Another practice session is in the books, with Chad Ochocinco making his first appearance since joining the Patriots last night.
It appears that Aaron Hernandez may have accepted a deal with Ochocinco to give up #85. He was spotted in the afternoon session wearing #81 – Randy Moss’ old number. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
According to published reports Ochocinco didn’t participate, but he received plenty of cheers from the fans who were on hand to observe the practice when he arrived on the field.
During the session Ochocinco spent time dipping his head into the huddle, as well as talking to offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and quarterback Tom Brady as he begins trying to get acclimated to the offense.
Following the session he disappeared with rookie quarterback Ryan Mallett into the team’s indoor practice facility. Since both just arrived this morning (Mallet just agreed to terms and signed earlier today) most believe they were likely undergoing their conditioning tests as well as individual drills.
Brady said afterwards that he’s looking forward to being able to begin working him into the offense.
“I’ve known Chad for a long time,” Brady told the media Friday. “I’ve watched him for a long time. He brings a lot of energy to the team, and we’re looking forward to everyone being out here and trying to get better. Trying to see what we can make of this year.
“He has been a very prolific receiver; I think he’s had a bunch of production over the years. Hopefully he can come in here and find a role on this team, like we’re all trying to do. We’re all trying to come out here and see what we can make of this year, see what kind of role we can make for ourselves.”
As for players who participated – forgetting those currently on the PUP list – with Mallett being added to the mix, that leaves just Marcus Cannon, Nate Solder, Ras-I Dowling, and Shane Vereen as unsigned draft selections still out of practice. According to ESPNBoston.com offensive lineman Logan Mankins (franchise tag), cornerback Kyle Arrington (exclusive-rights free agent), and running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (restricted free agent) remained out of action due to CBA transition rules.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick met with the media this morning and deflected from commenting on either Albert Haynesworth or Ochocinco, saying that neither player is “officially on the team” just yet.
“We’ve done some things. We just haven’t done everything. They’re at different stages,” said Belichick. “One player has some things and another player has other things. And when they’re completed, when everything is checked off, when all the terms have been agreed to, then the trade is consummated. Until that point, it’s not. I don’t know any other way to put it.”
The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy went after him during the press conference, obviously questioning Haynesworth’s past and whether or not that was taken into account. Belichick didn’t really answer the question, and then went on to say that everyone’s made mistakes – and left it at that.
Said Belichick, “I think we can look at every player, every person in this room’s past, and find something that was a mistake and is less than ideal – on any team, in any group of people. We’ve all made mistakes.”
Belichick also talked a little about linebacker Jerod Mayo, who he said has done a good job of establishing himself as a leader on this football team.
“Jerod established himself as a starter and a very productive player for us his rookie year and by his second year he was elected captain by his teammates, so I think that gives you an idea of the amount of respect that the players as well as the coaches and the organization have for Jerod and the job that he did,” said Belichick. “He moved into that role quickly. It wasn’t one that he campaigned for or necessarily sought out. But just by the way he performed and the way he carried himself and the respect that his teammates had for him, those were things that were earned and I think very deserving.
“He has all the respect in the world from me, the coaching staff, and I’m sure all the players, just because of what he does and the way he does it.”
Meanwhile, during the second session Ochocinco’s been spotted with a #85 jersey – so there may have been a financial transaction with teammate Aaron Hernandez (who was seen wearing #81 on his shorts). This is unconfirmed of course, but it seems the second-year player may have cashed in on Ochocinco’s arrival.
Finally the team’s official site just announced via Twitter that the Patriots have released six veterans, including Ty Warren, Marcus Stroud, Alge Crumpler, Nick Kaczur, and Tully Banta-Cain. Stroud and Banta-Cain were just a formality, as most reports already had them set to be released. Kaczur was expected due to the fact the team wanted him to take a pay cut and he had refused, but the Crumpler, and Warren move were a surprise. Belichick may have said the trade for Haynesworth, “wasn’t official”, but Warren’s early release leads you to believe – not that there was really any doubt – that that deal is finally done. The good news for Warren is it gives him plenty of time to catch on somewhere else, although some feel that several of these deals could be restructured so that we could potentially see one or more of these guys brought back.
We’ll have another final report later this evening.