Category Archives: Uncategorized

Former Patriots TE Hernandez Found Dead in Apparent Suicide

Ian Logue
April 19, 2017 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: 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.”

Daily Notebook: Friday Patriots News and Notes 4/14

Ian Logue
April 14, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Here’s a look at this morning’s top stories:

Dual McCourtys in the Secondary? – Jason McCourty was once a player the Patriots explored acquiring when trade rumors surfaced a couple of years ago, which seemingly had him as a potential Patriot.  That never happened because McCourty was a member of the Titans and it never came to be.

However, Thursday’s news of his release by Tennessee sparked a lot of discussion from people hoping that his newfound freedom could make the possibility of joining New England become more of a reality.  Given some of the turmoil in the secondary with the departure of Logan Ryan and the uncertainty surrounding Malcolm Butler, the addition of a player of his caliber certainly couldn’t hurt.

McCourty played relatively well last season, finishing second on the team in tackles with 69, along with two interceptions and 12 passes defensed.  The reason for the Titans releasing him seemed to stem from an issue likely due to the fact his contract needed to be restructured thanks to the fact he was due to make $7 million this season, which was the final year of the five-year extension he signed back in 2012.

Instead, they’ll part ways, which will now leave everyone wondering where his next stop will be.

Back in 2015 when the rumors about the two being reunited first came up, his brother admitted that it might happen eventually.

“I missed the rumors, I was in a meeting yesterday,” Devin McCourty said at the time via MassLive.com. “No, it was funny just hearing about it. So someday we’ll play together — just not this year.”

Will 2017 be the year it finally does?  Stay tuned.


Thanks to one fan, Brady got his Super Bowl Jerseys back.

Fan Who Helped Recovered Jerseys Invited to Opener – Dylan Wagner probably had no idea what a big story he would become thanks to his keen eye in helping solve the mystery of the stolen Tom Brady Super Bowl jerseys, but he apparently got some good news this week.

According to CBS Boston, the 18-year old found himself the recipient of a special invitation from Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who invited him to the home opener this season.

He told I-Team Chief Investigative reporter Cheryl Fiandaca via Skype that it was certainly a call that left him speechless.

“Dylan, this is Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots,” Kraft apparently said in the message. “I just want to thank you for the great role you played in helping us get Tommy’s jerseys back.”

Wagner had previously mentioned that he had hoped to one day meet Brady in person.  Kraft didn’t confirm it would happen, but the possibility seems to be there.  It’s certainly well-deserved considering he helped recover two jerseys that came from two historic wins for the veteran quarterback.

“Hopefully it will happen,” said Wagner. “He [Kraft] said maybe I’ll get to meet some people and he kind of left it at that but it’s pretty open ended. I think that’s hinting at meeting Brady at the home opener,” he said.

And hopefully, for his sake, he’ll get his wish.

Patriots Exploring the Restricted Market – The Patriots are always exploring their options, and given the success they found by stealing away Chris Hogan last season, it looks like they’re kicking the tires on a few others.

According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, New England hosted three current restricted players who have yet to sign their tenders, with defensive end Kerry Wynn and running backs Mike Gillislee and Damien Williams each visiting Foxboro.

Wynn is the obvious one that stands out, especially when you take into account the need they have at that position.  Wynn’s best season was his rookie year back in 2014 when he joined New York as an undrafted free agent.  He played just five games but totaled 1.5 sacks including an interception.

Since then he’s played in 29 games with 65 tackles along with two passes defensed and half a sack.  At 6’5″, 264-pounds he’s got the physical attributes that the Patriots look for and he’s definitely an intriguing prospect.  He’s currently tendered at the original round level, which means he’ll earn $1.797 should he sign his deal.  That seemingly opens an up an opportunity for New England to get creative and come up with a contract to steal him away if they really want him.

As for Gillslee and Williams, running back is obviously still a need and the prospect of raiding the roster of a fellow AFC East rival is always something that’s enjoyable if it makes New England better and hurts an opponent they face twice per season.

Both players are similar in size and it was Gillislee who at 5’11”,  219-pounds, had the more productive year last year after scoring 8 touchdowns, as well as breaking off 8 runs of 20 or more, including one of over 40 after he carried the ball 101 times for 577 yards in 2016.

Williams, meanwhile, is a little heavier at 5’11”, 228-pounds carried 35 times for 115 yards with three touchdowns.

For now the Patriots continue doing their due diligence, and we’ll have to wait and see if one of these players sees them make a move to take them away from their respective teams.

Belichick Surprising Open With CNBC – It’s not often you get to hear what Bill Belichick really thinks, but he was surprisingly candid in a recent interview with CNBC’s Suzy Welch.

The Patriots head coach was asked a variety of questions during a 16-minute segment, as he sat in Mission Barbeque, a restaurant in Annapolis Maryland, which Belichick called “home”.

One reason why that venue means so much to Belichick is for the incredible support they give those who serve the country.

“Well, first of all, I love Annapolis, this is home,” said Belichick.  “I love what Mission Barbeque stands for.  I love their message, the fact they support the people that serve.  When I was here last night, they were packing up a few hundred pounds of their barbecue to ship off to Iraq.”

Within the restaurant there’s a sign that read, “Every Battle is Won Before It is Fought”, which is one of the signs that hangs in the Patriots’ locker room.

Welch asked him about that, and Belichick said there are some similarities.

“Sun Tzu, Art of War, it’s all about preparation.  You know what you’re doing and you have an idea of what the opponents can do, what their strengths and weaknesses are. Then once you get into the game, then those adjustments will be, I won’t say easy, but relatively easy or more manageable.”

One of the more interesting points was when Belichick was asked about the Super Bowl and if he ever felt they might lose.

“It was funny, this was one of those game where we didn’t have control of the score, but I didn’t feel like we had lost control of the game,” said Belichick.  “We could move the ball, we were able to stop them on third down.  We were able to do things, but the scoreboard was very much against us.  As long as there was still time, I thought we had a chance.”

What did it feel like?

“Close to a miracle.”

There’s a ton more, so be sure and check it out below:

Dolphins WR Predicts Sweep Over Patriots in 2017

Ian Logue
April 12, 2017 at 10:19 am ET

The Dolphins might be a team on the rise, but it sounds like one of their player’s heads might be growing a little quicker than it should be.

While Miami’s trip to the postseason last year ended in an embarrassing loss, that hasn’t stopped one player from already dropping some bulletin board material for the Patriots locker room.

Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry told MMQB’s Peter King that he expects Miami to sweep New England in 2017, which is certainly a bold statement for a team that has yet to put a consistent performance together against them.

“If you’re a competitor, that’s the way you should feel, and I don’t mind saying it,” Landry told King via MMQB.com. “It’s time for a change. I have all the respect in the world for the Patriots, and I respect Tom Brady tremendously. But they’re not our big brother anymore.”


The Dolphins haven’t swept the Patriots since 2000.

Landry has had success against New England, having had some solid outings over the last two seasons in each of their last four meetings.

2015 Week 7: 6 receptions, 71yds
2015 Week 16: 6 receptions, 72yds
2016 Week 2: 10 receptions, 135yds
2016 Week 16: 9 receptions, 76yds 1TD

However, he’s just one player and it will take other guys to step up around him in order to be able to overtake New England.

Should Miami pull off Landry’s claim, it would be the first time the Dolphins swept New England since all the way back in 2000.  They also swept the Patriots in 1999, but since Tom Brady took over, Miami has had a tough run against them.  New England has swept the series six times, having done so in 2003, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016.  The Patriots also put together quite a winning streak against them, going 7-0 at one point from 10/4/2010 – 10/27/2013.

Needless to say, Landry might want to pump the brakes a bit before he writes a check his teammates might not be able to help him cash.

Daily Notebook: Tuesday Patriots News and Notes 4/11

Ian Logue
April 11, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Here’s a look at this morning’s top stories:

Patriots Open the Preseason Against Jacksonville – The exhibition season will kick off a little differently this season, with New England squaring off against the Jaguars as they start getting ready for the 2017 season.

According to the schedule released by the team on Monday, it will be the Jaguars visiting Foxboro in Week 1 of the preseason, followed by back-to-back road games in Houston and Detroit.

They’ll close the preseason at home against the Giants, because, of course, every Patriots fan enjoys having that team shoved in our faces before the start of every season.

One question that will be interesting will be who the Patriots might hold joint practices with.  The Texans and Lions would seem to make the most sense given the ties between the two clubs, although Belichick being able to get some work in at home during the Week 1 meeting against Jacksonville. It might also be a welcomed opportunity for first-year Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone as he looks to turn around a franchise that is in dire need of finally taking a step forward, and the prospect of getting a closer look at how New England operates certainly couldn’t hurt.

Speaking of Jacksonville, Monday’s news has already sparked discussions down in Northeast Florida about how it will be an early barometer of where the Jaguars are in comparison to the defending Super Bowl Champions.  According to ESPN’s Michael DiRocco, the biggest thing on the minds of Jaguars fans will also be seeing whether or not the offseason work that quarterback Blake Bortles has put in during his time at the 3DQB facility in California will translate into better mechanics, or if he’ll just revert back to his old habits during game action.

Meanwhile, one thing that may become a sore point this season might end up being the media covering the Patriots scrutinizing the play of both Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo as the 40-year old Brady will likely be analyzed all season long for those who are anxiously awaiting the drop off they’ve been expecting.  After all, what better way is there to predict that than by over-analyzing preseason football?  You can bet we’ll likely find out what we’re in for this season, and don’t be surprised if some of that talk begins to surface should Garoppolo put up big numbers against their opponent’s second (or third)-stringers over the course of those four meaningless games.

Gotta love the preseason.


Alan Branch is back in the fold, which is good news for the Patriots’ defense.

Branch & Fleming Officially Back in the Fold – The Patriots announced two important signings on Monday, with both players being key members of the team on each side of the ball.

Both defensive tackle Alan Branch and offensive lineman Cameron Fleming are back in the mix, which is good news for a Patriots team who now heads into 2017 with two solid players anchoring important positions as New England gets set to try to repeat as champions.

Branch’s signing stands out, especially considering how effective he was down the stretch after quietly emerging as one of the Patriots’ most important players on their defensive line.  He’s been that way since he got here, amassing 96 tackles, 2.5 sacks and three forced fumbles through 39 games as a Patriot.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but CSNNE’s MIke Giardi reported last month that the two sides were working toward a possible 2-year extension.

As for Fleming, the restricted free agent was part of a much improved offensive line in 2016, with Fleming having appeared in all 16 regular season games last season, including five starts.  He was also a part of each of New England’s three postseason wins, with Cameron also playing four snaps at tackle and three on special teams during the Patriots historical Super Bowl victory over Atlanta.

Lynch Interested in Playing in New England? – Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald had one of the more interesting reports on Monday, with Howe reporting that Marshawn Lynch has an interest in playing for the Patriots in the event things don’t work out with the Raiders.

Oakland/Las Vegas reportedly appear to be the front-runners for his services, but according to Howe if things don’t work out, Lynch would be open to coming to New England.

Lynch sat out all of 2016 and at this point Seattle still controls his rights.  For the veteran running back to have a chance to play elsewhere, he would have to unretire and then hope the Seahawks either release him or trade him to his potential landing spot.

Sending him to New England would be an interesting move, especially being as it was the Patriots keeping him out of the end zone before Malcolm Butler made history that began a run of tough luck for Lynch.   His final season saw him battle a rough run of injuries, and the Seahawks gave his carries to rookie Thomas Rawls.

As a result, one year after leading the league in touchdowns and being inches away from winning his second championship, Lynch tweeted a photo of his cleats hanging from telephone wires, which was essentially him telling the world about his retirement decision.

However, those hoping to see Lynch land in New England need to understand that it will require the Raiders to botch this up as the 30-year old grew up in Oakland and has incredibly strong ties to the area.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated last year, Lynch talked about where he grew up and the park where he and his friends would get together and play.  It’s the home that’s part of his history, and you can tell it’s still a place that’s close to his heart.

“We’ll start from the ground. When you look on the ground, you might see some needles,” said Lynch in his interview of the playground his friends spent time together growing up in a rough neighborhood.   “You might see some Pyrex [the cookware commonly used for making crack cocaine]—you know what I’m sayin’, Dawg? There was a lotta drugs. And if you lift your head up and open your eyes, you might see a prostitute walkin’. . . . What I would call real life, man. It wasn’t no bells and whistles.”

Lynch admitted that the area has changed quite a bit but all people need is a chance.

“I don’t have no problem with the change,” referring to how it’s tough to recognize where he grew up. “Just give Oakland people—real Oakland people—our opportunity. Why not?”

Needless to say, the odds seem to favor Lynch lining up behind Derek Carr in 2017 and not Tom Brady.  Nevertheless, it’s yet another interesting storyline to an offseason that has been anything other than boring.


Chung was among players punished by the league.

Chung Among Players Fined in Arm-Wrestling-Gate – The NFL continues to become more hypocritical and Monday’s news that Patrick Chung will be fined for his participation in the Pro Football Arm Wrestling Championship last week at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is just ridiculous.

Chung was among 30 current and former players who took part in the 3-day tournament, where the winners in the championship would have been presented with a fund from which those players could have made donations to a charity of their choice.

Instead, the league, which will soon feature a franchise in a city where gambling is legal and slot machines are everywhere including the airport, is punishing the players due to their policy which strictly prohibits players from taking part in promotional events at casinos.

The fact they continue to enforce this policy and are doing so in a manner that also prevents charitable actions is a little bizarre, especially considering what a franchise full of players will soon find themselves up against.  They’re going to be very limited in terms of marketing opportunities in the local community, especially given that unlike in New England, or elsewhere for that matter where gambling tends to be quite limited, escaping a slot machine in most well-known event places in Vegas is nearly impossible.

There’s no doubt that the league has to be wary of gambling interfering with the “integrity” of the game, but the blanket policy prohibiting events like this in Las Vegas are likely going to become a problem down the road given the investment the city is about to put up to make an NFL franchise a reality there.

Obviously there’s no easy answer but it’s safe to say an Arm Wrestling Event for charity shouldn’t be among the bylaws for a league that should have been appreciating the positive publicity it would have received.

The bigger issue here might have been potential injuries by the players who participated, which could have been a problem for the teams who may or may not have sanctioned that player taking part in the event.  That seemingly would have been a bigger issue, yet the threat of a potential arm/shoulder injury surprisingly was never mentioned in this story.

