Archive for March, 2011

More Details Emerge on the Brandon Meriweather ‘Alleged’ Shooting

In a story that’s been fairly odd to start with, more details have emerged regarding Brandon Meriweather and his alleged involvement in a shooting last month.

Bob Hohler of the Boston Globe reports that Meriweather was indeed present during the shooting that left two men injured last month in the safety’s hometown of Apopka, Florida – but it sounds like he wasn’t the one who fired the gun.

According to Hohler the incident started at the Blue Jeans Lounge around closing time, citing an anonymous witness. Meriweather was reportedly with his cousin, Quentin Taylor, and his friend, Nico Stanley, when a melee apparently erupted between Stanley’s sister and another of Meriweather’s cousins, Cedric Payne. She reportedly got into a physical confrontation with Payne.

From that point they reportedly went back to Payne’s residence, with Stanley and Taylor arriving later to confront Payne over the scuffle. Taylor went at Payne and that’s when Meriweather reportedly stepped in to try and break up the fight.

“When Quentin came full force at Cedric, Brandon jumped in the middle to try to break up the fight,” their relative told Hohler. “Brandon had no influence on the fight and didn’t have a gun on him.”


The more details that come out, the less believable it sounds that Meriweather was the one who fired the shots in last month’s alleged shooting incident. (PHOTO:Icon/SMI)

As Meriweather jostled between his two cousins, one of Taylor’s friends, whom the witness identified to Hohler as Anton Massey, drew a handgun and fired at Payne, mistakenly striking Taylor and Stanley. The witness said Meriweather played no other role in the incident other than as a peacemaker.

The interesting thing is that if Taylor and Stanley were the victims, with Meriweather in between them one would have had to believe that they would have clearly seen he wasn’t the gunman.

Their representative, John Morgan, was on local radio here in Boston earlier on Thursday and admitted he didn’t know for sure if Meriweather – who in the incident report obtained by NESN wasn’t even listed – was the one who fired the weapon.

“I became involved when two clients came to our firm, referred to me, who had been shot at a party two Sundays ago outside a home in Apopka,” Morgan said on WEEI this morning. “There’s an ongoing investigation. The only thing that I can tell you today that’s indisputable is that our clients were shot.”

It’s a bizarre story to say the least. So far a lot of what’s been said doesn’t necessarily add up, with Meriweather being the one who appears to have taken a lot of unnecessary criticism throughout today’s events. There’s no question that the fact he was part of this incident will reflect badly on him, but an article by Tom Curran that ran earlier today certainly makes you think something doesn’t smell right. If a gun goes off in February and charges aren’t being considered until the second week of March (with no police record to back it up), it makes you wonder just how legitimate the accusations really are.

Needless to say the story continues to get more interesting. The team earlier issued a statement saying, “We are aware of the reported allegation, but do not have any additional information.” However, Meriweather has finally started moving forward defending himself and the Boston Herald reports he has hired a lawyer. According to that report a defamation of character suit may also not be too far away in the event Meriweather is found to be innocent once the investigation is complete.

His attorney, Adam Swickle, told the Herald, “I don’t sit back and deal with this kind of (garbage).”

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Meriweather Allegedly Involved in Shooting

Brandon Meriweather already had a questionable season last year, and if the latest reports are true, it appears his offseason isn’t going well either.


Rumors are swirling that Meriweather was involved in a shooting, but so far there has yet to be a report confirming it was indeed him. (PHOTO:Icon/SMI)

The Boston Herald reported this morning that it appears that Brandon Meriweather may have been involved in a shooting down in Apopka Florida recently.

According to the report rumors surfaced yesterday involving the Patriots safety, however the Public Information Officer in the Orange County (Fla.) Sheriff’s office told the newspaper they had no record of Meriweather being connected to any crime.

But the Herald points out that a report by Deadspin.com this morning has an on-the-record account from a lawyer for two alleged victims, saying Meriweather shot his two clients.

John Morgan, the attorney for the two alleged victims, told the website that Meriweather fired at the his clients outside a house party after one of Meriweather’s friends got beat up.

“That’s when Meriweather allegedly pulled out his gun and fired at the brother,” the report says, “grazing the man’s face and hitting the other victim in the head, according to Morgan. ‘He’s extremely lucky to be alive,’ Morgan said.”

For now these are just allegations and as the newspaper points out, the police had no record of it yesterday. Whether or not it ends up being true is another story.

Morgan actually appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show on WEEI this morning and said he actually has doubts whether or not Meriweather was the shooter, which may end up debunking the original report. Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe also has a source that told him it “wasn’t him”.

“That’s what they told me,” Morgan said of his two clients during the interview. “I don’t assume that to be true at all. I assume nothing to be true until we get the investigation completed.”

