Nothing earth-shattering this morning, but here’s a look at today’s top stories.
Thuney Dealing With Foot Injury – Offensive lineman Joe Thuney’s been a reliable player since being drafted in the third round back in 2016, having missed little time and being one of New England’s more consistent players.
However, it sounds like Thuney’s been banged up and has been dealing with a nagging foot injury, which has limited his participation in the team’s offseason program. According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, Thuney will soon be undergoing surgery for the injury, which will likely keep him out of any further offseason workouts heading into training camp.
Reiss reports that the injury isn’t considered serious and shouldn’t hamper him for the 2018 season, but foot injuries tend to linger and with someone of Thuney’s size (6’5″, 287lbs), it will be important for him to take his time during his recovery.
As Reiss points out, Thuney missed just four snaps as a rookie and only five last year, with the team pulling him during that span after the game was well in hand. His absence may open up the door for rookie Isaiah Wynn, among others, to get some work in Thuney’s spot at left guard, especially if they’re not comfortable right away with him at left tackle. He’ll likely be among several players the team will rotate in as they try and figure out who will take over the left tackle spot after Nate Solder departed in free agency this offseason.
Patriots work out Hageman – With the Patriots still evaluating who they have on their defensive line, they elected to work out a player who spent 2017 as a spectator.
According to NESN.com, New England worked out former Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman on Wednesday, apparently doing some due diligence on a player who was involved in a domestic violence incident that ended his season before it got started in 2017. He was placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt list following the charge and saw his contract terminated by the Falcons on September 4, 2017. From there, he served a six-game suspension. No other club gave him a chance at redemption, and he remained unsigned through the rest of the year.
It started after he was arrested in 2016 following the alleged incident with his then-girlfriend, with reports saying he “pulled the hair of the mother of his child and pushed her down in the parking lot outside of her apartment, causing her to sustain lacerations on her left hand and elbow. Hageman then took her phone, preventing her from calling 911. This incident happened in front of the couple’s child.”
The Sporting News reported at the time that Hageman was fined $7,500 for the misdemeanor charges of interfering with a call for emergency help, battery family violence and cruelty to children in the third degree.
He reportedly pleaded guilty to the chargers.
It was a quick fall for a someone who was dubbed as a player to watch heading into last season, with the team’s official site considering him as someone whose ‘Arrow is Going Up’.
“I wasn’t really reaching my full potential, and I had just a lot of he-said-she-said about being a bust or whatever,” Hageman said last August via AtlantaFalcons.com. “But at the end of the day, I definitely credit myself and I definitely critique myself for what I need to work on, and I have to have those things, like the naysayers.”
Now he’s looking for redemption and it remains to be seen if the Patriots would give it to him. Desperation and injuries can make any team take a shot on a player with a checkered past and it remains to be seen if they’d welcome him here. The team has been clear about their stance when it comes to domestic violence, but the big question would be whether or not they’d look the other way given Hageman’s upside. The fact they brought him in here proves they’re interested, but there’s no guarantee it will lead to an opportunity.
The club is no stranger to taking chances on players looking to rebuild their careers after making a mistake. He’s a player who has amassed 62 tackles and four sacks over his brief career after being drafted in the second-round of the 2014 NFL Draft. But given what happened, whether or not Hageman’s talent can offset the graphic details of what allegedly occurred will be the big question people will most definitely ask in the event the team decides to bring him in.
Belichick pulled an interesting move with Blount last year.
One year ago, Patriots used a rare rule to try and restrict LeGarrette Blount – Yesterday was the anniversary of a bizarre moment for the team, who exploited a rare rule last year that left many scratching their heads when it was first reported.
At the time, Bill Belichick made a tender offer to running back LeGarrette Blount, who at the time was an unrestricted free agent. The move made it where had Blount signed with a new team between that date and July 22nd, his signing would have counted against the compensatory pick formula. Had Blount not reached a deal with another team by then, he would have been forced into exclusive negotiations with the Patriots that would have lasted through Week 10.
Instead, Blount signed with the Eagles less than 10 days later. As a result, he factored into the formula that ultimately saw New England end up with a fourth-round pick when the league announced the compensatory picks back in February. Blount joined Chris Long, Barkevious Mingo, Logan Ryan and Jabaal Sheard as players lost, while additions included against that group included Stephon Gilmore, Rex Burkhead and Lawrence Guy.
Despite the Patriots limiting his options, it worked out since the Eagles took a chance on him. Blount said back in February he had no hard feelings.
“It’s a business, man,” he said leading up to the Super Bowl in Minnesota. “You treat it like any other business. Guys get hired. Guys get fired. Guys get let go. Guys don’t get contracts renewed. It’s like any other business. You just can’t take it personal. I don’t take it personal. I still love Bill [Belichick]. I still love RK [Robert Kraft], you know, Tom [Brady], whatever . . . they handle their business differently than everyone else.”
The move ultimately worked out for Blount, who went on to win a championship against his former team.
Etling signed his rookie deal this week.
Etling Agrees to 4-year Deal – Seventh round draft pick Danny Etling is officially under contract, getting one important detail for the rookie out of the way heading into the team’s rookie minicamp.
According to published reports, Etling signed a 4-year deal, which is customary for players drafted after round one. He’ll probably be among the most scrutinized players given the double-whammy he faces given Tom Brady’s age and the fact Etling has big shoes to fill after the team traded Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco last offseason.
Etling’s a hard-worker, which is well documented and he’s overcome a lot of adversity to get to where he is. He finished his final regular season game as a starter at LSU with a 45-21 win over Texas A&M, capping a 9-3 record in 2017. His former coach, Ed Orgeron, spoke highly of him at the end of the year and believes that Etling is a winner.
“A winner, tough, hard-nosed,” Orgeron said back in November when asked how he’d remember Etling. “Went through some bumps and bruises like we all did in life, but he fought through it. For him to stay with this team and win nine games is remarkable feat as a quarterback,” said Orgeron.
We’ll see in the coming months if he can build on that here in New England.
More Patriots News Headlines: