It was a busy day yesterday, which brings us plenty to talk about this morning – so here are today’s top stories:
The big news this morning is obviously everyone reacting to the fact New England waived Darius Butler yesterday afternoon, so let’s get right to the headlines.
Monique Walker and Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe combine for a piece on Butler this morning, which includes the fact that Butler heard rumors that he would be traded, but it simply happened at a different time than he expected.
“I felt it,’’ Butler said. “It wasn’t a surprise. I was hearing trade speculation. It happened maybe a little bit later than I wanted, but I’m ready to go forward.’’
Mike Reiss also has more on the release, with Butler acknowledging that things just weren’t working out between he and the football team and that head coach Bill Belichick was the one who informed him directly on his release.
“I didn’t know how it would work out, a trade or release. I’m not really surprised by it,” he said. “Things weren’t working out with me and the team. It’s not really a shocker. You can kind of see the writing on the wall sometimes. It was best for both parties.”
Ian Rapoport has a notebook this morning that leads off with more on the former UCONN corner, who called the Patriots a “class act” organization before leaving Foxboro. He was claimed by Carolina off waivers.
“From Mr. (Robert) Kraft to coach (Bill) Belichick to the staff, everybody was professional and about winning championships,” Butler said. “You see that throughout our locker room. It was good to be around that for two years, and I take a lot of things that I learned from there, not only in football, but off the field.”
I also had an entry last night looking back on a pivotal year for Butler, who after seeing him nearly grab a starting role last season just couldn’t take the next step here in New England.
Monique Walker files her ‘notebook’ this morning, with a mention on the fact that the Patriots claimed ex-Dolphin linebacker A.J. Edds off of waivers yesterday. He’s a former 4th round pick who is coming off of an ACL tear that kept him out last season.
Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post has an article yesterday on the fact that the “Spy Game” is alive and well after each team in the division recently grabbed former castoffs.
Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston has 10 Predictions for the Patriots for this season, including the fact he believes Jerod Mayo will get a contract extension.
Our own Russ Goldman has his 10 Thoughts on the team for this week, including the fact that he believes new Miami offensive coordinator Brian Daboll could be a huge factor in this week’s game.
After all the transactions recently Derek Havens also wonders if there’s been too much roster turnover here in New England.
Mike Rodak of ESPN Boston writes that the team worked out three tight ends on Tuesday, with Dan Gronkowski – the brother of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski – John Nalbone, and Justin Peelle visiting Foxboro. Multiple reports have Gronkowski as being set to join the team, but there’s yet to be a confirmation just yet.
Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald has an article on the fact that a catchless preseason doesn’t have Belichick concerned one bit about veteran wide receiver Deion Branch heading into this season.
Ron Borges of the Boston Herald has a great column this morning on runningback BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who Borges writes that the fact he’s had to work so hard to earn his role is something that he’s been dealing with dating all the way back to his college days. It’s a good read, so be sure and check it out.
Kirk Minihane of WEEI.com has an article previewing the AFC and wonders if New England is the class of the conference.
Tom Brady appeared on WEEI yesterday morning and sparked the Randy Moss talk again, after he said during the interview that he’d welcome the receiver back “with open arms” if he ever came back – responding to a question about the fact Moss said recently he’d unretire to come back to New England if they needed him.
Rich Garven of the Worcester Telegram has more on Brady’s comments, which includes a great photo of the two following their dismantling of Moss and Brett Favre in the showdown against the Vikings in Foxboro last season.
Ian Rapoport has an entry after pointing out a podcast with Brady and Rich Eisen, and includes some great additional quotes from the Patriots signal caller. One quote is the fact that Brady said he’s been conditioned to think “short term” thanks to Belichick.
“I’ve been very conditioned to think very short-term and focused over the years. When you play for coach Belichick, everything is short-term. Basically, it’s this day of practice. And then tomorrow’s practice will take care of itself and Friday’s practice will take care of itself and ultimately, the game will take care of itself. You start thinking weeks down the road, there are so many details that we’re trying to accomplish, On an offensive football team, to me it’s a 14-yard in-cut. Where you’re attacking the leverage of a defensive back and breaking the in-cut and coming flat. Particular routes, which lead to plays which lead to series which lead to quarters and then halves and then games. All these things add up. So, if you are thinking about Week 10 and it’s Week 2, I bet you you’re not going to be very successful.”
Rapoport also has another entry from yesterday with a mention from Belichick on linebacker Brandon Spikes’ injury.
“He’s missed some time, that put him a little behind with the time that he’s missed. He’s back on the field now, working hard to get back his conditioning and timing and all those things. We’ll see how quickly he can (catch up). It’s unfortunate that he missed the time. He was doing well, and he’s back out there now. He looks like he’s doing OK, but we’ll see how quickly he can get back up to speed.”
And finally, there was an interesting article this morning in the Attleboro Sun Chronicle, with state senator Richard Ross believing that Kraft is being sneaky and has some sort of “inside ballgame” about bringing a casino to Foxboro.
That’s it for this morning. We’ll have more throughout the day as the team will hold their big media day at the stadium, including injury reports, etc. So keep an eye on the front page of PatsFans.com for updates both here, and on the newswire.