Author Archives: Ian Logue

Ian Logue

About Ian Logue

Ian Logue is a Seacoast native and owner and senior writer for, an independent media site covering the New England Patriots and has been running this site in one form or another since 1997.

Daily Notebook: Wednesday Patriots News and Notes 4/26

Ian Logue
April 26, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

We’re at the halfway point for this week, and here’s a look at today’s top stories.

Bayless: Patriots “Outrageously Better” than Rest of NFL – With the news of Malcolm Butler not being traded, FS1’s Skip Bayless believes that New England’s talent, which included the addition of former Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore along with running back Mike Gillislee, has them as what he believes to be the “prohibitive favorite” right now.

“All I know is that in all my years of covering the National Football League, which is a lot of years, I can never remember on April 25th a more prohibitive favorite that New England is today,” said Bayless.  “Now you two [referring to Shannon Sharpe and Joy Taylor] know all too well how much can go wrong in August, September and October, but right here, right now, they are outrageously better than anybody else in the National Football League.”

“Let’s get this straight,” continued Bayless. “They’re able to keep Malcolm Butler to pair with their free-agent signing Stephon Gilmore, the best corner on the market, and now Buffalo has allowed them to keep Mike Gillislee.”

Bayless believes the Gillislee pick up is one of the strongest additions for the team, rounding out New England’s offense and putting them with such a competitive advantage, he can’t even think of a team on their level.

“I don’t even know who the second best team is in the NFL is today.  Is it the New York Football Giants with no running back to speak of?”, continued Bayless.  “It’s like head and shoulders above the field right now.”

Blount is drawing interest from the Giants

Blount Drawing Interest From the Giants – Following Mike Gillislee’s addition on Monday, the Patriots backfield became too crowded for LeGarrette Blount, who appears unlikely to return in 2017.

Blount, who reportedly had an offer on the table by New England that he turned down earlier in the offseason, now finds himself as the odd man out with the team he won two championships with.  As a result, he’s left to pick himself up and move on for the second time after leaving via free agency following the 2013 season, but it looks like he might at least have a landing spot.

According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, there is reportedly a “mutual interest” between the Giants and Blount, which could potentially reunite him with former Patriots running back Shane Vereen.

One player who already appears excited at the prospect of Blount joining the team is former running back Brandon Jacobs, who believes the free agent would be a “great” addition to the club.

With the draft full of running back prospects, Blount may hope that a deal gets done sooner rather than later, otherwise his options may continue to dwindle for him to find another opportunity between now and the beginning of training camp.

McGinest Talks Draft With Belichick – With the draft creeping closer, former Patriots defensive end Willie McGinest authored a piece on recently discussing Bill Belichick’s draft story.

While the story’s title states the obvious that the team’s draft strategy centers on making the most of every selection, McGinest offers some insight he received after talking to Belichick last weekend about this topic.

It’s simple: The Patriots aim to draft as efficiently as possible. Throughout the draft process, they break down players and several scenarios that could play out. There could be a special talent they’re willing to trade up for (SEE: Chandler Jones and Hightower in 2012). Or the Pats hold their position if they think the player they like will still be on the board when they’re on the clock (SEE: Brown, who went 32nd overall in 2015). Or the Pats consider trading down to get a better value for a player who isn’t necessarily high on their board.

One interesting point McGinest revealed was how Matthew Slater ended up being taken in the 2008 draft.  Belichick told him they weren’t sure exactly what position he’d play, but he felt there was enough talent to warrant making the move to take him.

In our conversation over the weekend, Belichick mentioned making a move for Matthew Slater in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. The Patriots weren’t sure whether Slater would be a defensive back or wideout, but they did recognize that he was talented and could immediately contribute and improve the team. In this instance, they saw value and risked the trade — and it has paid off. Slater has been one of the NFL’s best special teams players over the last decade, making six Pro Bowls and earning first-team All-Pro honors last season. Slater simply makes plays that positively affect field position. Hidden yardage isn’t talked about enough in today’s fantasy-crazed football environment, but it’s a major factor.

McGinest then goes on to list off the players he believes would be good fits with the Patriots, picking two players from each side of the football.  You can CLICK HERE to see who he selected.

Belichick and the front office haven’t let up this offseason.

Lombardi on Belichick’s Draft Methods: “No one was permitted to mention rounds” – Mike Lombardi knows Belichick well from their time together in Cleveland and he shed some light into Patriots head coach’s mentality as it pertains to the draft.

Lombardi had a piece on “The Ringer” where he talked about how the two came up with a grading system that Belichick still uses today, which is one of the things behind New England’s success.

“Thankfully, Bill Belichick and I were always on the same page,” wrote Lombardi.  “When Bill joined the Browns in 1991, the two of us spent the better part of his first season designing our grading system. We wanted to define the prospect’s role on our team, and we wanted to predict how long it would take for him to achieve that role. That’s it. Instead of predicting rounds, our system forced our scouts to grade every player as (1) a starter, (2) a potential starter, (3) a developmental player, (4) a backup, or (5) someone who couldn’t make any NFL team. In Belichick’s room, no one was permitted to mention rounds — that job was for useless coffee-guzzling scouts and cliché-spouting TV commentators.”

“Our grading system became a language of its own; it proved to be effective enough that, even all these years later in Foxborough, little has changed. Ever wonder why the Patriots always move backward in the draft? Most times, their draft board features maybe 14 or 15 potential day-one starters — grades dictate everything. Why waste a first-round pick (and first-round money) on one of those 14–15 prospects if you believe you can land one later and land another asset?”

That makes sense given some of the talent they’ve been able to add over the years, although this offseason has seen them trade quite a few picks in return for known commodities, whether it was through a direct trade or as we saw on Monday, losing their 5th round pick after signing Gilislee to an offer sheet the Bills declined to match.

Either way the Patriots have had one of the most memorable offseasons in recent memory, leaving most everyone feeling pretty excited about what the future might hold this season.

Josh McDaniels Playoff Strategy the Latest Glimpse at the Team’s “3 Games to Glory” – Anyone looking forward to the release of the new “3 Games to Glory V” will tell you that the Patriots are no strangers to including plenty of terrific behind-the-scenes footage, and the team released a glimpse of it yesterday that took fans into the meeting room leading up to their match-up against Houston.

In the video, you’ll see Josh McDaniels working with his offensive assistants such as receivers coach Chad O’Shea as they put together their plan and you can basically see a glimpse of how the 13-yard touchdown to Dion Lewis came to light.

Great stuff as usual, and it should be something every fan will want to add to their collection. It’s available for pre-order for release on May 2, and will definitely be a fun way to relive what was certainly an incredible season.

Daily Notebook: Tuesday Patriots News and Notes 4/25

Ian Logue
April 25, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Looks like it’s going to be another crazy Tuesday. Here’s a look at today’s top stories.

Patriots Get Gillislee – For the second straight offseason, the Patriots raided Buffalo’s roster and the Bills are left without a key player heading into the 2017 season.

One year removed from having lost Chris Hogan after the Patriots put together an offer sheet Buffalo couldn’t match, New England got the best of them yet again by doing the same thing with running back Mike Gillislee.

Monday’s 4pm deadline for Buffalo finally revealed Gillislee’s fate and despite taking the entire week to do so, the Bills ultimately decided to decline to match the Patriots’ offer sheet.

It has to be frustrating for Buffalo knowing that Bill Belichick and the Patriots front office got the best of them two years in a row, leaving them forced to watch the fourth-year standout from Florida line up behind Tom Brady this season.

The Bills’ PR department announced the decision three minutes early at 3:57pm on Monday via Twitter with two terse Tweets.

It’s a great move for the Patriots, who pick up a solid player to carry the football for the mere cost of just a 5th round pick and the $6.4 million he’ll earn over the next two seasons.

His addition fills out a backfield that now features Gillislee, Rex Burkhead, James White, Dion Lewis, D.J. Foster and Brandon Bolden.  More importantly, it likely spells the end for LeGarrette Blount, who remains a free agent and may now have to find a new team to play for after Gillislee’s signing.

It seems Butler might be back for one more year.

Butler Likely Sticking Around – One month ago it looked like Malcolm Butler’s time in New England was coming to a close and it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he’d be playing elsewhere in 2017.

Instead, it appears the likelihood of him playing at least one more year for the Patriots might be a reality and that’s good news for fans who are hoping to see New England head into the season with a formidable pair of cornerbacks in their secondary.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it’s “highly unlikely” that Butler will be traded this offseason, which given Schefter’s similar take so far with Jimmy Garoppolo, means that Butler will still be part of the team this season.

That’s good news considering that Butler seemed to be on a collision course with the Saints after visiting with New Orleans last month.  There appeared to be a mutual interest but New Orleans never gave Butler an offer sheet, having said publicly there was no way they were going to part with their #11 selection and things appear to have cooled since.

Butler signed his restricted free agent tender last week, which put him under contract for the upcoming season and opened up the possibility for New England to trade him now that he’s officially signed.

Instead, that may no longer be a possibility, which is good news for a player who will certainly make them that much better paired with newcomer Stephon Gilmore this season.

Patriots Pick Up Cap Space With Amendola’s New Deal – The final numbers are out and according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Danny Amendola’s new deal frees up a fair amount of cap space.

Reiss reported on Monday that Amendola’s new contract freed up $4.75 million worth of cap space, giving an already well-stacked team even more financial flexibility.

According to Reiss, Amendola received $100,000 in the form of a signing bonus, a base salary of $1.25 million, and he can earn an additional $300,000 in per-game roster bonuses at the amount of $18,750 per contest.

The even better news is it keeps one of the most consistent postseason performers on the roster at a reasonable cost, which is something every fan in New England should definitely be feeling good about.

Robert Kraft is the latest victim of a ridiculous hit piece on DeadSpin.

Another Day, Another Witch Hunt – We’ll close with this because after just coming across it, I think my head is going to explode.

After a Monday full of debates surrounding Tom Brady’s philanthropic practices, it appears there’s one writer who has reappeared after falling off the face of the earth and this time, he seems to be looking for vengeance.

Prime Patriots hater, former New York Post writer Bart Hubbuch, the man who was fired from the newspaper for an inappropriate Tweet during campaign, has landed with Deadspin and resumed his obsession with taking down the franchise he clearly doesn’t like.

Hubbuch wrote an article Monday night about Robert Kraft’s apparent affiliation with a corporation he claims puts him in violation of the NFL’s policy surrounding gambling.  Hubbuch’s story focuses on the fact that Kraft is a board member of private-equity firm Appolo Global Management, which in 2008 teamed up with TPG Capital to buy a controlling 60 percent interest in Caesars Entertainment.

According to Hubbuch, while Appolo’s stake dropped to 16 percent during an ongoing bankruptcy fight, they still hold an interest in the company.  Kraft reportedly joined their board of directors back in May of 2014 as one of just eight directories of the company.

As Hubbuch points out, Kraft is “profiting off of casino gambling and sports betting” and that the NFL “knows all about it” but hasn’t done a thing to shut it down.

Hubbuch cites what he believes to be a “notable example” of why Kraft should be punished after the NFL forced Tim Rooney — the son of Steelers’ founder Art J. Rooney — to sell his entire stake in the team in 2008 because Yonkers Raceway, which he owned, received a gaming license.

That seems to be what Hubbuch is trying to force here with Kraft.

Hubbuch later cited the league’s policy where he was told by NFL spokesperson, Brian McCarthy, that the diversity of the company and the small percentage of the overall related to gaming wasn’t enough to violate their rule.

He disagrees, citing one sentence he feels puts Kraft in violation with his emphasis in bold.

“NFL Personnel may own interests in publicly-traded enterprises where less than one-third of the enterprise’s gross revenues or operating profit in any of the last three years is attributable to gambling-related operations, so long as the NFL Personnel does not own more than 5 percent of the company’s stock and does not serve as an officer or director of the company.”