Instead it’s a reminder that the fine lines within the NFL’s policies remain blurry, and given what lies ahead, one would have to believe there will certainly be more frustrating situations like this one in still to come in the future.

New England Patriots Draft Profile Florida Atlantic DE Trey Hendrickson

Steve Balestrieri
April 5, 2017 at 6:00 am ET

As the 2017 NFL Draft draws closer we’ll profile some of the players that may be on the Patriots radar or that we feel would be a great fit.

The Patriots are thin at defensive end; Jabaal Sheard has left via free agency and Chris Long has said that he isn’t coming back in 2017. The team did pick up Kony Ealy from the Carolina Panthers in a trade. That leaves him, Trey Flowers, Rob Ninkovich, and Geneo Grissom. Flowers came on and was fantastic down the stretch and into the playoffs. Ninkovich seems to be on the downside of a very solid career here in New England. Grissom was strictly a STs guy. So, they’ll need to add some depth.

Edge rushers are like cornerbacks, you can never have too many good ones and the team is expecting Flowers to continue to improve on his 2016 season. Ealy has flashed and had an incredible Super Bowl with Carolina but hasn’t been able to do it consistently. The Patriots will have plenty of options but as of today, they don’t pick until the third round.

Trey Hendrickson from Florida Atlantic is a 6’4, 266-pound defensive end that has shown good production despite opponents keying on him. League coaches named him first-team All-Conference-USA in 2015 – 2016. He had excellent production in his final campaign with 51 tackles, 15 for loss, 9.5 sacks.

He’s quick of the snap and shows good bend on the edge. He has strong hands and uses a club move to gain the edge and arm extension move to convert speed to power. Hendrickson has very good lateral quickness and had outstanding times in the 20-yard shuttle as well as the 60-yard shuttle as well as a good time in the 3-Cone Drill.

He’s good at jarring the ball free and forced four fumbles in his final season at Florida Atlantic. He shined at the East – West Shrine Game and was named as the game’s most outstanding defensive player.

Pros:

– Very good production with 23 sacks the past two seasons

– Quick off the snap and explosiveness off the edge

– Good hands and plays sideline to sideline

– Versatile, can play either DE or OLB

Cons

– Lean lower half of his body

– Arms a bit short for a DE, may fit best as a 3-4 OLB

– Can get too tall at times allowing blockers to get under his pads

What his Role Will Be:
Hendrickson’s role would be to be a part of the rotation for the Patriots on the edge as a sub-package pass rusher. He could be asked to drop into coverage a bit as well.

Will his Role Change from Year 1-2?
Yes, with time to get a bit stronger in the strength and conditioning program, he could develop into a premium pass rusher and become an every down player.

How Many Downs Can He Play?
Three

What Current Player on the Roster Will He Replace?
Geneo Grissom, Hendrickson will become a Special Teams standout player early. He will earn his reps there and in sub-packages. But with a strong summer, he may push for some reps defensively early

What is his ST Value?
Excellent. Blocked a punt, two field goals and an extra point in 2016.

Conclusion:
Hendrickson is a player that won’t be denied, he has the mentality that the coaches love and look for. He does a good job of setting the edge in the running game although he will need to beef up a little at the NFL level.

Scouts were focusing on his arm length and lack of dynamic pass rush ability until the East – West Shrine Game where he turned some heads with strong play all week. He has the positional versatility to play either as a defensive end with his hand in the dirt or as an outside linebacker. He hasn’t had much experience playing standing up and that may take some getting used to if the team feels he’s best suited there.

In our opinion, this kid can play defensive end and be a productive one. He’ll start out as a Special Teams and sub-package pass rusher specialist but he has the ability to become a true three-down player. His versatility to play multiple positions and be a key contributor in Special Teams will resonate with Bill Belichick.

Hendrickson is slated to go somewhere between Rounds 3 and 4 in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Patriots will be looking to add a couple of edge rushers this spring and if he’s on the board when they are on the clock, he’d be a nice fit for the Patriots defense. He has the mentality, the drive to succeed at the next level.

Hendrickson’s highlight tape can be seen here:

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Daily Notebook: Monday Patriots News and Notes 4/3

Ian Logue
April 3, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Here’s a look at this morning’s top stories:

Gronkowski Crashed Wrestlemania Sunday Night – Any fans wondering how Rob Gronkowski is recovering from his offseason back surgery might have had a chance to see first-hand Sunday night if they tuned in to Wrestlemania, with the veteran tight end making a surprise appearance.

Gronkowski entered the ring in support of his friend, Mojo Rawly and leveled wrestler Jinder Mahal in the ring.

Take a look:

Here’s another video from Sports Illustrated:

It seems he’s feeling better and already hitting people, which should be a relatively positive sign heading into 2017.


The Patriots backfield will look different in 2017 without LeGarrette Blount.

