Brown was introduced to the media on Wednesday. (USA TODAY Images)
As they do every year, the Patriots introduced this year’s first round selection to the media on Wednesday, with Malcom Brown on hand at Gillette Stadium as he gets ready to begin his life as a member of the Patriots.
Brown, who was selected 32nd overall during the NFL Draft, spent 10 minutes speaking to the media and seemed pretty upbeat while letting everyone know he’s looking forward to begin getting to work.
“We got in here two weeks ago on Thursday. Just right away from the get-go you see the hard work and you see everything just thrown at you, so you’ve got to grasp it and go,” said Brown.
The rookie also said that he’s been welcomed by the guys in the locker room, who he says have taken him under their wing thus far, making the acclimation process a little easier for him.
“Everybody is taking me under their wing and everybody just wants you to work hard,” said Brown. “Really you don’t have a choice but to work hard because everybody’s going to compete.”
“Everybody wants you to work hard and help the team win games. As long as you’ve got that mindset, everybody’s happy with you.”
So far his impressions of head coach Bill Belichick have been positive, with the rookie admitting he’s been getting a little bit of “tough love”, which isn’t a bad thing.
“Great guy,” said Brown. “He’s my new coach now and he shows everybody a lot of love – tough love – and sometimes you need that.”
The expectations will certainly be high for him heading into his rookie season. He was a disruptive player in college, finishing with 70 tackles in 2014 including 13 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks. That’s exactly the type of player the Patriots need in their defensive to compliment guys like Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich. Considering the losses they’ve dealt with in the secondary, having players who can cut down the amount of time opposing quarterbacks have to throw is going to be critical as they try and defend their Super Bowl title.
For now Brown isn’t letting himself get caught up with being in a locker room with great names or being around guys who were Super Bowl heroes. He just seems focused on becoming a champion himself and he’s trying to adapt the work ethic that he seems to understand is what will help him take the next step.
“I can’t be a good teammate if I’m focused on all that stuff, this and that,” said Brown. “I just go to work. I just use their work ethic to help mine and adapt to theirs because they work hard every day and go to work.”
McGinest becomes the newest addition to the Patriots Hall of Fame. (USA TODAY Images)
There have been a lot of great players over the years here in New England, and the Patriots are about to induct a couple of terrific ones into an elite group later this year.
The team announced on Tuesday that former defensive end Willie McGinest along with defensive lineman Houston Antwine will be the newest additions to The Hall at Patriots Place presented by Raytheon later this summer, although no date has been confirmed.
McGinest spent 12-seasons in New England after being drafted in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft, just one year after the Patriots selected Drew Bledsoe with the first overall selection in 1993. The two were key parts of helping put New England back on the map as an elite franchise, with McGinest later also becoming a key part of a defensive group that helped win three titles in 2001, 2003 and 2004.
Bledsoe was inducted back in 2011, and now McGinest will don a red jacket of his own.
Antwine was with the team from 1961 through 1971, although he’ll be honored posthumously after having passed away in December of 2011 at the age of 72. He was selected back in April by the senior selection committee.
The induction of McGinest is significant because he was the first player taken after Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994.
“Just a few months after I bought the Patriots, we drafted Willie McGinest in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft in a statement on Tuesday. “We came into the NFL together and will always share a special bond. During his 12-year Patriots career, Willie played a critical role in transforming us from a cellar dweller into a championship-caliber team.
“He was a leader of a defensive unit that propelled the Patriots to our first Super Bowl Championship in 2001. His leadership during the season and dominance in the postseason proved principal to our success in winning back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004. Willie was a part of so many memorable moments for Patriots fans during his career. Now, I am looking forward to Patriots fans giving Willie a memorable moment as we celebrate his induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame.”
When a date is announced, the event, as it is every year, will be free to the public to attend. McGinest also will reportedly be honored during a halftime ceremony this year.