A league spokesman told Hubbuch that Kraft is not in violation of the policy because “the NFL didn’t consider Kraft’s Apollo stake a violation of the casino ban because Caesars Entertainment is one of more than 100 businesses in Apollo’s portfolio.”

Hubbuch disagrees and went on from there to complain about how he originally wrote this story a long time ago and voiced his frustration about how he was shut down after approaching Patriots spokesperson Stacey James and the story never ran.  From there, he went on a bizarre rant to complain about his frustration with losing his job with the Post and the unfair treatment he believes Kraft and the team receives from the league.

Honestly, as the piece turns into Hubbuch’s vehicle to vent, it just really becomes strange to read. When he was a reporter for the Post it all seemed like an act and a persona he was putting out there for the sake of getting followers.  Reading this now, it appears to be just how he is, and his obsession and comments are alarming to say the least.

It’s a strange twist considering two months ago he was suing the Post for firing him, one month ago he dropped the lawsuit and on Monday, he drops this.  It’s definitely a strange turn of events and whatever Hubbuch is trying to ultimately accomplish, all he’s managed to prove is that he’s still a, really, really disturbing individual.

Daily Notebook: Monday Patriots News and Notes 4/24

Ian Logue
April 24, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Hope all of you had a good weekend, and now it’s time to get back to it.  Here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.

Sunday Tear Down of Brady – For some reason, the Boston Globe decided to treat an article regarding Tom Brady’s philanthropic interests as some sort of in-depth investigation that required prime attention in Sunday’s edition of their newspaper.

The focus of the story, written by Bob Hohler, centered on Tom Brady’s allocation of the money raised by his charity, Best Buddies, which Hohler wrote went to additional charities the quarterback supports.

According to the Globe, while Brady has helped Best Buddies raise $46.5 million, the charity has contributed $2.3 million toward Brady’s other chosen charities, which, while news-worthy, certainly doesn’t exactly require the type of attention that the Globe felt it was worth.

So money raised by Brady’s charity ended up contributing to other charities…got it.  Feels a lot like nothing to see here.

We won’t get into too many details of where the money went aside from the fact that the newspaper reported donations went to the University of Michigan (Brady’s college alma mater) for cancer research, Dana-Farber Cancer Center, Mission of Hope Haiti, and the Navy SEAL Foundation.  His former high school also received a contribution.

So again, while interesting, it’s hard to act like the newspaper found a smoking gun.  Yet, as expected, other publications are now jumping all over it like it’s a big news story.

Well done by the Boston Globe, which did a great job overshadowing this piece from the Herald about Brady from just two days ago, which, oddly enough, didn’t get the same national coverage that the Globe’s did.

But as we begin the week, don’t be surprised if the next few days are spent by some in the media trying to make more out of it than it already has been.

Matt Chatham said it best:

And yes, we should.

Schefter Sticks to His Story On Garoppolo – With the NFL Draft quickly approaching, there will be some discussion this week involving Jimmy Garoppolo but according to Adam Schefter, he’s not going anywhere.

This is a story that Schefter reported back in February and so far he’s been right, as the Browns were among the biggest suitors for the quarterback’s services but they’ve since seemingly moved on.

But Garoppolo’s presence is just another part of a roster that overall is looking pretty strong from top to bottom.

Bill Belichick is wise to ride this train until the end as the Oakland Raiders were a prime example of how important it is to have a viable back-up sitting behind their starter.  The loss of Derek Carr last year completely derailed any hope they had of a deep playoff run, and having Garoppolo at least gives the Patriots a shot should they find themselves in a similar situation.

Hopefully they won’t need him, but it’s clearly a risk worth taking since it gives them their best chance to stay alive if Brady, who will be 40 this season, goes down.  Where it will get interesting will be after this season when the team could be faced with a difficult decision involving either quarterback, depending on how Brady plays.  If it’s business as usual for Brady, Garoppolo may finally get his opportunity to start elsewhere next season.

But for now, we’re on to 2017 and, as nice as the possibility of getting draft picks from him might be, having Garoppolo here for another year certainly won’t hurt.

Edelman and Amendola’s Shenanigans on Display Sunday – One of the best parts of Danny Amendola’s recent news of a restructure means that he and Julian Edelman will be together for at least another season.

The two are pretty hilarious and on Sunday they were out skateboarding in Boston while asking fans to come find them.

The duo are seen throughout the video skateboarding around the city, including one point where it got a little dicey after one player found himself in tight quarters in between a couple of vehicles.

Thankfully, disaster was averted and the two are seen at the end getting fired up for the Bruins, who unfortunately lost game 6 in overtime and were eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday.

From there, Edelman was at the University of Rhode Island in Edwards Auditorium Sunday night as part of URI Springfest:

In the above video, Edelman apologizes for being late after catching the Bruins game but told those waiting for him that he would see them soon.

Ryan Fined for Play in Super Bowl LI – Apparently the NFL handed out a fine to former Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan, which was due to a play where it was ruled he committed unnecessary roughness during the contest.

Mike Reiss of ESPN cited a report in his Sunday notes from Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky, who is now covering Ryan in Tennessee with his new team, where Ryan received the news but couldn’t even recall what play it was that lead to the fine.

Ryan had a busy night, finishing with six tackles but was never penalized, so it’s unclear what play caused the $9,115 penalty he received from the league.

Fortunately for Ryan, thanks to the 3-year $30-million deal he signed with the Titans during this past offseason, he can afford it.

Rams Waive Jackson After Failed Physical – Former Patriots guard Tre’ Jackson seemed like he ended up in a good situation in Los Angeles with the Rams but that opportunity ended before it ever got started.

According to, Jackson failed his physical, which reportedly stems from the knee injury he suffered last season that is apparently still an issue.

As a result, it leaves him still looking for work and considering the type of player he was here before he got hurt, hopefully for his sake, he’s able to recover and get another opportunity.

ESPN WON’T TIP PICKS – Apparently the league will continue clamping down on broadcast partners tipping draft picks and that remains a point of emphasis this year as well.

According to, ESPN reiterated its intention not to disclose the picks before their announced, although they didn’t include the fact the NFL was behind the decision.