Peterson Set to Visit Patriots Monday – With LeGarrette Blount still out there in free agency and his time seemingly done in New England, it appears the Patriots are still exploring their options and have a visit scheduled with a notable name on Monday.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the team is set to look at Adrian Peterson, with the former Vikings running back set to visit Foxboro today.

Peterson is a free agent after Minnesota elected not to pick up his $18 million option last month.   He finished his career with the Vikings with an impressive 11,747 rushing yards but has never enjoyed a trip to the Super Bowl and obviously playing in New England would potentially give him that opportunity.

Running back is certainly a question mark heading into 2017, with Blount having carried the majority of the ground game in 2016, finishing with 299 carries for 1161 yards and 18 touchdowns, including 35 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown in the postseason.

As it currently stands, it will be newcomer Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis, James White and D.J. Foster each battling it out for the lead role next season.  Adding Peterson to the mix would definitely be interesting, although if signed, Peterson would still have to prove during training camp that he’d be able to handle the rigors of that role for Bill Belichick’s football team.

Peterson had previously visited the Seahawks back on March 9th and Tweeted back on March 25th that his goal is “finding the best fit” and that helping a team win a championship is his “main objective”.  We’ll have to wait and see if he’ll get that chance here in New England.

Patriots Will Play Their Preseason “Dress Rehearsal” in Detroit – If Patriots fans were hoping to get a long look at Tom Brady in the preseason in 2017, it looks like that won’t be the case thanks to a report from ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

Reiss reported in his weekly Sunday football notes column that the Week 3 preseason match-up for the Patriots will take place in Detroit next season, which will be great for any fans from New England who are on hand for the contest but not for those attending those games in Foxboro.

The third game tends to be the one where the starters tend to see the most time on the field, and unfortunately this year’s team won’t be playing that game in front of the home crowd at Gillette Stadium.

This marks back-to-back seasons the Patriots have played on the road in their third exhibition game, with New England having played on the road last season and in 2015 against the Panthers.  The last time they played at home was back in 2014, which was also against Carolina.

They last played in Week 3 in the preseason against the Lions back on August 22, 2013, which was also in Detroit.

Mitchell Visits High School Kids on Friday – Fans might think that the players are off vacationing but rookie Malcolm Mitchell is still pretty busy and spent some time speaking to students Friday.

According to the Tifton Gazette, the rookie receiver visited Northside Primary in Georgia and expressed the importance of reading to the kids.

“In order to win the Super Bowl,” Mitchell told them, “I had to read.”

The now-second-year receiver is apparently a Harry Potter fan, explaining to the students that he was reading one of the books during his lunch at the University of Georgia and realized how caught up he was in the characters, telling them he understood “Reading is magic.”

Mitchell also later told them toward the end of his visit, “I believe in you, and I want you to believe in yourself.”

Yet another reason to root for a player who enjoyed success in his first season, finishing with 32 receptions for 401 yards in the regular season, as well as 7 receptions for 75 yards during New England’s championship run in the playoffs.

Daily Notebook: Thursday Patriots News and Notes 3/30

Ian Logue
March 30, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Here’s a look at today’s top stories:

SAINTS WON’T SIGN BUTLER TO AN OFFER SHEET – The situation with Malcolm Butler seemed to be escalating beyond the point of no return recently, but it looks like there’s a shot that the veteran cornerback might not necessarily be going anywhere just yet.

Butler, who is a restricted free agent and saw New England place a first-round tender on him earlier this offseason, met with the Saints earlier this month but didn’t receive an offer sheet from New Orleans, which had he signed it and had the Patriots opted not to match it, would have meant the Saints would have been forced to give up the #11 overall pick to get him.

According to head coach Sean Payton, that’s not an option and it sounds like right now things might have quieted down on that front.

“We had a chance to visit with him,” Payton said via the Times-Picayune. “Currently, to my understanding, he hasn’t signed his tender. It was just that. We can sign him to an offer sheet, but I don’t think we’re going to do that and give up the 11 pick.”

“In fact, I know we’re not going to do that. It kind of it what it is right now.”

Whether or not that means he’ll remain in New England remains to be seen.  The Patriots can still opt to trade him after he signs his tender, but that option doesn’t really make sense unless Butler suddenly becomes so unbearable that the front office needs to ship him out of town.

Payton reportedly acknowledged that a deal for Butler would involve a sign-and-trade deal but also added, “That would just be speculation, though.”

Robert Kraft recently said that the team had no intention of trading Butler, and that he’d like to see him stay.

“I know he has the ability to go out in the market and get someone to sign him, and then we either match it or get the first-round draft pick. “I’m rooting, I hope, he’s with us and signs his [tender] and plays for us,” Kraft said via the Boston Globe.  “I have a great affection for him. He was part of probably the greatest play in the history of our team, but there are a lot of people involved in that on both sides.”