The season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs was memorable for all the wrong reasons that year, with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady suffering a season-ending knee injury mere moments into the game. It was hard to imagine coming off of an undefeated regular season, especially with all the pieces still in place to potentially run the table again, that Brady’s season would be cut short so soon. Yet after having not missed a game since taking over in 2001, it was a harsh reminder of how quickly things can change.
It’s been a long time since someone other than Tom Brady has been under center for New England. (USA TODAY Images)
Here we are years later and Brady is coming off of winning his fourth title, which had eluded this team for a decade. This should have been an enjoyable time for both he and the fans here in New England, especially given all the obstacles they overcame during the year to get there. However, instead of being able to enjoy the accolades that typically accompany a championship win, Brady’s offseason has been shrouded with accusations and an investigation (one in which Ted Wells admitted millions of dollars were spent…which is still mind-boggling) all over how 1 psi was missing from footballs.
As it stands right now Brady’s currently facing a four game suspension over that debacle, although that story still has a long way to play out before we know the outcome. Hopefully fans will see that number reduced, but if Brady does miss a game, it will end a pretty good streak he’s had going since coming back from his knee injury.
Up until that injury Brady hadn’t missed a game since taking over as the Patriots’ signal caller, and he’s been just as reliable since returning. Brady is currently ranked fourth in the NFL in consecutive regular season games played among quarterbacks with 96, trailing the Giants’ Eli Manning (167), San Diego’s Philip Rivers (145) and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco (112).
If he’s forced to sit out, that streak obviously comes to an end. Brady’s a guy who hates not being on the field, but if the NFLPA and his legal team can’t get this overturned, he may not have much of a choice.
Owner Robert Kraft put down his gloves last week against the league but the fight seems to be just getting started for the veteran quarterback. Brady has been quiet since the investigation and said a couple of weeks ago that he would be saying something “soon” about this mess, although to this point he hasn’t said a word since.
For now we’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out, but the numbers are a reminder that it’s been a long time since someone other than Brady has taken a meaningful snap under center for New England. Whether or not he’ll be out there for sixteen games again in 2015 will likely remain the biggest question in the months ahead.
Kraft surprised everyone after ending his fight against the NFL on Tuesday. (USA TODAY Images)
Patriots owner Robert Kraft is one of the smartest guys in the league. He’s been through some difficult times both as an owner here in New England and as an ambassador of the NFL and he’s always come up with a plan of attack that after all was said and done, somehow eventually made sense.
That’s why after what we heard during his announcement on Tuesday, there’s got to be more to his decision to give up his fight against the NFL.
There’s got to be a reason why he believes it’s O.K. to just surrender a 1st and 4th round draft pick over something he seemed to believe with all his heart his team didn’t do. There’s got to be a reason why he’s not willing to continue this battle after he appeared to really feel so strongly that his club was being wrongly accused.
There has to be.
After all, four months ago a defiant Kraft was on a rampage, having seen his team win an AFC Championship and earn a well-deserved Super Bowl berth, only to have it torn down by allegations of intentionally using under-inflated footballs after blowing out the Colts, who we later found out phoned in the report leading up to it.
He led the charge and every Patriots fan lined up behind him. He was defiant. He was admirable. He won over everyone’s hearts when he said in one of the most memorable press conferences that he planned on demanding an apology if the team was cleared of any wrongdoing.
When the Wells report came out a couple of weeks ago, he seemed as though he still believed just as deeply that Tom Brady and his organization weren’t being treated fairly in the investigation, expressing his frustration publicly over it.
“When I addressed the media at the Super Bowl on January 26 — over 14 weeks ago — I stated that I unconditionally believed that the New England Patriots had done nothing inappropriate in this process or in violation of the NFL rules and that I was disappointed in the way the league handled the initial investigation,” said Kraft. “That sentiment has not changed.”
“I was convinced that Ted Wells’ investigation would find the same factual evidence supported by both scientific formula and independent research as we did and would ultimately exonerate the Patriots. Based on the explanations I have heard and the studies that have been done, I don’t know how the science of atmospheric conditions can be refuted or how conclusions to the contrary can be drawn without some definitive evidence.”
