Some news and notes for this morning:
1) A host of players showed up for OTAs yesterday, with Devin McCourty, Trent Brown, Adrian Phillips and Matt Judon among players who were spotted in photos posted on the team’s website Monday night.
Matt Judon, Trent Brown, Adrian Phillips and Devin McCourty all were present at today's Patriots OTA, as seen in these photos from @Patriots. All four were absent from the team's first two open OTAs.
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) June 7, 2021
Also reportedly back on the field were N’Keal Harry and Rhamondre Stevenson, who apparently were not part of Friday’s attendance.
It’s expected to be a busy week for the team, with the players returning just in time as the weather starts getting warmer in New England. The forecast is calling for temperatures in the mid-90s today and the upper 80s on Wednesday.
Anyone who knows Bill Belichick knows that he likes it when things are a little challenging on the players, so it looks like he’ll get exactly what he’s looking for this week.
The club will hold practices Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, with Thursday’s session hopefully revealing a little more since it will, like last week, be open to the media.
2) Robert Kraft, who is known for quietly doing a lot of nice things behind the scenes for people, apparently received quite a surprise of his own over the weekend.
Kraft turned 80 on Sunday and was surprised with an unexpected gift after a few of his celebrity friends all got together and did something pretty unbelievable. They bought him a blue Bentley.
The moment was captured by Rapper Meek Mill, who posted the video on his Instagram account.
“We knew you wouldn’t get it yourself,” 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, who contributed to the gift, told Kraft with his arm around the Patriots owner as they walked outside. “You know, you went all out for the house, so we thought it would be tough for you. So we thought that we would get you the car that you were looking at.”
Kraft, dressed in a blue New England Patriots T-shirt and UnderArmor gym shorts, was stunned, replying “Oh my God!” the moment he saw it and put his hands on his head with a huge smile on his face.
“Are you…that’s exactly…Oh man…” said Kraft, who then hugged Rubin.
It was pretty cool to see, and there were others besides Rubin who chipped in. He told Kraft that among those who contributed to the Patriots owner’s birthday present was Jay-Z along with several others, including his son Jonathan, with a giant card left on the windshield for Kraft.
The 80-year old, whose hair has long since turned white, was clearly moved by the gesture and it was definitely a nice moment.
3) One little nugget that was interesting from Greg Bedard’s notes column on Sunday was the fact that Offensive Line coach Carmen Bricillo told reporters last week that he got pretty excited when he found out that David Andrews was returning.
Andrews was a free agent this offseason and there were rumors he was potentially signing elsewhere but he ultimately decided to return to the Patriots.
When Bricillo got the news via text, he celebrated, leaving his wife to wonder what was wrong with him.
“When Coach sent out a text message to myself and Cole (Popovich), when that was coming down the line, I kind of gave a fist-bump in the middle of the night. My wife asked what the heck was wrong with me,” Bricillo said. “But I mean it’s great. I think first and foremost, as a player, having a leader and the high character individual David is, and having him back on the team and on the offensive line and unit, I think that’s huge.”
There’s no question that Andrews is a difference-maker, especially in the running game. After sitting out the 2019 season following being diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs, his impact during his return in 2020 was impressive. In 2019, the Patriots went from averaging 3.34-yards per gain on runs up the middle to 4.16 yards in 2020, with Andrews providing the type of push that former Patriot Ted Karras couldn’t the previous season.
As a result, clearly, the coaching staff thinks highly of Andrews and hopefully, 2021 ends up being another productive season for him.
4) While playing in California may be attractive to NFL players, one element that often isn’t mentioned is the fact that it’s not exactly cheap to live there.
49ers rookies are finding that out and they were apparently warned ahead of time that finding a place to live isn’t exactly inexpensive.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan recently mentioned the conversation he had with newcomer Trey Lance and his family, and he tried to offer some advice when it comes to finding affordable housing.
“We were hanging out and they were going to look for houses and things like that. I told him, ‘Don’t be too depressed. Everyone is very upset after the first couple of days and you realize you’ve got to change what you were looking for,'” said Shanahan. “And they’re like, ‘No, everyone’s told us.’ I’m like, ‘No, everyone told me, you’ll see, it’s real.'”
ESPN writer Nick Wagoner spoke with local real estate agent Monica Thomas of Compass Realty, who works closely with the 49ers. She told him the average sales price of a single-family home in Santa Clara County is $1.96 million, which is for an 1,800 square foot home.
Renting isn’t a cheap feat either. She told him a two-bedroom apartment measuring 900-1,200 square feet averages somewhere between $2,500 and $4,000 per month, depending on amenities and location.
Rookie cornerback Ambry Thomas was warned about this problem as well and he’s just trying to take it all in stride. Which is about all anyone can do, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s definitely not an easy thing for the guys with smaller contracts to deal with.
“Once I got the phone call [I was drafted] I was happy, excited, then I thought about everything and I’m like, ‘California, tax, taxes’ and I started thinking about all that and the cost of living,” said Thomas. “I’m like, ‘Hey, it’s kind of expensive, very expensive.’ But I’m just grateful for the opportunity, honestly. Skip the cost of living and all that right now. I feel like my play will take care of my pockets.”
5) Aaron Rodgers is reportedly not expected to return to the team this week as his holdout continues and Peter King had a suggestion as to how to rectify the situation.
He believes that offering the veteran QB the opportunity to be traded after this season is a ‘bridge-building’ offer that would allow the Packers to prepare for life without him, while also giving Rodgers the most time to explore his options and potentially land in a situation that best suits him.
The idea: The Packers commit to trade Rodgers, pacifying the angry quarterback—but the deal would not happen till next spring. Rodgers, in turn, agrees to give the Packers one more season in exchange for being allowed to transition to a new team before the 2022 draft.
Packers president Mark Murphy, who’s got to be Henry Kissinger here (look it up, kids), must be searching for an exit strategy. If I were in Murphy’s chair, I’d undertake another secret mission to meet with Rodgers and agent David Dunn, just the three of them, and propose one more year of Green Bay employment with the knowledge that Rodgers and Dunn could give the Pack a list of teams the QB would be willing to play for in 2022.
I think Rodgers and Dunn would want the quarterback’s freedom if he’d give the Pack one more season. And maybe that’s not entirely out of the question.
It remains to be seen how this will play out. Both sides are dug in and most reports seem to indicate that the Packers believe Rodgers will ultimately return at some point. So the likelihood of this being an amicable split seems unlikely and for now, the drama continues out in Wisconsin as the team continues getting ready for the season without him.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Aaron Rodgers Adrian Phillips Ambry Thomas Bill Belichick Carmen Bricillo David Andrews Devin McCourty Green Bay Packers Jay-Z Kyle Shanahan Matt Judon Meek Mill Michael Rubin N'Keal Harry New England Patriots Rhamondre Stevenson Robert Kraft San Francisco 49ers Trent Brown