Now it’s just a question of whether or not the two can find a common ground.  The idea of having both Stephon Gilmore and Butler in the secondary seems to make too much sense to not find a way to make it work, and if the Patriots aren’t going to receive a king’s ransom to pry him away, there’s no need to let the business of winning football games suffer by allowing him to force his way out of town.  For Butler, as annoyed as he might be, he’ll still be getting nearly a $3 million pay raise with an opportunity to further increase his stock next season.

Then there’s still the possibility that cooler heads might prevail and the Patriots put together a deal that includes just enough guaranteed money for Butler decide that the endorsements he’d receive in a region where he single-handedly helped make history are far more valuable than going to another market where he’s just a cornerback.  In New England, he’s become much bigger than that, and that’s obviously worth something.

We’ll see how it plays out, but the fact he’s still here is good news. Each passing day brings more hope that there still remains a future for him here.  And if the Saints aren’t willing to make it worth their while, there’s no reason why 2017 shouldn’t see him on the roster.


Atlanta’s fourth quarter strategy played into Brady and the Patriots’ hands.

DAN QUINN STILL WON’T ADMIT MISTAKES IN SUPER BOWL – For a coach, Dan Quinn seems to be a man still in denial and it’s hard to blame him since losing a Super Bowl has to be a tough thing for a guy who knows just how close his team was to winning it all.

Quinn now faces the challenge of picking up the pieces and moving on, with his team battling the odds when it comes to a Super Bowl loser bouncing back the next season and getting back to the big game.  There’s no guarantees and over the course of a grueling 16 game season, so many things need to go right in order for that to happen.

According to an article on MMQB, Quinn has spent a lot of time reliving the loss, watching film over and over as he prepares getting his team ready for the 2017 season.  Looking back, one thing that Quinn notes is that he has no regrets in terms of the decision he made with 3:56 remaining in the fourth quarter when he allowed offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to call a passing play on second down instead of trying to run out the clock and kick a field goal, which would have made it a two possession game.  It was obviously a bad decision for the Falcons since Trey Flowers dropped quarterback Matt Ryan for a 12-yard loss, followed by a holding penalty that knocked Atlanta out of field goal range.

That gave the football back to New England with just a touchdown and a two-point conversion away from being able to tie things up and obviously the rest, as they say, is history.  Still, despite how they handled that one costly drive, Quinn believes they had every opportunity to win the game.

“We still had an eight-point lead,” Quinn said via the MMQB. “We could have stopped them on defense. They didn’t have to get the two-point conversion.” He sighs. “The game was not won or lost on that [sequence]. That’s important to note.”

It’s also important to note that had they handled things differently and kicked that field goal, Tom Brady might not have been able to pull off the greatest championship comeback ever.

It’s a fact that, like it or not, Quinn will be forced to live with as he faces the challenge of trying to get there one more time.  It took Atlanta nearly a decade to get another chance the last time they were in it and they fell short.  Hopefully for Quinn’s sake, his opportunity will come a little quicker.


There’s plenty of mutual respect between Brady and Sherman.

BEFORE GILMORE DEAL, SHERMAN WAS ON PATRIOTS RADAR – Bill Belichick is a big fan of bringing in players from other teams who have caused his team problems over the years, and it sounds like he might have inquired about one of them this offseason prior to New England’s signing of Gilmore.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Patriots were among teams who inquired with the Seahawks about potentially swinging a deal to bring Richard Sherman to New England.

Instead, a deal never materialized and the Patriots turned their attention elsewhere.  Seeing both Brady and Sherman together in the same locker room would have been fun to see given their mutual respect for each other, but for now, they’ll remain opponents.

Former Burkhead coach has high praise for the new Patriots RB – Browns head coach Hugh Jackson was Rex Burkhead’s position coach and offensive coordinator in Cincinnati and he knows that the Patriots definitely improved after signing him.

Jackson said that he believes the Patriots ended up with a pretty good player after signing him away from the Bengals earlier this month.

“He’s very talented,” Jackson said, via Phil Perry of CSNNE. “He’s a guy that was playing behind some very talented players, and so he’s going to get his opportunity now and he’s going to flourish. He’s a really good player. A really good player.”

“He’s very versatile because he’s a good runner, a good pass-catcher. He’s a good blocker. He’s very bright. He’s been a sensational special teams player there so he brings a lot of different elements to that football team.”

The addition of Burkhead fills out a talented backfield that now features Dion Lewis, James White and D.J. Foster all joining him when the team eventually gets back out on the field in the coming months.


Ealy’s former coach believes the DE hasn’t reached his potential yet.

Rivera believes playing in New England “will be really good for him – Panthers head coach Ron Rivera spoke highly of his former defensive end Kony Ealy on Wednesday, saying that he has a chance to thrive with the Patriots if he does things the way that Belichick will want him to do them.

“More than anything else is just really do what he’s told,” Rivera said via the Boston Herald. “I think being around a program like what coach (Bill) Belichick has established in New England will be really good for him. I think it will be an opportunity for him to grow and take another step. I think it’s a good situation. I really do. The biggest thing, more than anything else, is do things the way coach Belichick wants them done.”