“To say we are disappointed in its findings, which do not include any incontrovertible or hard evidence of deliberate deflation of footballs at the AFC Championship Game, would be a gross understatement.”
Kraft was so adamant about his team’s innocence during Deflate-Gate that Tuesday’s announcement came as a surprise. (USA TODAY Images)
Over the weekend Kraft talked to the MMQB’s Peter King, expressing his frustration over the situation, doubting the evidence against them and how they were being treated. And he sounded seriously angry over it.
“This whole thing has been very disturbing,” Kraft told King. “I’m still thinking things out very carefully. But when you work for something your whole life …
“I just get really worked up. To receive the harshest penalty in league history is just not fair. The anger and frustration with this process, to me, it wasn’t fair. If we’re giving all the power to the NFL and the office of the commissioner, this is something that can happen to all 32 teams. We need to have fair and balanced investigating and reporting. But in this report, every inference went against us … inferences from ambiguous, circumstantial evidence all went against us. That’s the thing that really bothers me.
“If they want to penalize us because there’s an aroma around this? That’s what this feels like. If you don’t have the so-called smoking gun, it really is frustrating. And they don’t have it. This thing never should have risen to this level.”
He’s right, it shouldn’t have. The only problem is the league chose to mishandle the whole situation from the beginning. Had they simply sent out a warning to both teams prior to the AFC Championship game and had the referees also properly checked the footballs both before the game, and at halftime (with gauges that both actually worked correctly and gave identical readings…you can’t make this up), this entire situation could have been avoided.
Instead, that didn’t happen and the NFL took the Colts suspicions and ran with them, all the while failing to put together a proper protocol to fairly deal with it. By the time it was over their independent investigation seemingly took that premise and crucified the Patriots over two ball boys texting ridiculous things back and forth. The best part was the NFL felt that 100 seconds in a bathroom was enough time to take over a dozen footballs out of a huge equipment bag, put them on a slightly sloped floor, take a little air evenly out of each one, and then put them all back in the bag.
In 100 seconds. Experts argued that it was enough time in perfect circumstances, but given the readings and how close they were (and they could have potentially been even closer if the two gauges actually worked right) James McNally must have done an incredible job letting out that precise amount of air as he was allegedly furiously flying around with each of those footballs sprawled out all around him in that time frame.
That seems pretty unlikely, but it didn’t matter. Those two things were enough to reach a conclusion that it was “more probable than not” it happened and that somehow Brady was guilty for being “generally aware” of it. The more I type that, the more ridiculous it sounds each and every time I do it.
Kraft seemed to feel the same way. When the Patriots got upset and Kraft essentially declared war on the league, the battle seemed to be on and most fans out there stood behind him as he took on the multi-billionaire behemoth that is the NFL. He was leading the march right down to New York, a place most people tend to strongly dislike anyway since it houses one of their AFC East rivals as well as another team they share a stadium with who twice stole Super Bowls in the closing seconds, one of which ruined a potentially perfect season.
There was talk he’d even take the league to court. This sounded like a man so determined that he believed his team was innocent, that the sincerity he spoke with was beyond inspiring. He’s been a guy who has always put the fans at the top of the list and now they were rallying behind both he and Brady more than ever before. The best part was, it looked like the only man potentially powerful enough to take down Roger Goodell was poised to launch one of the biggest assaults in the history of the league and every fan in this region, and around the country, were ready to follow him into this epic fight.
Just three days ago he told King that he truly believed they didn’t do anything wrong, questioning the evidence – or the lack thereof – most notably the recollection of Walt Anderson and the fact that things like logic and science were ignored.
“Anderson has a pregame recollection of what gauge he used, and it’s disregarded, and the [Wells] Report just assumes he uses the other gauge,” Kraft told King. “Footballs have never been measured at halftime of any other game in NFL history. They have no idea how much footballs go down in cold weather or expand in warm weather. There is just no evidence that tampering with the footballs ever happened.”
