Author Archives: Ian Logue

Ian Logue

About Ian Logue

Ian Logue is a Seacoast native and owner and senior writer for PatsFans.com, an independent media site covering the New England Patriots and has been running this site in one form or another since 1997.

8 Early New England Patriots Thoughts Heading Into Training Camp

Ian Logue
June 16, 2018 at 11:09 am ET

What happens in June obviously has little bearing when it comes to how September through December (and hopefully longer) will play out in the NFL, but here in New England it’s at least a preview of what to watch next month in training camp.

Here are some first impressions now that we’ve gotten a sense of what to look forward to in training camp next month.

1) Surprises Already Looming – One of the best parts of each season is seeing which surprise players could end up contributing and there are already a couple who appear to be adding themselves to the list of guys to watch when fans finally have the chance to watch this team start preparing for this season.  We’ll pick one from each side of the football, one of which was a fighter last year and looks like he put a lot of work in over the offseason.

Defense:

  • CB – J.C. Jackson – The undrafted cornerback looks to be among the first surprises who is headed in the right direction.  According to most media reports, Jackson has been impressive and has been playing opposite Stephon Gilmore thus far, with newcomer Jason McCourty mysteriously sitting on the sideline and not getting any reps.  Obviously, it’s a little early to get excited, but if he can help provide quality depth and help that unit improve by infusing some youth and athleticism, that’s certainly not a bad thing.

Offense:

  • TE – Jacob Hollister – Hollister showed potential last season but looked like a boy among men, including several moments where he absorbed some brutal hits during his first season.  This year, he’s put on weight and so far has been impressive, including making some big receptions, one of which came against safety Duron Harmon where he fought for the football down the seam.  He’s said to be stronger and looks to be doing a good job of potentially establishing a place for himself on the depth chart if he can build on this heading into camp.

    We won’t make put too big of a deal over it, but having another player behind Rob Gronkowski that can make some timely catches would be an improvement since the Patriots were certainly missing that after Martellus Bennett’s return last season ended up being short-lived.  Things like Hollister’s growth are fun to see, and it looks like he’s on the right track.

2) No Drop Off In Brady’s Return – After an entire offseason worrying about Brady’s absence during the voluntary workouts, he stepped on the field during mandatory workouts and looked as focused and strong as ever.  He returned with the same zip and touch on the football and it’s safe to say that his time away from the gridiron seems to have served him just fine.

3) Gronk Looks Gronk-esque Thus Far – Following the whispers of retirement after February’s loss, Rob Gronkowski looked fired up and as healthy as ever during his first workouts, which is certainly a good sign.  He’s had some big moments so far, which have included high-stepping his way into the end zone on a touchdown and making life difficult for whichever teammate has been forced to cover him.  Everyone knows how valuable he is and it’s good to know that it looks like he’ll be out there for at least another season.

4) Newcomer Trent Brown is a house – Left tackle remains one of the key areas to keep an eye on heading into camp and so far it appears that Brown is getting most of the work at that position.  He’s massive, with the 6’8″ player fitting the mold of what Nate Solder (who is/was also 6’8″) held for them at that position.  Brown is actually larger both in frame and weight and it will be interesting to see how he performs once the pads are on and the competition increases.

5) Punting Battle Looming? – When undrafted free agent Corey Bojorquez was brought in, many initially expected him to be an extra leg and take some of the load off of Ryan Allen heading into camp.  But reports right now seem to indicate that Bojorquez has a powerful leg and seems poised to push Allen in the coming months.  Allen finds himself in the final year of his contract and it appears the Patriots may be making some contingency plans if they can’t extend him.  Allen’s directional kicking has been one of his signature skills and now it will be up to Bojorquez to try and master that in the preseason.  A battle among punters isn’t exactly something you can call “exciting”, but it will certainly make things interesting.

6) Wynn Got Some Early Work – Rookie offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn took advantage of the reps at left guard with Joe Thuney sidelined with a foot injury.  He joined Brown on the left side of the line during minicamp and given the injuries this team has dealt with over the years at offensive line, the work he was able to get over that span will likely end up paying dividends down the road when training camp opens.

7) Gilmore Picking up Where He Left Off – So far Stephon Gilmore has picked right up from where he left off last season, looking much more comfortable at this stage of the year compared to last year when he struggled early.  This may be one of the more important storylines of 2018 as setting the tone in the secondary and building confidence was a problem during the beginning of 2017.   After a strong finish and a good start in minicamp, hopefully things come a little easier after a rough beginning for the former Buffalo Bills cornerback.

8) Hoyer vs Etling Battle Should Be Interesting – The next question will be given the importance of roster spots for this team, it will be hard not to wonder if the Patriots might go into the season with just two quarterbacks.  The suspension of Julian Edelman – if it sticks – may factor into that since he’s been the team’s emergency 3rd quarterback in past years which, if Edelman is lost for the first four weeks, may provide Brian Hoyer with some security depending on where he winds up on the depth chart.

One thing is clear, Hoyer has regressed since the team parted ways with him originally. Aside from a vast knowledge of the offense, his reaction time and decision making have both been major knocks against him in watching him during his starts elsewhere.  It’s disappointing because he was one of those players who was fun to root for as it’s always nice to see an underdog succeed.  Unfortunately, he’s now in a position where if rookie Danny Etling progresses during training camp, his future beyond this year – or sooner – could be in doubt.

We’ll have to wait to see how each of these situations play out but what we saw during the team’s workouts certainly left us with some fun things to look forward to when the team kicks off their 2018 Training Camp just over a month from now.

Tuesday Patriots Notebook 5/29: Marsh “Hated” Being a Patriot; Kraft Helps Man Who Collapses at Kevin Hart Show

Ian Logue
May 29, 2018 at 7:49 am ET

With the holiday weekend now in the rear-view, here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.

Sad Memorial Day Anniversary – Every Memorial Day is tough for those who have lost loved ones for the sacrifices they’ve made for our country.

It’s a time to remember those who lost their lives fighting for our country and to appreciate those who make the sacrifices away from their families every day in order to defend it.

On top of all that, here in New England, there’s even something a little more beyond that which reminds us to appreciate every moment, with a connection when it comes to this weekend that many fans likely, sadly, remember.

This weekend marked the 11th year since the death of former Patriots defensive end Marquise Hill, who passed away following a personal watercraft accident that saw him lose his life during Memorial Day weekend back in 2007.

Hill saved the life of a friend that weekend after pulling her to safety, but according to reports, from there he got separated and swept away by the current before eventually being pulled from the water 17 hours later.

An autopsy found no signs of drugs or alcohol, with indications seemingly pointing to a potential head injury playing a part in his death.

Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston reported on Sunday that while internally the team did things to remember him for years after his death, his memory lives on and the Patriots have even taken it a step further, with the team now providing players with a boating safety program to try and prevent a future tragedy.

Marsh Calls “B.S.” on His Former Team – Former Patriot Cassius Marsh apparently didn’t enjoy his time in New England, with the former defensive end not pulling any punches when speaking to the San Francisco media recently.

Marsh told the San Francisco Chronicle over the weekend that “there’s nothing fun” about being a Patriot, with the veteran admitting he “hated it” and it nearly brought him to the point of wanting to hang up his cleats because he was so miserable.

“They asked me to do a bunch of stuff that I had never done: covering running backs and receivers and basically almost never rushing the passer, which is what I did in playing defensive line,” Marsh told the newspaper. “They don’t have fun there. There’s nothing fun about it. There’s nothing happy about it. I didn’t enjoy any of my time there, you know what I’m saying? It made me for the first time in my life think about not playing football because I hated it that much.”

Marsh’s career ended following the team’s win in Mexico City, where things had taken a disappointing turn after he played just two defensive snaps against the Raiders.  From there, Marsh said he confronted Belichick and two days later the Patriots waived him.

“I confronted (Belichick) about all the things that were going on,” Marsh said. “I won’t get into detail, but it was B.S. things they were doing. I just wasn’t a fan. And so I, basically, without asking to get cut, I kind of asked to get cut. … I had confidence that I would have an opportunity elsewhere and I would take advantage of it.”

Those comments obviously led to a firestorm on social media from fans in New England who fired back at Marsh,  who didn’t like what he had to say.  Marsh didn’t change his stance, releasing a video (that’s since been deleted) and said he’s “grateful to be away from there”.

