more interceptions in his first NFL Season than he had during his entire collegiate career. (PHOTO:Icon/SMI)
In a story with a local perspective, the New Jersey Star Ledger has a good article this morning on former Rutgers star Devin McCourty.  McCourty, who was in attendence last night at the Villanova mens basketball game at the Rutgers Athletic center,  told the newspaper he didn't expect to have such a successful first season.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t,” said McCourty.  “I didn’t really expect much. For it to turn out the way it did — except for losing in the playoffs (to the Jets). Other than that it was just a great season.
“I expected to do good, but not that good.”

There are a lot of terrific quotes from McCourty in this piece, so be sure and check it out.

In another local story in the Twins Bulletin, Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko will return home Feb. 11 to join running back Mike Smith as the 2011 Twinsburg Athletic Boosters Hall of Fame inductees. The ceremony will reportedly take place around 7:30 p.m. before the basketball game at Twinsburg High School.

As you may have already learned the Patriots parted ways with defensive assistant Corwin Brown yesterday, and also saw strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik opt to take a similar job with the Dallas Cowboys.  Shalise Manza Young has an article on the changes, noting that 2010 was the final year of his contract and was one of the first coaches Bill Belichick hired when he arrived here in 2000.

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald has a similar article this morning on the changes, but notes that more may be coming today.

Jeff Howe of has an article on the fact NFL teams can start using the franchise tag designation today, however long-term it may not stick depending on what happens when the two sides agree on a new collective bargaining agreement. 

Karen Guregian of the Herald writes that Logan Mankins may be franchised today, and expects the Patriots to designate the tag on their Pro Bowl left guard.

Tom Curran of NECN echoes that, and says,  "Absent getting a long-term deal done, sources have told me they intend to use the franchise tag on him."

Erik Scalavino of (turn your speakers down or Bob will come blasting out of them) has an article this morning on New England's special teams in this morning's position "snapshot".

An interesting story in the Providence Journal involving former Patriots fullback Kyle Eckel.  Apparently there was a story involving Andy Reid potentially being fired, which came from a "source".  According to the newspaper the "source" was Eckel, who posted a status on his Facebook page  speculating that Gruden was in town to potentially replace him.
“Inside word,” Eckel posted on Sunday. “John Gruden is in Philadelphia right now shacked up in a hotel getting ready for something. My guess is he’s not about to join the Flyers’ coaching staff. New Eagles head coach? Looking like it.”

Christopher Price of takes a look at another potential player for the Patriots, focusing on Saints runningback Pierre Thomas in this morning's entry.

Tim Graham of ESPN takes a look at the AFC East and tries to figure out who needs what heading into April's draft.

WCVB President and General Manager Bill Fine has a brief editorial this morning on the fate of the NFL, and feels that a new deal is essential for the NFL's loyal fans and the small businesses that support and depend on the games.

And finally, John Beattie of NESN looks back on what was a wild media year for the AFC East Rival New York Jets.  From DUI's, to sexaul harrassment stories involving Ines Sainz, penis pictures of Brett Favre, foot fetish videos and adult personal ads for Ryan and his wife, and then the most recent one involving Mark Sanchez and a 17-year old girl named Eliza Kruger, it's been quite a year for the Jets PR department.  The most recent story involving Kruger is fascinating when you read this story on Deadspin, and it's taken quite a bizarre turn.  If you haven't already seen it, you may want to check it out.

That’s it for this morning.  As I said yesterday, be sure to tell a friend or share this with them on Facebook, and let everyone know to check here each morning throughout the offseason.  Help spread the word that you'll be able to find this collection of articles here daily, which will hopefully make it easy for you to keep up with what's going on with the team throughout the coming months.  

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