Now here we are, just days later and their looming battle is suddenly no more. Somewhere between Saturday and Tuesday something happened, and Kraft changed his mind. As he spoke on Tuesday, what seemed to weigh heavily on him was whether or not he wanted to undergo what would likely be a long, drawn out battle that he didn’t sound ready for.
“I have two options: I can try to end it or extend it,” said Kraft on Tuesday. “I have given a lot of thought to both options. The first thing that came to mind is 21 years ago, I had the privilege of going to a meeting similar to what we’re at here, in Orlando, and being welcomed in an NFL owners’ meeting. Here’s a fan and a former season ticket holder living a dream and being welcomed in that room. I got goosebumps that day. I vowed at that time that I would do everything that I could do to make the New England Patriots an elite team and hopefully respected throughout the country and at the same time, do whatever I could do to try to help the NFL become the most popular sport in America.”
“Before I make a final decision, I measure nine times and I cut once. I think maybe if I had made the decision last week it would be different than it is today. But believing in the strength of the partnership and the 32 teams, we have concentrated the power of adjudication of problems in the office of the commissioner. Although I might disagree with what is decided, I do have respect for the Commissioner and believe that he’s doing what he perceives to be in the best interest of the full 32.”
At that point, most fans braced themselves for what they hoped wasn’t coming. But it did.
“So, in that spirit, I don’t want to continue the rhetoric that’s gone on for the last four months,” continued Kraft. “I’m going to accept, reluctantly, what he has given to us and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric. We won’t appeal.”
Just like that, the battle was over.
It’s hard to understand, but the decision to accept the punishment is essentially an admission of guilt, whether most people, Kraft included, like it or not. That’s hard to endure given that he just got everyone ready to follow him through whatever war was waiting, only to surrender without a shot being fired.
Now it’s just his quarterback continuing the fight, and Brady seems ready to see this through to the end. His lawyers and the NFLPA seem to be gearing up for whatever obstacles remain ahead of them, and with a four game suspension staring him down, the hope now is that somehow they’ll get that ridiculous penalty thrown out.
Some believe Kraft’s decision to give up was a move done in good faith to hopefully buy his signal-caller an opportunity to be on the field for the season opener. Other reports seem to signal the contrary, but the only one who truly knows the reasons behind Tuesday’s speech is Kraft.
But there’s got to be more to it than we know. There has to be.
For now most fans are frustrated and confused, and rightly so. But the story still needs to play out a little longer for us to truly know what his plan really is.
Kraft ended his speech Tuesday saying that he hopes fans trust his judgement.
“I know that a lot of Patriots fans are going to be disappointed in that decision,” said Kraft. “But I hope they trust my judgment and know that I really feel at this point in time that taking this off the agenda, this is the best thing for the New England Patriots, our fans and the NFL. I hope you all can respect that.”
It would just make it a little easier if we could understand it.
Hopefully we’ll eventually find out there’s more to this and it will all eventually make sense. Because up until right now, none of it, from the entire time this ridiculous mess blew up, and what just happened Tuesday, has made any sense at all.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady saw his agent, Don Yee, release a statement on Monday night in response to the league’s suspension of his client and he’s not impressed with the NFL’s penalty coming off of last week’s release of the Wells report.
Yee believes the four game suspension will get overturned in front of a “neutral” judge or arbitrator.
“The discipline is ridiculous and has no legitimate basis,” wrote Yee via ESPN Boston. “In my opinion, this outcome was pre-determined; there was no fairness in the Wells investigation whatsoever. There is no evidence that Tom directed footballs be set at pressures below the allowable limits. In fact, the evidence shows Tom clearly emphasized that footballs be set at pressures within the rules. Tom also cooperated with the investigation and answered every question presented to him. The Wells report presents significant evidence, however, that the NFL lacks standards or protocols with respect to its handling of footballs prior to games; this is not the fault of Tom or the Patriots. The report also presents significant evidence the NFL participated with the Colts in some type of pre-AFC Championship Game planning regarding the footballs. This fact may raise serious questions about the integrity of the games we view on Sundays. We will appeal, and if the hearing officer is completely independent and neutral, I am very confident the Wells Report will be exposed as an incredibly frail exercise in fact-finding and logic. The NFL has a well-documented history of making poor disciplinary decisions that often are overturned when truly independent and neutral judges or arbitrators preside, and a former federal judge has found the commissioner has abused his discretion in the past, so this outcome does not surprise me. Sadly, today’s decision diminishes the NFL as it tells its fans, players and coaches that the games on the field don’t count as much as the games played on Park Avenue.”