So for now we’ll have to wait and see if there is indeed any truth to the reports. Meriweather has yet to come forward and defend himself, and it appears that in the media facts are still being gathered as we wait to hear exactly what’s true, and what isn’t.

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Kevin Faulk Unsure About Retirement

The Boston Herald caught up with Kevin Faulk, who reportedly spent time brightening the day of a few patients at Brigham & Women’s Hospital on Wednesday.


Will Patriots runningback Kevin Faulk come back next season or retire? (PHOTO:Icon/SMI)

According to the newspaper Faulk touched on his future with the Patriots as he continues rehabbing knee.

“I don’t know,” Faulk told the Herald. “I honestly don’t know. Like my wife tells me, ‘You’re giving me so many different scenarios, so many different feelings about coming back. You want to play, you don’t want to play, it’s just a factor of going out there, seeing how I feel. I still love the game of football. That’s one thing. I still love the game of football. it’s just a factor of how my body feels. I gotta be real about that. I’ve been playing a long time. I’ve been fortunate enough. Is it time to let it go? Is it time to come back? You never know.”

Faulk told the newspaper he estimated that he’s about 75-percent, in terms of his rehab. Should he return the New England, he’d have to sign a deal with the team, which obviously can’t happen until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached.

For now he’s continuing to work hard and said that he’ll continue to take it slow as he continues trying to get himself back into shape – and decide on his future.

“It’s coming along in stages just like anything else,” Faulk said. “I’m in the next stage and hopefully the next stage after that. But it’s getting better each and every day. And once it gets better, don’t try to take five or six steps. Maintain what’s going on and be smart about what you’re doing.”

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CBA Deadline Extended Until March 11th

Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network reported on Friday that the NFL Collective Bargaining agreement has been extended seven days, keeping the current deal in place and extending the negotiations for another week.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, no roster moves or player transactions can be done during that period.

Negotiations are reportedly set to resume Monday, with the sides said to be taking the weekend off. La Canfora points out that despite the break, the seven-day clock would not stop in that case, meaning both parties will have five more days of negotiations, lasting through Friday, March 11 – with the deadline now set at 5pm.

In the report NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters Friday that the issues between the two sides are continuing to be discussed, and that continued talks are the only way progress will get made toward reaching a deal.

“This is going to get resolved through negotiations, not through litigations,” Goodell said. “So, talking is better than litigating.

“We’re going to continue to work as hard as we can. I promise.”

La Canfora also said that lead NFL negotiator Jeff Pash credited federal mediator George H. Cohen and his team for bringing structure and discipline in these talks, and that it’s time for them to “dig deep” and find a way to start working toward an agreement.

“There’s been tremendous amount of discussion,” Pash said of the extension. “It’s time for us really to dig deep and try to find solutions and try to be creative and try to compromise in a way that will work for everybody.

“If both sides give a little, everyone can gain a lot. And that’s what we have to try to do next week. It’s a challenge. We’ve got very serious issues, we’ve got significant differences, but we are committed to collective bargaining.”

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Lockout Deadline Extended

The NFL Network’s Kara Henderson reports that the NFL and NFL Players Association agreed Thursday to a 24-hour extension of the negotiating window for a new collective bargaining agreement, which extends the deadline for at least one more day.

According to the report, momentum to approve the idea of “stopping the clock” had been building all day Thursday as the sides reportedly met for over eight hours in front of federal mediator George Cohen. The original deadline for the expiration of the current CBA had been 11:59 p.m. ET Wednesday.

The report also states that the terms of an extended deadline are open to negotiation, citing a league source. Now some of the questions remaining appear to be how long they’ll continue to keep this window open, along with how it corresponds to the league year (ie: free agency, player transactions, etc.). That’s reportedly what talks are centered on now. NFL.com reports that the NFLPA still isn’t willing to take decerification of the table, according to sources, just as the NFL owners also won’t rule out the possibility of a lockout.

So now it comes down to how tonight’s negotiations go that will decide what happens next, but it’s good news for fans who were obviously dreading this deadline. The fact that they’ve agreed to keep things open and continue negotiating is clearly a positive sign, although the number of issues they still need to work out are numorous (and financially large enough) where it’s doubtful they’ll work everything out in one night. However if they’re at least willing to continue communicating, that’s somewhat encouraging.

It’s a move in the right direction, especially considering there are already some big names lining up on the players’ side to fight what had appeared to be an impending battle.

Hopefully if we’re lucky enough, it won’t come to that.

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Brady Agrees to Be Head Plaintiff Against Owners

The Boston Herald reported on Thursday that while Patriots quarterback Tom Brady may be close with owner Robert Kraft, it looks like we may have an interesting situation about to go down.


