Some Patriots news on this Tuesday:
– With training camp inching closer, various New England Patriots players have been busy doing some off-the-field work, with quarterback Mac Jones taking care of some business outside of the football field. The second-year quarterback and his girlfriend, Sophie Scott, spent time this past Friday at an event at Hood Park in Charlestown where he handed out a sample of the ice cream flavor “Mac Attack” to fans who came by to meet the QB. Jones was reportedly all smiles as he greeted each one, with some of those fans having arrived as early as 8am despite the fact the event started at noon. Jones told Nicole Yang of the Boston Globe that his goal is to do positive things in the community as well as establish relationships with local brands. “That’s what I want to focus on,” explained Jones. “Doing good in the community, meeting different people, and working with brands that mean a lot to New England.” Jones has spent this offseason focusing on his diet and says that he likes to use ice cream as his “cheat meal”, adding, “When I work really hard, I’ll get a good ice cream in once a week or so,” he said.
– Defensive back Malcolm Butler was also busy on Saturday working with nearly 300 children from grades 1-12 at his 8th Annual Malcolm Butler Football Camp at Vicksburg High School down in Vicksburg Mississippi. It’s reportedly a free camp that obviously had a massive turnout and Butler said that it’s something he always looks forward to. “It lets me know I’m doing the right thing,” Butler told the Vicksburg Post. “It’s motivation. You always want to stay on top of your game mentally and physically, and keep inspiring people.” The camp reportedly lasted three hours, with Butler also working with local sponsors including the United Way of West Central Mississippi in an effort to provide some additional things for the campers. The veteran cornerback reportedly purchased bookbags for them while other donors provided school supplies. Chik-fil-A also donated food for the event. Overall, Butler, who also took time to sign autographs after it was over, was pleased with how things turned out. “It’s great to see,” he said. “I couldn’t do it just by myself. A lot of people put in a lot of their time and have a good commitment to getting this done. It makes me feel good to see kids out here having a good time and me giving back to my community.”
– Meanwhile, from a football standpoint, the Patriots rookies will be arriving in Foxboro today, with the club being one of eight NFL teams who will see their rookie class start getting to work ahead of training camp. According to ProFootballTalk.com, the Bills and Raiders were the first two clubs to see their rookies report, while the Falcons, Ravens, Chargers, Saints, Giants and NY Jets set to be among the other additional teams seeing their rookies arrive today. In addition to the Patriots full list of 2022 Draft Picks, New England also has 5 undrafted free agents in camp, bringing their total to 15 players who will be on hand at Gillette Stadium. Veterans are set to report next Tuesday, 7/26, with the first public practice set for 7/27. Aside from the dates, the club has yet to post the actual practice schedule, with the times still yet to be determined.
– Rookie receiver Tyquan Thornton has apparently gotten some positive reviews so far, with ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler saying on Sunday that the rookie has already garnered a good understanding of the offense and Fowler believes he’ll become an impact player for the club this season. “Let’s swing it to New England — Tyquan Thornton, he was considered a surprise second-round pick, but talking to some people and some teams who’ve interviewed him, they’re not as surprised,” Fowler said Sunday via Jason Ounpraseuth of NESN. “He was very sharp in team interviews. He’s been good in the Patriots film room already, understands passing concepts. And so they have a crowded room a receiver with four or five position players, but with that 4.2 speed, should be able to crack it somewhere.”
– Rookie long-snapper Ross Reiter didn’t quite make it with the other rookies, with Reiter getting released on Monday night ahead of New England bringing in their other rookies. The 22-year-old was signed back on May 16th as a rookie free agent out of Colorado State. His release likely means veteran Joe Cardona should see his spot solidified as he heads into his eighth season. For those who missed it, Cardona, who is a Lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve, wrote a good piece for SI.com earlier this month talking about the state of the NFL and his feelings comparing the NFL to the military and the treatment of those who take part in each profession. “The military members putting their lives on the line see pennies on the dollar compared to our major defense contracts in our $773 billion defense budget,” wrote Cardona. “It’s much like the NFL, where most players do not see nearly the value of revenue generated at the expense of their physical and cognitive health because it goes to ownership, the league or a handful of players who command a disproportionate allocation of the salary cap.”
– This is an area Cardona feels passionately about. He also wrote that, like former NFL players, too many military veterans are struggling. “More than 1.5 million veterans live below the federal poverty level, according to the National Veteran Homeless Support. Young veterans, veterans of color and female veterans are the most vulnerable,” wrote Cardona. “Ten percent of young veterans are poor. Veterans of color are twice as likely to live in poverty. Additionally, an estimated 160,000 active service members experienced food insecurity in 2020.”
– David Andrews is apparently a big NASCAR fan and he was amazed at the access that fans get compared to the NFL. The veteran center was in Loudon on Sunday and drove the pace car prior to the Ambetter 301 at New Hampshire Speedway and he pointed out that Fans in NASCAR are given access extremely close to the action. Andrews said that given what’s at stake, he’s amazed with how things are run there. “Been to the last three or four races up here. It’s such a cool experience,” Andrews said via NESN. “It’s amazing how much NASCAR fans shave access to compared to football. I laugh when you’re on pit row and (crew members) have got a job to do and they’re asking you to move while they’re wheeling tires around. I couldn’t imagine coming off the sideline and there being fans — and they’re so polite, too.” Imagine fans mulling around the sidelines and getting in the way of Bill Belichick during a game. Crazy stuff.
– It sounds like if the NFL decides to draw a hard line with Deshaun Watson, things could get fairly ugly. According to NFL writer Charles Robinson, should the league hand down a year-long suspension, Watson’s camp and the NFLPA will respond with a lawsuit against the league that will be filed in federal court. A decision on Watson’s future is reportedly coming from arbitrator Sue Robinson, but it’s possible that this could just be the beginning. There have already been reports of the NFLPA being frustrated over punishments – or lack thereof – made to owners over what they feel have been similar transgressions, so it’s possible that things could end up getting ugly if the two sides ultimately end up in court.
– Dan Wetzel and Charles Robinson believe that the Raiders have the pieces to be successful this season, but Wetzel points out that they face an uphill battle in an AFC West Division that obviously includes an up and coming San Diego Chargers team as well as the Kansas City Chiefs and now Russell Wilson in Denver. “The Raiders last year, between Gruden and the Henry Ruggs situation, a season where it absolutely could have fallen apart,” said Wetzel. “And they held it together, got to the wild card game, and made the playoffs, right. And this was a one score game against the Bengals. Derek Carr did a great job. And they’re better offensively, the whole thing. I agree. This is going to be a fascinating team. The entire conference is so interesting. And this division is the best one. But where do they fit into this mix? And where can they win games in that division where you’re going to have to play six times?” The overall expectations seem to be high for a team that some believe could compete with the Chiefs for the top spot in what should be an extremely competitive Division this season.
– Former NFL head coach Dick Vermeil apparently got a delivery on Monday, with the future Hall of Fame coach receiving his gold jacket for his upcoming induction. According to Vermeil, the jacket arrived via FedEx, with a video having been posted by the the Hall of Fame’s Twitter page of Vermeil opening the package. “Carol, FedEx just delivered the gold jacket, my God,” said Vermeil, who posted the video from inside his log cabin home as he opened the package on his kitchen table. “Did we ever think this would happen?” The long-time coach will be inducted on Saturday, August 6th.
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