The league published the letter sent from NFL Executive President Troy Vincent, who informed him of his punishment that includes being suspended for the first four games of the upcoming 2015 season.
Here’s a look at what was sent to Brady via the NFL’s PR department:
“With respect to your particular involvement, the report established that there is substantial and credible evidence to conclude you were at least generally aware of the actions of the Patriots’ employees involved in the deflation of the footballs and that it was unlikely that their actions were done without your knowledge. Moreover, the report documents your failure to cooperate fully and candidly with the investigation, including by refusing to produce any relevant electronic evidence (emails, texts, etc.), despite being offered extraordinary safeguards by the investigators to protect unrelated personal information, and by providing testimony that the report concludes was not plausible and contradicted by other evidence.
“Your actions as set forth in the report clearly constitute conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the game of professional football. The integrity of the game is of paramount importance to everyone in our league, and requires unshakable commitment to fairness and compliance with the playing rules. Each player, no matter how accomplished and otherwise respected, has an obligation to comply with the rules and must be held accountable for his actions when those rules are violated and the public’s confidence in the game is called into question.”
The league released an official statement via their PR department following the suspension and penalty imposed on Tom Brady and the Patriots, and here’s a look at the full release from the NFL:
“The New England Patriots were notified today of the following discipline that has been imposed for violations of the NFL Policy on Integrity of the Game and Enforcement of Competitive Rules relating to the use of under-inflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game of this past season:
For the violation of the playing rules and the failure to cooperate in the subsequent investigation, the New England Patriots are fined $1 million and will forfeit the club’s first-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft and the club’s fourth-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. If the Patriots have more than one selection in either of these rounds, the earlier selection shall be forfeited. The club may not trade or otherwise encumber these selections.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft advised Commissioner Roger Goodell last week that Patriots employees John Jastremski and James McNally have been indefinitely suspended without pay by the club, effective on May 6th. Neither of these individuals may be reinstated without the prior approval of NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent. If they are reinstated by the Patriots, Jastremski is prohibited from having any role in the preparation, supervision, or handling of footballs to be used in NFL games during the 2015 season. McNally is barred from serving as a locker room attendant for the game officials, or having any involvement with the preparation, supervision, or handling of footballs or any other equipment on game day.
Quarterback Tom Brady will be suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2015 regular season for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL. Brady may participate in all off-season, training camp and pre-season activities, including pre-season games.
Commissioner Goodell authorized the discipline that was imposed by NFL Executive President Troy Vincent, pursuant to the commissioner’s disciplinary authority under the NFL Constitution and Bylaws and the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association.
“We reached these decisions after extensive discussion with Troy Vincent and many others,” Commissioner Goodell said. “We relied on the critical importance of protecting the integrity of the game and the thoroughness and independence of the Wells report.”
The NFL dropped the hammer in a big way on Monday, likely kicking off a declaration of war between the league and one of their all-time greats after handing down their penalty for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the league has decided to severely penalize Brady and the Patriots, hitting him with a four game suspension, but it doesn’t stop there. They’re also reportedly taking away New England’s first round pick in 2016, and a fourth round selection in 2017, as well as hitting the team with a $1-million fine.
As Schefter points out, the four game penalty would cause Brady to be a spectator until week five when the team heads to Indianapolis in a Sunday night battle against the Colts.
One would have to believe this suspension won’t fully stand and that Brady will likely be back sooner following an appeal with the NFLPA. Brady said during his appearance at Salem State last week he’d have a response, “hopefully soon.” Now we’ll have to see how he and agent Don Yee will handle this, and it should definitely be quite a battle considering the severity of the penalty given the lack of concrete evidence the league has against him.
