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Monday Patriots Notebook 7/23: Welker Finally Understands Belichick; Michel in the Fold

Ian Logue
Ian Logue on Twitter
5 years ago at 9:05 am ET

Monday Patriots Notebook 7/23: Welker Finally Understands Belichick; Michel in the FoldChuck Cook - USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a quick rundown of this morning’s top stories.

Brady Ready to Go – With training camp set to begin this week, Mike Reiss of ESPN reported on Sunday that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is fired up and ready to get started, ending an offseason that centered around the fact he wasn’t on hand for the voluntary portions of workouts.

According to his Instagram page, Brady spent the last few months focusing in on family time, taking full advantage of the offseason after the team’s disappointing loss to Philadephia back in February.  However, it sounds like he’s ready to turn the page toward the 2018 season and he had a little fun on Sunday, posting a video that showed him hit a perfect strike to a moving golf cart, with Brady dedicating the throw to fellow Under Armor athlete Steph Curry.

This ones for you @stephencurry30 It’s football season! #nicecatchwes

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

With training camp set to begin, Brady already appears to be in good form, which is a good sign as the Patriots try and put last season behind them.

Vollmer, Ninkovich Handling Life After Football Well – Having both retired from their terrific careers in New England, former offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer and defensive end Rob Ninkovich appear to be handling life after football fairly well.

More importantly, the two players seem to be in relatively good health for two guys who each played physical positions.  Vollmer appears to be slightly worse for wear, with Ben Volin of the Boston Globe catching up with the two recently at a charity bartending event with Leonard Hair Transplant Associates where the former offensive lineman revealed that he feels good, although he still feels a little pain due to the injuries suffered during his playing days.

Vollmer, who told Volin he’s down about 60 pounds from his playing days and said this is “probably as good as I’ve felt in…I can’t remember”, told him that he’s just taking things one day at a time but he has no regrets about his playing days in New England.

“Certain things I won’t be able to do and I’m in pain every day, but there’s also a lot of things I can do, so I try to concentrate on the good things, and that’s the way I’m doing it,” said Vollmer. “Football worked for me, and I don’t regret it one bit.”

As for Ninkovich, he’s feeling great but knowing what he’s been up against on the defensive side of the football, the concern of CTE is in the back of his mind.  Ninkovich said that he feels “really good mentally”, yet told Volin “But the scary part with all that stuff is we don’t know what the future has in store.”

Ninkovich, who told Volin he only had one documented concussion during his 11 NFL seasons, said he remains mindful of monitoring his mental health while doing some little things to try and stay ahead of it.

“It’s a lifestyle thing — just got to stay on top of my reading, Sudoku, crosswords, fish oil,” Ninkovich said. “I don’t know if it helps you, but it’s better than nothing.”

Welker Finally Understands Belichick – One other interesting note from Volin’s Sunday notes was the fact that former Patriots receiver Wes Welker has developed a little bit of a different perspective to better understand how Bill Belichick handles things here in New England.

Welker, who is now an offensive assistant in Houston, has been filling the void of football by learning the other side of things, which he said has been a challenge he’s enjoyed.  The former receiver, who also joined Ninkovich and Vollmer at the event, admitted that there were never any bad feelings between he and his former coach and he now has a better understanding of the tough decisions that come with being in his position.

“There were never any bad feelings,” Welker said. “Being on the coaching side now, you kind of understand a lot of the moves that coach Belichick makes. And they’re hard decisions. There’s tough decisions to make, and you try to make them for the betterment of the team. So being on the other side, you’re able to understand what he was saying, and why he went a different direction. I get it.”

Michel Signs – One final order of business with training camp approaching was the contract status of draft pick Sony Michel, which prior to Sunday had remained unsigned.

Michel, who was taken 31st overall by the Patriots back in April, became the last domino to fall after the two players drafted ahead of him, CB Mike Hughes (30th overall) and Taven Bryan (29th overall) each signed deals with their respective teams this week.  Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that Michel and the Patriots reached an agreement on Sunday, just in time for camp.

According to the Boston Herald, Michel joined teammates Isaiah Wynn, Matthew Slater and Stephen Gostkowski at a local football camp for kids in Sudbury Massachusetts on Saturday.

The rookie running back finished his collegiate career at Georgia having rushed for 3638 yards on 591 attempts, including 33 rushing touchdowns and will look to hopefully put together a strong career here New England.

Amendola Continues To Talk – During his time in New England, wide receiver Danny Amendola became known as a player who quietly did whatever it took to help his football team win, while becoming a clutch playoff performer as the team won two Championships in 2014 and 2016, largely thanks to his timely contributions.

His play on the field endeared him to fans who appreciated what he brought to the field, especially as a guy who despite multiple pay cuts never complained and always did the right things.

However, his departure to Miami this offseason has now prompted some quotes from the former receiver where he’s admitted he has some “mixed feelings” about how things are handled when asked about the issues mentioned this offseason in New England.

“There’s always going to be some friction between a coach and a player, in a business — whether it be contractual, whether it be playing time, or whatever.” said Amendola on a recent appearance on Comeback SZN podcast presented by Barstool Sports – via Mike Reiss.  “Personally, I can’t speak for Tom or Bill [Belichick], but regardless of business — and I have mixed feelings of how business is done there — I know for a fact that Coach Belichick is one of the best coaches of all time and he has all of his players’ respect. I know Tom would say the same thing, Gronk would say the same thing, regardless of how they feel about their contracts or their certain situation, or whatever may be going down. That goes without saying.”

Greg Bedard of was asked about Amendola in a recent Q&A and revealed that Amendola has a side that fans may not have been aware of.

“I’m sick of hearing from him,” said Bedard.  “The more he talks the more he reveals what anyone who covered the team already knew — he has a Napolean complex, an inflated view of himself and isn’t all that nice to be around. He’s a fourth or fifth WR, stay humble bro.”

“I think he was fine here,” Bedard continued when asked about the former wideout by another member, “He just thinks he’s a superstar and wants to be treated as such. He’s a journeyman reserve WR. Sorry you guys have to see this side of him. He just should have stayed quiet.”

Moss hung up on Belichick when he was being traded – Randy Moss had quite the career in New England, but he apparently got off on a little bit of the wrong foot when Belichick tried to notify him personally that the Patriots had traded for him.

Moss, who will enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer, told reporters during a conference call on Monday that when he answered his phone and was told it was Belichick on the other line, he didn’t believe it.

“I went down to Houston, Texas, for a charity event. The draft was Saturday. I didn’t really pay any [attention] to the draft and the next day was Sunday,’’ Moss said via the Boston Globe. “I remember we were about to go into a club and my phone rings. I pick it up and the man says on the other line, ‘It’s Coach Belichick,’ so I hang up the phone.’’

“So then when he called me back, I kind of felt small, I apologized and everything — I felt bad because it really was him,’’ said Moss. “And he just told me briefly, ‘The Raiders want to trade you, you have by 10 o’clock to get up here or the trade is voided.’ So, to put all that in a nutshell, I hang up, got my pilots together and made sure they had enough sleep, and got my behind up there to Foxborough.’’

Thankfully, it all worked out as Moss became part of an offense that broke records and helped the team finish with an undefeated regular season record during that 2007 season.  He finished his tenure in New England with 50 touchdowns and nearly 4,000 yards receiving.

Moss said that despite the offseason turmoil, he believes that the team will be just fine as long as Brady and Belichick are on the team.

“They’re going to keep winning as long as they stay together,’’ he told the newspaper.

Posted Under: Daily Patriots Notebook

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