Kony had high expectations coming out of the 2014 draft and it seemed like he really came into his own after his huge game against the Broncos in Super Bowl 50.  In that game he totaled three sacks along with an interception and a forced fumble.  He seemed like he was on his way to big things but fizzled out in Carolina, but now he has an opportunity to rejuvenate his career.

“They’re getting a guy, I think, who hasn’t truly tapped his potential,” Rivera said. “He showed it. He flashed it in the Super Bowl. If they can get him back to that point, I think they’ll get a very explosive pass rusher.”

That’s exactly what the Patriots could use, and he’s yet another player to keep an eye on in 2017.

Mixon Not in New England’s Sights – If the Patriots had any intention of adding to their backfield in this year’s draft, it sounds like Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon won’t be part of that equation.

According to the Boston Herald, the Patriots have taken themselves out of the mix and aren’t even considering Mixon’s services.  Mixon was arrested for punching a female student at his university, breaking four bones in her face.

A video of the incident brought it to the forefront and Kraft said that any chance of drafting him isn’t even a consideration.

“While I believe in second chances and giving players an opportunity for redemption, I also believe that playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right,” Kraft told the Boston Herald. “For me, personally, I believe that privilege is lost for men who have a history of abusing women.”

That’s obviously a feeling that the majority of fans in New England likely share as well. Credit Kraft for being able to say publicly what most people probably agree with, and now the question will be whether or not other teams will follow that same lead.

Daily Notebook: Tuesday Patriots News and Notes 3/28

Ian Logue
March 28, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Here’s a look at today’s top stories:

Brady Plans on Sticking Around For a While – People might still be wondering what type of time frame Tom Brady might have in mind in terms of how much longer he plans on playing football, and it sounds like anyone concerned about this era coming to a close any time soon might be able to rest a little easier.

Brady had already made it clear that he’s far from close to being done with the game and recently reiterated that to Robert Kraft, who said on Monday that the veteran quarterback plans on playing into his late 40s.

“As recently as 2-3 days ago, he assured me he’d be willing to play six to seven more years and at the level he performed,” Kraft said Monday at the NFL’s annual meeting via Mike Reiss of ESPN. “There’s no one that would be happier than I, and our fan base.”

The 39-year old turns 40 on August 3rd, starting both a new chapter in his life both on and off the field.  As he waves good-bye to his 30s, he’ll begin his journey down the road of what will most likely be the most scrutinized of his career.  Crossing the barrier into that age group has usually spelled the beginning of the end for even the best quarterbacks, with none of them playing anywhere close to the level of what Brady did at the age of 39.  Now the question will be whether or not one of the most consistent players in the game can carry his success into the next stage of his career.


Brady and Kraft obviously share a special relationship.

Everyone knows about his work ethic both in terms of how he approaches the game in his preparation and with how he takes care of himself.  Kraft mentioned on Monday that Brady has been doing that since the beginning, which certainly speaks volumes about his success.

“I think Tommy’s sustained excellence is just unbelievable,” said Kraft.  “It’s a lifestyle. He’s in training now, it’s not like he’s stopped.  I remember after our first Super Bowl in ’01 going down in the training room in the old Foxboro Stadium, three days after we won, he’s in there with the music blaring working out. He’s really dedicated.  The thing that’s amazing about him. To this day, he hasn’t changed as a human being in how he relates to people, but also how he works out. The only thing that’s probably changed is how he eats and his diet. I’m not sure avocado ice cream is right for me, but if I could look like him and perform half as well, I guess I’d do it.”

How he performs at 40 will likely be one topic we’ll probably hear quite a bit in the months ahead and expect the pool of sharks to continue grow. There have already been plenty of media both locally and nationally who spent all of last season circling him and waiting for him to fail, obviously looking to pounce while being the first to announce his demise.

We’ve probably already missed out on many of them.  If you could go back and dig out the stories written when the Patriots trailed by 25-points in the third quarter against the Falcons in Houston (or likely following the pick-six he threw in the first half), there were probably some nauseating ones.  Fortunately those never saw daylight and instead they were ultimately crumpled up and thrown into the bin after Brady erased the deficit and brought the team back for a historic victory.

But there are likely some who still have one on their laptops half-written, knowing that day has to come eventually.  Now it’s just up to Brady to decide whether they’ll ever be printed, or if he’ll instead walk away at the top of his game before his critics ever get the opportunity to write his obituary.


What does the future hold for Butler?

Kraft Hopes Butler is “with us” – The situation with Malcolm Butler continues to drag on, but Patriots owner Robert Kraft told reporters on Monday that it remains his hope that Butler is still in New England’s secondary in 2017.

“I know he has the ability to go out in the market and get someone to sign him, and then we either match it or get the first-round draft pick. “I’m rooting, I hope, he’s with us and signs his [tender] and plays for us,” Kraft said via the Boston Globe.  “I have a great affection for him. He was part of probably the greatest play in the history of our team, but there are a lot of people involved in that on both sides.”