Arrington was released by the Patriots Monday. (USA TODAY Images)
The Patriots’ secondary has already seen some big changes this offseason following the loss of Darrell Revis and Brandon Browner to free agency, and on Monday it looks like there will be yet another heading into 2015.
Arrington struggled against Seattle in the Super Bowl but had been a pretty consistent contributor with that unit over the past couple of seasons, but it appears that the team might be looking to make a transition as they continue overhauling their secondary. However, according to Reiss, there’s still a possibility Arrington could return.
Arrington played in 14 games in 2014 with just four starts, the fewest in five seasons after starting 14 in 2010 and 2011 and 12 in 2012 and 2013. He finished last season with 39 combined tackles, one sack and four passes defended.
A suspension seems to be looming for Brady next week. (USA TODAY Images)
It appears we’re getting closer to finding out how far the NFL is willing to go over the Wells report, and for now it sounds like they’re ready to hand out punishment as soon as next week.
According to the New York Daily News, the NFL is planning on doling out a suspension to quarterback Tom Brady in the coming week, with the only apparent question hinging on the length of games he’ll be sidelined for.
Leaking the information before the weekend is an interesting move by the league office, which one would believe is being done to gauge the reaction as the speculation begins over the punishment he’ll receive. There have already been several scenarios floated, including a Dolphins beat writer in Miami speculating he could miss all of 2015, while others, including Mike Giardi of CSNNE, think he could miss as many as 6-8 games. Others seem to feel 2-4 is more realistic.
The fact there will be one at all is mind-boggling considering the league looks ready to damage a legacy of a player over what’s essentially a “maybe”. The Wells report uses the term “more probable than not”, which the NFL is saying is the equivalent of guilty, and that’s what they’re going with. The inexplicable part is the evidence they’re basing it on comes thanks to the texts between two nitwits, one of which complained about Brady constantly being on him to alert the refs to make sure the footballs weren’t over inflated during the season, and his 100 second bathroom break on the way to the field with the bag of footballs in tow. That’s the damning evidence that they’re using to suspend one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.
One could challenge Wells to prove “it’s more probable than not” that Jim McNally, the Patriots employee whose failure to not use the facilities earlier might see Brady suffer a suspension over it, actually washed his hands. The report can’t prove McNally’s hygiene any more than it can prove definitively that anything was done to that bag of footballs.
Yet the NFL appears ready to move forward and suspend Brady. Now the next question will be how far they can go in their punishment.
More than one game is unacceptable, simply because of the fact that Ray Rice got just two for knocking out his girlfriend in an elevator. Granted, Roger Goodell didn’t know the extent of how bad that incident was when it initially happened prior to the release of the video, but that doesn’t change the fact that his punishment essentially set a precedent. Does Brady’s supposed “being generally aware” of the loss of 1 psi in a football meet the equivalent of assaulting a woman? Because if he’s suspended for the same length as Rice, or even longer, that’s essentially what the league would be saying.
Brady’s agent, Don Yee, and the veteran’s father have already both come out swinging in the wake of the report, with Yee already making it clear that he and his client aren’t going to take this one lying down. Brady was very calculated Thursday night during his appearance at Salem State and said that he’ll respond, “hopefully soon” because he wants to be “comfortable” in what he says. Meanwhile, Yee sounds livid over the report and it’s going to be interesting to see how far he’s willing to go in this battle when it finally unfolds.
It seems we’ll find out this week what he’ll be up against. Yee seems poised to try and make sure the NFL doesn’t damage his client’s legacy over a report full of assumptions and without any concrete facts. As it stands right now the league’s case against Brady has more craters than the moon, and how it plays out will likely be watched by the NFLPA since they could see one of their own get punished without any real proof of any wrongdoing.
If you thought Spygate was bad, this will be far worse since there’s far more at stake. Pray that Yee’s legal prowess and any other lawyers brought in are able to slay the NFL giant that seems ready to slaughter one of their own. Let the fight begin.