“We will allow our staffers to tweet any behind the scenes conversations teams are having, trade talks, debates, etc., but what we won’t allow is for them to flat out give away draft picks before the Commissioner announces them,” ESPN senior coordinator producer Seth Markman told Richard Deitsch of via PFT. “As I have said in the past, our viewers have overwhelmingly told us that they do not want us to spoil the drama of the draft in any way. This goes for Twitter, too.”

As PFT points out, there will still likely be others outside the networks who will still announce picks before their revealed on television.  It’s interesting that the World Wide Leader is trying to preserve the fan experience on television considering the massive losses in viewership they’re continuing to experience that is seeing them be forced to cut more than 40 on-air personalities.

The bigger question is going to be down the road as cord-cutting grows and subscriber numbers continue to plummet, what will the breaking point be before the NFL suffers the revenue implosion many have predicted?  While people love the sport, the fact they don’t want to pay the premium for cable is a very real problem that will eventually hit the NFL head on.  The league might think there might be a “next man up” to keep their billions rolling in but the trend of dropping cable isn’t dying anytime soon.

As a result, they should be very concerned.  ESPN’s collapse is a very real problem that will hurt the league eventually, and there are only so many people ESPN can cut before the league finds out there might not be someone there to pick up the tab after they’re done bleeding them dry.

Daily Notebook: Friday Patriots News and Notes 4/21

Ian Logue
April 21, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

It’s Friday, and we’ve made it through another week.  With the weekend now within reach, here’s a look at today’s top stories.

Full 2017 Schedule Now Available – Thursday night revealed how the 2017 Patriots season will play out, and there’s no better feeling than being able to start circling games and looking at how the road to Minneapolis might play out.

The season kicks off with a Thursday night battle with the Chiefs, with five of their first eight games played at Gillette Stadium before the bye, which falls right in the middle of the season in Week 9.

Their first game on the road will come in Week 2 against the Saints, followed by two home games against the Texans and Panthers.  After that, they play  two of their next three on national television, including a Thursday night match-up against the Buccaneers. In-between their next game under the lights is a 1:00pm game at MetLife Stadium against the Jets.  But they’re back on prime time the following week in a Super Bowl rematch at home against the Falcons, followed by a 1:00pm home game against Los Angeles.  After that, comes their bye, which comes on the weekend of November 5th.

But from there, they’ve got a ruthless stretch and the only break they got from the NFL was the fact they’ll at least have their bye to prepare for it.  They play five of their next six games on the road, including a tough stretch to begin their second-half run.

Coming off the bye, they’ll head to Denver to take on the Broncos on Sunday night football on November 12th, which ends up not only being a tough game for a Patriots team that never seems to have much luck there, but it’s the first of two games in tough conditions.

From there, they head out to Mexico City the following Sunday at 4:25pm to take on the Oakland Raiders.  Coming off of a game where they’re playing at 5,238 feet above sea level, they’ll endure the challenge of playing another 2,000 feet higher south of the border, so it will be interesting to see how Bill Belichick handles that week from a practice/preparation standpoint.

After that, they get one game at Gillette Stadium against Miami before heading back out on the road for games against the Bills, Dolphins and Steelers, before finishing out the season at home against the Bills on Christmas Eve and the Jets on New Years eve.

Overall, when you look at how difficult the final two months of the season are going to be, it will be an incredible badge of honor if New England repeats their normal success over that span.  Those games against the Raiders and the Broncos won’t be easy, with Oakland no longer a pushover and Denver always giving the Patriots fits when the game is in their home stadium.  Then it’s three games against Division opponents who know them better than anyone, followed by a trip to Pittsburgh, and then back home to play two more Division games.

The schedule makers did them no favors and it’s obvious that on paper, this will easily be one of the toughest schedules they’ll play as they try and repeat as champions. Every game after the Bye could potentially have playoff importance since every one is against a Conference opponent. To take it a step further, should any of those teams surprise everyone and contend for the AFC East, they’ll become that much more critical.

Obviously a lot will change before the beginning of the season and even more will be different by the time those final weeks get here.  Either way, it should make for another fun ride that can’t get here fast enough.

Fans here in New England are used to haters,
especially from New York.

New York Times Editor Apologizes For Wednesday Tweet – As we all know, there’s no love lost between the people of New York and fans here in New England, who with the Giants heading back to the cellar and no hope from the Jets or Bills in sight, are forced to sit back on their couches every January and watch the Patriots make their annual run at a title.

Since it’s been going on for nearly two decades, it’s got to be irritating.  The one team who had given them any hope, the Giants, ran the one man who brought them two championships out of town without realizing maybe it wasn’t their coach that was completely to blame for their issues.  From there, the circus they just endured with Rex Ryan in Buffalo and this bizarre story from yesterday, along with the mess that is the Jets, it all must have the people in charge of the sports section apparently losing their minds.

It’s understandable.  We get it.  We have the late 80s and early 90s to look back on to appreciate what they’re going through. That would be enough to make anyone a little crazy.

So when the New York Times tried to stir the pot a little on Wednesday by comparing the crowd that showed up at the White House this time instead of their 2015 visit, it was definitely a little funny to see what transpired.

They published two photos in a tweet of the 2015 group and the one on hand this week, which they thought was significantly smaller and jumped all over it. Their point was to take a shot at the team, while also insinuating it might have been due to President Donald Trump.

While some players did skip the event for that reason, the overall premise regarding the numbers was immediately shot down after they were called out by the team for not quite having all the facts.

The Patriots’ official twitter account quickly shot back, pointing out a significant point that should have been taken into consideration.

That eventually lead to some serious back-peddling by the newspaper the next day, with the editor at least doing the right thing and owning the mistake on Thursday.

GIve him credit, there were no excuses and he completely owned it.  After all, maybe he’s a Jets fan, which would certainly explain everything since they’re enough to make anyone lose their minds.

As for the Patriots, here’s the full group photo from Wednesday:

As one fan on our forum pointed out, repeated success has had an effect on future attendance, regardless of who was president.  History has shown that the team has had high attendance in their first Super Bowl win after droughts in-between.

They had 51 players visit following their first title in 2002, and 50 in 2015, which came a decade after their previous visit back in 2005.

As our member, Palm Beach Pats Fan, pointed out on our forum, the “been there, done that” factor came into play for players who had already visited, seeing a big drop off in the years following when they won multiple championships.

White House Attendance:
2002: 51 players showed up to meet Bush
2004: 36 players showed up to meet Bush
2005: 27 players showed up to meet Bush
2015: 50 players showed up to meet Obama
2017: 34 players showed up to meet Trump

As he points out, since virtually no one besides Brady had won a title back in 2015, that explains the higher attendance.  When there are large numbers of players who have already enjoyed the experience, more of them are likely to enjoy what little time they get to themselves during the offseason and skip it.

The numbers don’t lie, and it was a reminder of the type of confusion winning five titles creates in other cities.   Crazy stuff.

Kellerman Felt Patriots Should Have Boycotted Trip – Max Kellerman of ESPN “First Take” is no stranger to saying inflammatory things and on Thursday he went off on another rant about Rob Gronkowski’s humorous drop-in on Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

Kellerman wasn’t impressed with Gronkowski dropping in on Spicer this week.

Kellerman felt that what Gronkowski did normalizes the behavior of Spicer, of whom Kellerman is obviously not a fan and he felt they shouldn’t have been there at all.

Here’s what he had to say via

When the press corps is cracking up at a press secretary because of an athlete’s presence there, so he’s lending something to the proceedings, the athlete is, and the press corps is, you know, they’re having a rollicking good time, they’re really laughing at a press secretary who in his first press conference, demonstrably lied, shot credibility, I mean your job is to establish credibility with the national media, and completely shot it since his first press conference and it’s gone downhill since there, by the way.

In a scary way, incidentally, especially when there’s a lot of uncertainty about a very unusual administration, how much authoritarian impulse is there — well, when the press secretary comes out and says what you know as a fact is not a fact because now we’re giving you alternative facts, eventually was the phrase, that’s a scary thing. Like wait, what’s going on here? They think that they can just say anything and we’re supposed to take it as true. When that guy is normalized and the press is yukking it up, that’s a very bad thing. That’s an unhealthy thing to have happened.

An unhealthy thing is also saying something repeatedly about a certain player “falling off a cliff” ability-wise, but that’s an entirely different story that we won’t get into.

Have a good weekend everyone. We’ll see you back here on Monday and in the meantime, be sure to check out Steve Balestrieri’s weekly column on Sunday morning.

New York Times Admits Error After Wednesday’s Trolling

Ian Logue
April 20, 2017 at 11:50 am ET

The New York media tends to jump all over any opportunity they get to troll Boston teams, and one attempt on Wednesday went horribly wrong.

The New York Times fell victim, posting a comparative photo of New England’s visit from 2015 vs the one that occurred Wednesday afternoon, which on the surface looked like a smaller turnout.

However, the Patriots’ official twitter account quickly caught wind of the post and pointed out one key fact that gave better context to the photograph.

That eventually lead to some serious back-peddling by the newspaper, with the editor at least doing the right thing and owning the mistake on Thursday.

Tom Brady was among the notable names missing from the event, citing a “personal family matter”, while Danny Amendola also missed the outing while attending a funeral.

Overall, 34 of the team’s Super Bowl Champions were on hand Wednesday to meet the president, with the Boston Herald posting the full list of players who were there including Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Stephen Gostkowski, Malcolm Mitchell and Jimmy Garoppolo among them.

The team posted additional photos, which shed better light on the situation.

And of course, President Trump also weighed in:

So there you go.

Daily Notebook: Thursday Patriots News and Notes 4/20

Ian Logue
at 5:00 am ET

Here are today’s top stories.

Plenty of Questions Remain About Hernandez – The surprise news surrounding the death of Aaron Hernandez kicked things off on Wednesday, and as news began to come out with the details surrounding his death, it had a similar feel to when he was first arrested and charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd back in 2013.

That June afternoon back in 2013 was unbelievable.  It was followed by most here in New England on Twitter as one by one, the news began to emerge fast and furious with all the reports from all the reporters who were following the story.  Most had spent the week camped outside his house, with many wondering if what police had suspected about the star tight end was true while waiting for something to happen.

Eventually, they got what they had been waiting for and when the news broke that he was being charged with murder, it came as a shock to every person in New England who had likely been hoping the rumors didn’t hold merit.

Within minutes from the moment he was officially charged with murder, his time in New England ended almost immediately when the Patriots wasted no time in cutting him.

His release came on the heels of a $40 million extension he had signed just over a year earlier, which should have ensured a bright future in the NFL and a new start for Hernandez.  Unfortunately, money wasn’t enough to keep him out of trouble and it all ended in an arrest at the home where he should have been focusing on enjoying his family and his football career.

But, just like that, it all ended in an instant.  It took little time for police to close in on the veteran tight end, having pieced together the timeline of events leading up to the death of Lloyd so perfectly that as we learned the details of all the evidence, it was overwhelming.  The more we learned, the more everyone was shocked to find out that the same exciting player they all rooted for was not who any of us thought.

The news was certainly hard to believe, but the facts were chilling.  Hernandez had gunned a man down in cold blood, the same man who looked like an exciting piece to New Engalnd’s future, with one of the only players to be caught on camera getting some love from Bill Belichick during a funny moment.  Who would have ever expected this from him?

Eventually, his conviction solidified everyone’s suspicions, which even to this day are a little tough to fathom.  Up until his victory in court last Friday, he had more or less faded out of the picture since he was still in prison serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.   Hernandez’ life was effectively over, and after taking his own life, the young family that should have been his focus are now left with questions of what could have been.  But more importantly, so are the loved ones of the victims he took down with him and the lives he destroyed prior to his death.

They’ll have a tiny bit of closure knowing he’s gone.  As for Hernandez, his family and those close to him will be forced to wonder how he ever got to the point to make him select the life he chose and if they could have done anything to prevent it.

It’s a tragic end to a story where no one involved had a chance for a happy ending.  Now he’ll be nothing more than a cautionary tale, but hopefully, if nothing else, his death will prevent at least one person or player from going down the wrong road while ensuring history never again repeats itself.

Visit to the White House Leads to A Bit of Trolling By the New York Times – Despite Tom Brady being a last-minute cancellation due to what he called a “personal family matter”, the Patriots still had a strong turnout for their visit to the nation’s capital but that didn’t stop the New York Times from stirring the pot a bit.

They posted a comparative photo of New England’s visit from 2015 vs the one that occurred Wednesday afternoon, which on the surface looked like a smaller turnout.

However, the Patriots’ official twitter account quickly caught wind of the post and pointed out one key fact that gave better context to the photograph.

Overall, 34 of the team’s Super Bowl Champions were on hand Wednesday to meet the president, with the Boston Herald posting the full list of players who were there including Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Stephen Gostkowski, Malcolm Mitchell and Jimmy Garoppolo among them.

Gronkowski had a little fun with Press Secretary Sean Spicer after crashing Wednesday’s session, but Spicer took it in stride and it was one of the lighter moments of the day.

President Donald Trump praised owner Robert Kraft and the tradition of winning he’s established since buying the team.

“Since Bob bought the Patriots in 1994, they’ve won more division titles, conference championships and Super Bowl wins than any other team.  No team has been this good for this long,” said Trump via the Boston Herald.  “He’s built a culture dedicated to winning. And he started it with his coach — and I want to tell you, that is some special man — it’s called the Patriot Way. And that really starts with Coach Belichick.”

“And I want to thank all of you for being with us. The Patriots are an incredible organization, and this Super Bowl victory was a complete team effort. That’s the beauty of what they do — they win as a team.”

And, of course, what trip wouldn’t be complete without Gronk giving the president a fist bump?

Jackson Claimed By Rams –  One day after being released by the Patriots, offensive lineman Tre’ Jackson already has a new home.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Jackson was claimed off waivers by the Rams, making him the third offensive lineman to join the Rams under new head coach Sean McVay.

It’s a great opportunity for Jackson, who if he can return healthy should be a player who could be in the mix to earn a role this season as the team continues trying to build a solid nucleus around quarterback Jared Goff.

The former fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft appeared in 13 games during his time in New England, making nine starts at right guard his rookie season and showed quite a bit of promise. Hopefully, he’ll enjoy continued success with his new team.

Chris Hogan had success against his former team in 2016.

Buffalo Still Reeling From Gillislee Offer Sheet – You can tell the Bills are not happy about the Patriots potentially getting the better of them for the second straight season, and the overall mood in that region right now reeks of frustration.

Vic Carucci of the Buffalo news had a column on that very topic Wednesday, pointing out that the Bills can overcome the Gillislee’s potential loss but the fact the Patriots might potentially pluck a talented player off their roster for the second-straight year remains one of the most aggravating parts of this whole situation.

It’s because the Bills have opened themselves up to the type of blistering criticism they received from national sports-talk host Colin Cowherd, who talked about Bill Belichick once again taking advantage of “poorly run” franchises such as the Bills and Cleveland Browns.

Seeing the Patriots looking to reload for another Super Bowl run with the help of former Bills players is what makes the Gillislee situation harder for a lot of the team’s loyalists to stomach. Seeing it happen with a restricted free agent for the second offseason in a row is galling to them.

Carucci also writes that the issue has less to do with “surviving without Gillislee and more about weathering the embarrassment/frustration/anger over another round of Patriot raiding.”

There’s already one day in the books, leaving the Bills with just four days to match his offer sheet.

Brady Won’t Be Visiting White House Wednesday

Ian Logue
April 19, 2017 at 9:50 am ET

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady missed the team’s visit to the White House two years ago after New England beat the Seahawks, and it sounds like it will be back-to-back trips that he won’t be a part of.

According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, the quarterback revealed he won’t be able to attend today’s visit due to “personal family matters”.

As many fans might be aware, the quarterback’s mother has been battling cancer, which was a big topic of discussion during their championship run. While it’s unknown if today’s news is related to that, whatever the issue, it’s significant enough for Brady to miss an event he called back in February a really a “great experience”.

Brady’s mom, Galynn, after the Patriots Super Bowl win in February.

“It really is a great experience,” Brady said via PFT. “Putting politics aside, it never was a political thing. At least, it never was to me. It meant you won a championship and you got to experience something cool with your team, with your teammates. Everyone has their own choice. It’s an offseason. These days are valuable for everybody. You only get so much time with your family and friends, and if people don’t want to go they don’t want to go and that’s their choice.”

Brady said that he hopes that the team might win it again in the coming years, which might give him another opportunity.

“Hopefully, if we accomplish the goal of winning a championship in future years, we will be back on the South Lawn again soon,” wrote Brady in his statement. “Have a great day!”

Former Patriots TE Hernandez Found Dead in Apparent Suicide

Ian Logue
at 8:36 am ET

His name hasn’t been mentioned here since being charged with murder several years ago, but it looks like former Patriots tight end, Aaron Hernandez, has seen his story has come to a shocking end.

According to a statement released by Massachusetts prison officials, the 27-year old was found in his cell shortly after 3 a.m. hung by a bed sheet that he had attached to his window, and had also jammed his door with “various items”.

This comes just days after he had been acquitted on two murder charges and his attorney had appeared on WEEI feeling very confident he would be able to overturn the original conviction that had Hernandez serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of Odin Lloyd.

His death comes on the same day the Patriots will visit the White House, with spokesperson Stacey James telling ESPN, “We are aware of the reports, but I don’t anticipate that we will be commenting today.”

Daily Notebook: Wednesday Patriots News and Notes 4/19

Ian Logue
at 5:00 am ET

(Updated at 8:00am ET)

The Patriots are heading to Washington today to visit the White House, which we touched on yesterday.  However, they were busy on Tuesday and there’s a lot to get to, so here’s a quick look a today’s top stories:

Butler Signs His Tender – One of the biggest topics of the offseason has been the future of Malcolm Butler and on Tuesday, the restricted free agent went ahead and signed his $3.91 million tender.