“I just want to address all you Patriots fans who don’t like this new article,” he said via ProFootballTalk.com.  “I’m sorry to hurt your feelings. Seems to be breaking your heart. But if you can’t handle the truth, stay off my page. Don’t read articles. That’s how I felt. That’s how I still feel and I’m grateful to be away from there, grateful to be where I’m at.”

Former Patriot Matt Chatham unloaded on Twitter, offering him some advice, as well as giving his thoughts on what really happened:

Marsh played in just nine games during his time in New England last season, finishing with 19 tackles and one sack, as well as one forced fumble.

Kraft Helps Save Man Who Collapsed at Kevin Hart Show – Robert Kraft was relaxing on Saturday night watching comedian Kevin Hart perform at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ and found himself in a tough situation.

According to PageSix, Kraft spotted a man who appeared to be having a seizure and “was frothing at the mouth”.  Kraft reportedly helped the man up after he collapsed and summoned security, who took him out on a stretcher.

The Patriots owner was there taking in the show while sitting near a handful of celebrities, including “Grey’s Anatomy” star Jesse Williams, radio personality Angie Martinez and Philadelphia 76ers part-owner Michael Rubin.

The report said the man ended up being O.K. and was later spotted backstage in a dressing room, “fully recovered”, eating a chicken wing.

Belichick and Kraft Surprise Lacrosse Player – There was another nice story involving Kraft over the weekend, with this one having to do with Duke lacrosse player and Foxborough native, Sean Lowrie.

According to CBS Boston, Lowrie found himself back in New England over the weekend to take part in the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship at Gillette Stadium and got a surprise when he hit the locker room.

The collegiate standout found a customized Patriots jersey with his name and number on the back, both signed by Kraft and Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick.

“That was awesome,” said Lowrie. “Walking into the locker room and seeing my own Patriots jersey with the number nine and my name on it and signed by Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick was incredible. It’s really cool to think about how much I idolize all of the Patriots and how cool it is to play here at Gillette Stadium. I have a couple of jerseys for the Patriots, but none are quite that special.”

Lowrie went on to say that while playing in a game of this magnitude was incredible, having the chance to do it at Gillette Stadium makes the experience a little sweeter.

“It means everything to be playing for a national championship,” he said. “It’s what I’ve dreamed about doing ever since I started playing lacrosse. I’m just lucky to be here playing my favorite sport, but obviously getting to do this in Foxborough is just incredible. Playing anywhere in the Final Four is going to be special, but playing in Foxborough makes it a little more special to me.”

Odds and Ends: There’s a charity softball game coming up in Haverill Massachusetts, with current and former Patriots set to take on the Haverill Police Department at Trinity Stadium.  The players who will be on hand have not been announced yet, but previous players who have taken part have included Rob Gronkowski, Rob Ninkovich, Steve DeOssie, Fred Smerlas and Andre Tippett.  The game will take place on June 10th at 1pm and tickets are just $10…There was a good piece posted yesterday at InsideThePylon.com, which does a great job breaking down X’s and O’s for anyone who follows their site.  They had a nice write-up on Patriots draft pick Isaiah Wynn, who they believe is a perfect fit here in New England.  Check it out if you haven’t already…Former Cleveland Brown and current ESPN Analyst Louis Riddick came to Belichick’s defense of Marsh’s comments on Saturday, firing back and defending his former coach. “Bill Belichick is not for everyone,” he Tweeted. “I have lived it. BUT, if winning means everything to you, there is nobody in professional football better equipped to help you achieve that goal. End of story.”  Riddick played for Belichick for three seasons in Cleveland.

Friday Patriots Notebook 5/25: Brady Spotted Working Out; Van Noy Loses Bet with Kids

Ian Logue
May 25, 2018 at 9:25 am ET

We’re finally at the end of the work week and here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.

Brady Working Out At TB12 Center – With Brady absent from the team’s OTAs this week, a new report on Thursday revealed that the veteran quarterback is getting his work in at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center, which is located at Patriots Place.

Brady is reportedly there working out with Alex Guerrero, getting himself ready for a season where he’ll be 41 and entering in to his 19th year in the NFL. The fact he’s staying away and working out with Guerrero has some wondering if an issue remains between he and Bill Belichick, who reports claimed banned Guerrero from Gillette Stadium last season and sparked a reported rift between Brady and his long-time coach.