Brady is joining other big names including Peyton Manning and Drew Brees as the battle looks set to begin between the players and owners. (PHOTO:Icon/SMI)

According to the Herald’s Ron Borges, Brady has agreed to be a lead plaintiff in the union’s anti-trust case against the NFL if the union decertifies, citing a source close to the on-going negotiations.

For fans that means that Brady will join up with other big names in the battle between the players and the owners, including Peyton Manning and Drew Brees in a labor battle that appears to be looming should there be no Collective Bargaining Agreement before tonight’s deadline.

It’s well documented that both Brady and Kraft have a great relationship, and while the two won’t exactly be “facing off”, it’s still a bad situation. However, as we know “it’s a business”, and the differences between the two sides appear to be such that there may be a work stoppage on the way until they figure it out.

Needless to say this could be an ugly PR battle that one would have to believe the owners don’t want, and if things continue – it appears we’re in for a tough road ahead until this is worked out.

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A Second Round Tender For Green-Ellis

After breaking out with a 1,008-yard season in 2010, runningback BenJarvus Green-Ellis has apparently done enough to prove he belongs in New England.


Green-Ellis’ value has certainly shot up after originally joining the team as an undrafted free agent. (PHOTO:Icon/SMI)

According to the Boston Herald, the Patriots have placed their first restricted free agent tag on Green-Ellis, with the newspaper reporting it’s a 2nd-round tender.

Green-Ellis has three accrued seasons, and the tender will reportedly pay him roughly $2 million.

Green-Ellis was originally signed as an undrafted free agent on May 1, 2008, before being later waived by the team on August 30, 2008, and later signing to the team’s practice squad on September 1, 2008. After a lot of hard work and determination he worked his way up to the active roster on October 11, and got his first start after Laurence Maroney was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

Despite the tender, it’s unclear with the Collective Bargaining Agreement set to expire whether or not the move will hold up, and Green-Ellis reportedly won’t sign it until the labor situation is settled.
Restricted free agent tenders along with franchise tags are just two of many issues set to be fought over as the NFLPA and the owners try and work out an agreement, with the current CBA ending tonight at midnight.

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Patriots G Stephen Neal Retires

Prior to the start of the last offseason, Patriots guard Stephen Neal had doubts about whether or not he’d call it a career, wondering if his body could handle another NFL season.


Patriots G Stephen Neal is hanging it up after nine seasons here in New England. (PHOTO:Icon/SMI)

Neal ended up playing out one more year, and now apparently he’s decided he’s had enough.

The Patriots announced in a press release Wednesday night that the veteran guard is hanging up his cleats, and will reportedly retire after being a part of this football team since 2002.

The former Cal-State Bakersfield Championship wrestler has been battling injuries his entire career, and started the first eight games of last season before heading to injured reserve one final time with a shoulder injury.

Following the playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens in 2010, a dejected Neal said at the time he didn’t know if his body could hold up for another year, and sounded like he was going to retire then.

“I’m not sure,” Neal said at the time. “I’m not sure how my body is going to feel. I’m not sure if I’ll keep playing, keep getting in them car accidents each week. We’ll have to find out, talk to the family, see what options are available.”

Two months later he signed a contract with the team on March 5th, but this final injury seems to have caused him to decide enough is enough.

Neal started 81 of the 86 career regular-season games in which he appeared. He also started in each of the 12 postseason games that he played in during his tenure here in New England.

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Patriots to Cut Kaczur

As if the Patriots don’t have enough questions on their offensive line, the Boston Herald reported last night that the team will be parting ways with offensive lineman Nick Kaczur.

According to the newspaper the team approached the seven-year veteran about taking a massive pay-cut based on his impending salary of $3.4 million for 2011, citing a source. Kaczur reportedly refused.

Kaczur was injured last season during training camp and despite hopes on a return, ended up on injured reserve. This lead to the team ending up very thin up front, especially with Logan Mankins holding out during the early part of the season. Fans saw Dan Connolly filling in and doing an admirable job, but he later stepped aside when Mankins came back and we saw the disgruntled veteran go on to have a Pro Bowl season.

The team is already facing plenty of questions. Left tackle Matt Light is a free agent, and the team placed the franchise tag on Logan Mankins but he’s yet to sign it. Most believe that even if he does, we could see a repeat of last year where he’ll holdout until he absolutely has to report. Granted all indications so far are that they want to keep him here and work out a long-term deal, but to this point things haven’t sounded positive judging by his agent’s comments last week.

How that plays out remains to be seen, as everything for now is pointing toward a potential work-stoppage as the March 3rd deadline approaches.

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