Now the next phase of this saga will be, what will happen next?

After the veteran cornerback’s decision to sign his tender, the possibility is now there for New England to entertain offers to make a move to trade him to another team.  That possibility didn’t really exist before because the Patriots couldn’t trade someone who isn’t under contract, bit it eventually became clear that Butler wasn’t going to get an offer sheet from another team.

One possible trade partner could be the Saints, who have already showed strong interest for his services.  Butler met with them last month but never received an offer sheet, most likely because it would have cost New Orleans their 11th overall selection, which head coach Sean Payton said was never going to happen.

“Currently it’s my understanding that he hasn’t signed his tender,” Payton said at the Annual League Meeting last month via “We can sign him to an offer sheet, but I don’t think we’re going to do that and give up the 11th pick. In fact, I know we won’t do that. So it is what it is right now.”

Things had quieted since then, and whether or not things will heat up now remains to be seen.  The other possibility would be to see Butler play another season in New England before either hitting the free agent market after the 2017 campaign, or getting the extension he’s long been coveting here to keep him in a Patriots uniform.

The latter two scenarios are certainly the more preferable for most fans who would love to see him paired up with newcomer Stephon Gilmore in what would most definitely be an incredibly impressive tandem.  But with the draft fast approaching and the team without early round selections, Butler would be a player who could add some currency for New England from another team looking for talent in their secondary.

It would have to be the right deal for both sides, and Bill Belichick likely won’t let a player as talented as Butler leave unless it’s for an offer he can’t refuse.

For now, Butler has already made the first step in the right direction after Tom Curran reported he’ll be in town this week.  Whether or not he’ll be putting in the work for his current team remains the biggest question, and equally the biggest topic of discussion until it’s eventually resolved one way or another.

The Patriots stole away Chris Hogan in 2016.

Hernandez Found Dead in Apparent Suicide – His name hasn’t been mentioned here since being charged with murder several years ago, but it looks like former Patriots tight end, Aaron Hernandez, has seen his story has come to a shocking end.

According to a statement released by Massachusetts prison officials, the 27-year old was found in his cell shortly after 3 a.m. hung by a bed sheet that he had attached to his window, and had also jammed his door with “various items”.

This comes just days after he had been acquitted on two murder charges and his attorney had appeared on WEEI feeling very confident he would be able to overturn the original conviction that had the former tight end serving a life sentence.

His death comes on the same day the Patriots will visit the White House, with spokesperson Stacey James telling ESPN, “We are aware of the reports, but I don’t anticipate that we will be commenting today.”

Patriots Trying to Steal Another Bills Player – If you’re the Bills, you’re definitely not a fan of  Bill Belichick these days.

New England hasn’t been bashful when it’s come to poaching talent from other teams, but it has to be driving the Buffalo front office (and their fans) crazy  after what transpired Tuesday.

One year removed from having Chris Hogan stolen away thanks to an offer sheet they couldn’t match, the Bills are on the verge of it happening yet again after New England presented an offer sheet to running back Mike Gillislee.  According to ESPN, the deal is reportedly for two years and is worth $6.4 million.

The deal includes $4 million for 2017, which puts pressure on an already salary-cap-strapped Bills team who currently sits with just $10.8 million in cap room.  However, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN, matching the deal would reduce the Bills’ cap space by about $2.2 million, since $1.797 is already taken up by his existing restricted free-agent tender.

He had a strong season for Buffalo in 2016, with Rodak pointing out that he finished as one of the league’s most efficient rushers in 2016.

On 101 carries, Gillislee led running backs with a qualifying amount of carries in yards per carry, first down rate per rush, touchdown rate per rush and third-down rushing conversion rate.

Rodak also points out that the Bills caught a lot of heat last offseason for assigning the original round tender on Hogan (who was an undrafted free agent), which saw Buffalo get nothing in return after losing him.  Gillislee is a former 5th round pick, which given how he’s played, has left Rodak wondering why the Bills didn’t learn their lesson and place a second-round tender on the talented running back.

Unfortunately now they run the risk of seeing them lose another talented player to a team who has continued to be a thorn in their side.  They now have five days to decide if they’re going to let it happen yet again.

Patriots Waive Jackson, Lengel Signs – The team announced on Tuesday a couple of transactions, which include two on the offensive side of the football.

Exclusive rights free agent tight end Matt Lengel has reportedly signed his tender, while the Patriots did decide to waive guard Tre’ Jackson.

Lengel played in six games for New England in 2016 after the team signed him off Cincinnati’s practice squad last season, catching two passes for 22-yards including a touchdown.

As for Jackson, he fell victim to the success of both Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason, with Thuney having become a solid starter for New England’s revamped offensive line.  The former 3rd round pick out of NC State played in all 16 games for the team last season and played well during each of New England’s postseason victories.

Jackson was a former fourth round pick of the Patriots back in 2015 and started in nine games as rookie, but he couldn’t carry that success into 2016 after a knee injury saw him end up on PUP and he never saw the field.

The fact he was released this early in the process is a credit to Belichick, who released Jackson early enough in the process to find another club to get acclimated during OTAs, etc.

Amendola has been a key player for the Patriots.

Amendola Restructures – Danny Amendola has shown his continued willingness to do what he can to remain in New England, and on Tuesday he did it yet again after reportedly restructuring his contract.

ESPN’s Field Yates reports the veteran took yet another pay cut, lowering his salary from the nearly $6 million he was scheduled to make this season.

Yates reports that his deal will be worth around $1.6 million this season, which is a slight increase over the $1.25 million base salary he earned last season.

This marks the third restructure by Amendola, and the third in as many years.  He originally signed a 5-year deal back in 2013 that was worth up to $31 million following the departure of Wes Welker.

While Amendola hasn’t turned into the team’s number one receiver, he’s been absolutely critical to the team’s two championship runs, making key receptions down the stretch, as well as scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown in each of their Super Bowl victories.  In fact, Tom Brady has missed just five of the 18 passes he’s thrown Amendola’s way in each championship victory, finishing 13-of-18 (72%) including 5-of-7 against Seattle (1TD), and 8-of-11 against Atlanta (1TD).

Given what he’s already done, the fact he’ll be around for another year has to be music to the ears of Patriots fans hoping to see the club win back-to-back titles.

White Extended – After seeing James White emerge as a big part of their offense, it looks like New England took a step to make sure he’s around for the foreseeable future.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the team has reportedly reached an agreement on a 3-year extension, tying him up for the next four seasons.

While terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed, White was scheduled to make approximately $690,000 this season, so it will be interesting to see what type of deal he received.

Whatever it is, it’s certainly well-deserved.  He came up big in the Super Bowl against Atlanta, including catching 14-of-16 for 110-yards and a touchdown.  He also rushed for two touchdowns, including the game-winning score in overtime to win the team’s fifth championship.

He’s emerged as a solid weapon and seeing him locked up is definitely a solid move for a team that has been getting stronger during this offseason.  Getting a deal done with White now takes away any uncertainty over his future, giving the Patriots a talented player who they can enjoy knowing they have under contract for years to come.

Daily Notebook: Tuesday Patriots News and Notes 4/18

Ian Logue
April 18, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Here are today’s top stories:

Stars Missing From Day One of Voluntary Workouts – There were a couple of notable names missing from the team’s first day of voluntary workouts on Monday, but it sounds like it will be a short absence.

According to CSNNE’s Tom Curran, Tom Brady and Malcolm Butler were missing from the team’s first day of the voluntary offseason sessions but Brady is reportedly expected to be back in the building today after returning from a family vacation.

As for Butler, Curran reports that he’s in the middle of spending time celebrating a birthday with his family, and he’s also expected to be back in Foxboro this week.

The news about Butler’s attendance later this week is encouraging, especially given the uncertainty surrounding his status for the upcoming season.  He’s currently coming up on the April 21st deadline for him to sign an offer sheet with another team, which would seem unlikely at this point.  The only question is going to be whether or not he signs his current tender before the draft, which would then either open up the opportunity for him to be traded, or for him to hopefully simply play in New England in 2017.

But, for now, the fact that he’ll be there soon is definitely a step in the right direction.

It will likely take quite a bit to pry Butler loose from New England.

GM Speculates on Price For Butler – While there has been quite a bit of talk about what it would take for the Patriots to consummate a trade for Butler, one NFL GM speculated on what New Orleans would need to give up in order to get a deal done to land the veteran cornerback.

Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik said during a piece on ESPN Insider that it will take more than the Patriots former 32nd overall pick to pry Butler away from New England.

“Right now, New Orleans owns the 11th overall pick and the Patriots’ first-rounder (32nd overall) after the Brandin Cooks trade,” wrote Dominik.  “New England, meanwhile, doesn’t have a selection in the first two rounds of the draft. The Patriots appear to be open to trading Butler, who’s one year away from hitting unrestricted free agency, if they can recoup a first-rounder. The issue: New England doesn’t want its 32nd pick back in return for Butler, and New Orleans doesn’t want to deal the 11th. The only way this deal gets done is if the Saints trade down from 11 to somewhere around picks 16-19. That could be a nice middle ground for each team. I don’t think any teams other than the Saints are interested in Butler at the moment. This is certainly a situation to watch on draft night.”

He also believes that a deal for Garoppolo is “just not going to happen” because the Patriots see the value at quarterback that the former Eastern Iliinois standout brings as insurance if something happened to Brady and “you don’t just get rid of guys like that.”

Certainly an interesting perspective from someone in the right position.  We’ll have to see how it plays out in the coming weeks since if a deal doesn’t get done, the signs only further point to Butler sticking round.

White House Visit On Tap – The Patriots will be visiting our nation’s capital on Wednesday, which is obviously one of the perks of winning a championship. However, as we know, there will be a few players missing when the time comes.

Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty and Chris Long are among those who aren’t expected to attend, with LeGarrette Blount, Martellus Bennett and Alan Branch rounding out a list of six who had already expressed their decision to skip this one.

Devin McCourty expressed his opinion on the matter in the above video, saying that he knew right away that he wasn’t going.

“For me it was simple. I don’t believe in excluding other people,” McCourty said. “Right away, I know I wasn’t going because it was something I thought about before we even won the game.”

Brady, who is expected to be on hand Wednesday, previously said that while he missed the one in 2014 due to scheduling, politics haven’t ever come to mind.

“Putting politics aside it never really was a political thing — at least it never was for me,” said Brady. “It was just always something that was a privilege to be able to do because it really meant you won a championship and you got to experience something cool with your team and your teammates.”

“Everyone has their own choice,” Brady added. “It’s an offseason and these days are valuable for everybody. You only get so much time with your family and friends. If people don’t wanna go, they don’t wanna go, and that’s their choice.”

McCourty is hopeful he and Butler will be together in 2017.

McCourty to Butler: “Do What’s Best For Yourself” – McCourty was asked about Butler on CSNNE’s Quick Slants, with the veteran safety saying that he hopes to see his teammate back, but that Butler needs to be the one to make that decision.

“The thing is, with us, we’re all close enough that we don’t have to tell anybody we want them back,” McCourty said. “Everybody knows how much we enjoy playing with each other. I just tell him . . . ‘Do what’s best for yourself, whether that’s back here — which I would love — or if it’s somewhere else I’m not going to hate you forever.”

“You gotta understand, man, this business, contract-wise it’s individual-based. The secondary doesn’t get paid for one guy’s contract. It’s just your contract. So you always have to look out for what’s best for you and your family.”

McCourty did say that he expects Butler to be back.

“I expect him to be back, probably,” said McCourty.  “Obviously I don’t know. I haven’t really had any contact with anyone other than just laughing and joking text messages. We’ll see what happens. Exciting time. I always tell people if other teams want you and your team wants you it’s a good thing. He just has to have fun and enjoy it.”