Let’s get back to it. Here’s this morning’s rundown on this Tuesday.
Ruling May Mean Trouble For Brady – Ben Volin of the Boston Globe pointed out a legal ruling that came down on Sunday afternoon that might not apply directly to Tom Brady’s ongoing DeflateGate case against the NFL, but it could create a problem as he continues trying to battle Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ongoing witch-hunt against him.
The NFLPA has been battling the league regarding the NFL’s new personal conduct policy, which was apparently instituted without consulting the union and had to do with the use of the “Commissioner’s Exempt List”, which gave the ability for Goodell to use that list to suspend players such as Adrian Peterson or Greg Hardy, who were banned from playing but were still paid.
The Player’s Association argued that the form of discipline Goodell imposed shouldn’t have been permitted without collectively bargaining it with the union.
Independent arbitrator Jonathan Marks settled the grievance on Sunday afternoon and rejected the notion by the NFLPA that the “leave with pay” wasn’t discipline and that the new personal conduct policy was validly issued by Goodell under the NFL’s constitution and bylaws.
According to the Globe, a letter they obtained that was sent to the NFL owners on Sunday, likely including Patriots owner Robert Kraft, revealed that NFL executive vice president Jeffery Pash characterized the decision as a major victory for the league in terms of reinforcing Goodell’s wide-reaching powers to suspend players for conduct detrimental to the game.
“The decision recognizes and confirms the broad authority that the Commissioner has to define and impose discipline for conduct detrimental,” Pash wrote via the Globe.
While it won’t affect the current appellate judges’ decisions, the concern about Goodell’s broad powers being reinforced certainly doesn’t help the situation.
But the one thing that does stand out is the fact that one area argued about DeflateGate was where Goodell delegated Brady’s punishment to Troy Vincent. The NFLPA argued that Goodell isn’t allowed to delegate that power to someone else, which could end up helping Brady and that even if he loses the appeal and Berman’s decision is overturned, he can make the argument that his suspension shouldn’t be automatically reinstated and that the case should be remanded back to Berman’s courtroom.
Needless to say there are still plenty of moving pieces and it’s far from over. It also means that the cloud hanging over Brady’s part of 2016 is still there, and that this nightmare doesn’t seem like it’s set to be put to bed anytime soon.
Butler Surprises High School Students – One of the things that has to be fun for players is how big of an impact they can make with something as simple as spending the day at a local high school, and that’s exactly what Malcolm Butler on Monday.
The cornerback was at Foxborough High School visiting students, taking a break from working out to try and brighten their day.
“I had to come out and do something positive,” Malcolm told the cafeteria full of surprised students via Patriots.com. “I’ve been working out all day, so I decided to come and see what’s up with you guys.”
The kids had a great time, with Butler spending time challenging them with questions while they challenged him with having to do pushups. According the team’s official site, several students received autographed footballs and he enjoyed spending time trying to inspire them.
“They let me know, each and every time I do this, they let me know, kids, students, grownups, a lot of people look up to me,” Malcolm said. “They’re thankful of me and I just try to show the love back and I’m just doing what I do. I appreciate the love, that’s it.”
In one section on Patriots.com where Butler gave out some fast facts, one question he was asked was, “If not in the NFL, what did you want to be?” To which Butler replied, “I wanted to be a barber or a motivational speaker.”
We don’t know if he can cut hair, but it sounds like he did a pretty good job with the latter option on Monday.
Former Patriots CB Aqib Talib has put his days in New England behind him.
Talib Reflects on Belichick Memory – Things might have been contentious following the departure of Aqib Talib to Denver, but the Broncos cornerback still has some fond thoughts about his former coach.
During an interview on the Dan LeBetard show, Talib recalled a story from 2013 about how Belichick had warned players that any fights during their joint practices with the Buccaneers would result in players being yanked off the field.
However, the rules apparently didn’t completely apply after he let Talib off the hook for sticking up for one of their own.
“One time the Buccaneers came to practice with us, and Bill made it clear that if anybody get in any fights, that he’s sending you in the locker room. He ain’t gonna have it,” Talib said via CSNNE.com. “We got to doing special teams, man, and somebody was kind of being a little extra rough with one of my guys, so I kinda went and handled the situation, sling him around a little bit.
“I was ready to get sent in the locker room, and I kind of looked at Bill and Bill had a little smirk on his face like ‘Yeah that’s why I brought him. That’s why I brought him here. Yeah.’ That was a good story. I always tell that story. Bill did not send me in, though. He let me play all day.”
Talib obviously came close to winning a championship here in New England but came up short, and when asked to choose between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, he’s obviously moved on, especially given what just transpired.
“That’s a tough one, man. That’s a tough one,” said Talib. “Their preparation, how they approach the game, I’ve seen both of them. Just seeing that, seeing their productivity on the field, it’s kind of hard to pick, but if I had to pick, I’m going to pick the guy I won the Super Bowl with.”
“I never won the Super Bowl with Tom. I had a great time over there playing with him. He was amazing to watch. Same with Peyton. But I won the Super Bowl with Peyton.”
RB Gaffney Cut – The Patriots upset Panthers fans when they claimed running back Tyler Gaffney on waivers from the Carolina Panthers in 2014, which happened after Gaffney was waived by Carolina with the plan to put him on injured reserve.
It was the second time Bill Belichick broke the unwritten rule of swiping a player whose team was trying to pass them through waivers due to an injury, with Belichick having pulled it off previously when he did the same thing with former Giants tight end Jake Ballard. That one really tweaked the Giants because it was done during the offseason after Ballard tore his ACL in New York’s Super Bowl win over the Patriots back in 2012, with the Giants trying to place him on injured reserve. Instead, he ended up on New England’s roster after they claimed him and, if he recovered, seemed like he could have been a productive player in their offense.
Unfortunately that gamble didn’t work out after Ballard never really got back to 100%, which was disappointing. The same could be said after a second-straight stint on injured reserve in 2015 by Gaffney, which given the loss of Dion Lewis midseason followed by the later loss of LeGarrette Blount, left the Patriots pretty thin at the position.
But give Belichick credit for giving both moves a shot. Sometimes gambles like those work out, sometimes they don’t. Either way, so far this looks like it will be a different group of backs in 2016 depending on how things pan out in the coming months.
Patriots Meet With Razorbacks RB Williams – Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported on Monday that the Patriots visited with Arkanzas running back Jonathan Williams, which comes on the same day the team parted ways with Gaffney.
This marks the second meeting between the two sides as Howe pointed out that the Patriots already met with him at the scouting combine.
Williams is expected to be a potential third or fourth round pick by CBSSports.com and is coming off of a season where he missed the entire 2015 campaign after suffering a foot injury during a scrimmage last fall. In his previous season, he finished with 1190 yards and 12 touchdowns but the question likely will be how well his foot, which is obviously a key asset for a running back, has recovered.
The Patriots already gambled on Rob Gronkowski’s injury history in college and it’s certainly panned out quite well. Hopefully should they take a shot at Williams, history repeats itself with him as well.
Amendola and Bennett ‘Grinding’ Together – Newly acquired Martellus Bennett and Danny Amendola have some familiarity with each other when the two were together in Dallas back in 2008 as rookies. But it’s obvious the two have a bond and they’re already working together in preparation of the upcoming season.
Bennett posted the photo below of the two, who now that they’re reunited should make the Patriots offense even more dangerous this season.
Posted Under: Daily Patriots Rundown