When asked if the team intended to trade him, Kraft responded with a clear “No.”

The Saints remain the team who appear to be the team Butler might be destined to end up, although despite a cryptic post on Instagram, nothing has materialized just yet.  Multiple reports have indicated that the two sides having discussed possible parameters about a new contract, but the Globe reports that as of now, Butler hasn’t received an offer sheet.

Having already signed Stephon Gilmore to a contract this offseason, New England’s secondary will certainly have a different look to it next season.  Whether or not Butler might still be a part of it remains to be seen, with the April 21st deadline for restricted free agents to sign an offer sheet with another team now less than a month away.  After listening to Kraft, it sounds like the Patriots intend to continue to be patient while it plays itself out.


Could Revis Return to New England?

Kraft on Revis: “I would love it” – With Darrelle Revis still without a football team, there are some who believe that a reunion in New England would make plenty of sense and Kraft certainly sounds like he might be open to the possibility.

The New York Daily News reported that Kraft said he has no problem with a Revis reunion, and wouldn’t mind having him back.

“I would love it,” Kraft said via Gary Myers of the New York Daily News. “Speaking for myself, if he wanted to come back, he’s a great competitor, I’d welcome him if he wanted to come.”

Myers also asked Kraft if there had been any contact, to which Kraft replied, “Ask my boy,” referring to Belichick.

As Myers points out, the Jets still owe Revis $6 million in guaranteed money and New York would owe him the balance of whatever another team pays him.  That means that if the Patriots paid Revis the $1 million veteran minimum to return to Foxboro, the Jets would be on the hook for the remaining $5 million.

There’s no love lost between the two organizations and it would certainly be fun seeing the Jets paying the salary of one of their key players during another championship run.  For Revis, if he can’t earn another big pay day, the next logical step would be the opportunity to add another piece of jewelry to his collection.

Either way, for Kraft, it’s up to “his boy” and after winning another ring without him, Revis no longer has the leverage he might have believed he had if he thought the Patriots couldn’t win unless he was on their roster.  Instead, Revis is just another player with an uncertain future who could end up being a spectator again in January while watching his old team make yet another run.

Kraft Calls Move For Patriots Getting Cooks From Saints “Excellent” – Kraft saw how things played out in 2007 after the team acquired Randy Moss and he seems pretty happy about the former Saints receiver being a part of his football team.

Kraft said Monday that he’s been pleased with the personnel moves the team has made so far, and he’s excited about what Cooks will bring to their offense.

“Part of it is the makeup of our team and the opportunities that have come along,” Kraft said via the Boston Globe. “I think what [the football staff] has done has been excellent, including getting [Brandin Cooks] from New Orleans. Since I’ve owned the team the only player that could make an impact like that at wide receiver was Randy Moss. [Cooks] doesn’t have his height but he looks like he’s got his speed. So, I think that’s complementary to what we have on the team and I’m excited about that.”

As for the guy who will be coaching these players, Kraft said he’d like to keep Belichick around until “he’s in his 80s.”

Kraft Believes Giants Would Have Beaten them in Super Bowl XLI – According to Giants co-owner Steve Tisch, Kraft wouldn’t have liked his team’s chances against Tisch’s Giants had they ended up facing each other in Houston in February.

Tisch said that Kraft told him just that, which he took as a compliment.

“Bob Kraft after the Super Bowl told me, ‘You would have beat us,’ ” Tisch said via the New York Post at the NFL Annual Meeting on Monday. “That was a nice compliment.”

Given New York’s history in that game against the Patriots, Tisch admitted that he liked his team’s chances.

“When I heard that, I agreed with him,” said Tisch.

Gronk Anxious to Get Back – It’s been a while since fans have seen Rob Gronkowski out on the football field and it seems like he’s definitely motivated to get back out there.

The veteran tight end is continuing his rehabilitation coming off of a season-ending back injury last season, and although he’s had some fun moments this offseason, he’s looking forward to playing again.

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VIDEO: Jay Glazer Releases Security Footage Following Brady Jersey Theft

Ian Logue
March 21, 2017 at 10:47 am ET

While Tom Brady’s jerseys from Super Bowl XLIX and LI have been recovered, the mystery continues in terms of how the culprit behind the theft could have gotten away with it.

On Monday, reports emerged that the two jerseys had been recovered, and on Tuesday FS1’s Jay Glazer released security footage he obtained of the perpetrator walking in and then later out of the locker room.

The Sporting News’ Jordan Heck posted the video on via his Twitter account (see below), and you can see Maurico Ortega, the man Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported was behind the heist, calmly walking both in and then later leaving the Patriots’ locker room.

One would have to believe that this incident will certainly change the way the NFL handles security in their teams’ locker rooms moving forward, and hopefully prevent such events moving forward.