The quarterback’s absence has led to increased reps in practice for back-up Brian Hoyer and new draft pick Danny Etling, who have been getting all the work in while Brady has been away from the stadium.

It’s likely tough for the newcomers, who have had an opportunity to begin getting into a rhythm fielding passes and getting their timing down with Hoyer and Etling.  They’ll essentially have to start all over again when the mandatory practices are held and Brady returns.  Everyone knows Brady’s standards are high when it comes to receivers, so they may find themselves under pressure once Brady takes over and begins pushing them.

Mandatory minicamp starts on June 5th, lasting three days when the team practices on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of that week.

McCourty Comments on Anthem Policy – Devin McCourty has been among several Patriots who were part of a group of players here in New England who protested during the National Anthem last season and he’s not happy about the NFL’s recent policy change.

McCourty, who was among 17 players who knelt during the National Anthem last season following comments from President Donald Trump who said the league should “fire or suspend” players who protest, spoke out following the league’s recent decision to restrict players from being able to kneel before the anthem, instead forcing them to stay in the locker room.

McCourty took to Twitter and backed up comments by Malcolm Jenkins and former Patriot Chris Long, with Long being the one who was the most vocal after posting his response on Twitter.

McCourty quoted Long’s and Jenkins’ statement and wrote, “Couldn’t have said it better @MalcolmJenkins and @JOEL9ONE so I won’t try I’ll just leave these here.”

Long wrote in his Twitter post that the NFL’s policy change wasn’t about patriotism but stemmed from a “fear of a diminished bottom line”.

“Don’t get it confused,” wrote Long. “These owners don’t love America more than the players demonstrating and taking real action to improve it. It also lets you, the fan, know where our league stands.”

As for McCourty, he was vocal last season as well, with the president’s comments at the time sparking anger with he and his teammates, leading them to join together and kneel that weekend prior to the team’s match-up against the Texans.

“Obviously, it won’t be seen as the right thing to everybody, but I think in our hearts, what we focus on the most was that we were trying to do the right thing today,” said McCourty at the time via MassLive.com. “I’m proud of our guys and I’m proud of the group and the guys I get to go out there and play football with. They’re all great guys. They’re better people than they are football players.”

With more players speaking out around the NFL, it definitely seems like this issue may be far from over.

Van Noy Loses Bet to Kids – Kyle Van Noy is a competitive player and unfortunately, it cost him a bit this week.

According to the Boston Herald, the veteran linebacker had a little fun on Wednesday spending some time with 10 foster children at Splitsville Lanes at Patriot Place as part of a charity event for his foundation and was challenged by the kids to bowl a strike. The penalty? He reportedly had to drop and give them 20 pushups.

Van Noy, who isn’t one to back down from a challenge, did his best but came up short and he stayed true to his word, running off twenty in front of everyone who was on hand to witness it.

“They’re serious,” said Van Noy after completing the task, “but I hold my word to my bet. And I lost.”

It’s a nice story and Van Noy has been one of the bright spots in the Patriots defense since arriving here in New England. He finished the 2017 regular season third on the team in tackles on defense with 73 along with 5.5 sacks, 9 QB hits and 7 tackles for a loss. He also defended two passes.

Odds and Ends: Dont’a Hightower was spotted at practice Thursday via photos on the team’s website, which is good news. Hightower suffered a torn pectoral muscle that sidelined him for 2017 and having him back is certainly a positive for a defense that definitely missed him last season … Also at practice was Derek Rivers, who was reportedly a full participant. Rivers is expected to potentially give the team some help at pass rush and showed flashes last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury … Several Patriots made a trip to Boston this week as part of an effort to plant 37,000 flags in Boston Common to honor fallen veterans. According to the team’s official site, among those were Joe Cardona, Rex Burkhead, Dwayne Allen, Derek Rivers, Eric Lee, Eric Rowe, Cole Croston, Andrew Jelks and Riley McCarron … The Patriots changed their website recently, taking on the same layout/functionality as NFL.com. It’s a significant change since the club has been the leader in coming up with new technology and had stayed away from having the same look/style as the other teams. However, that seems to not be the case after this recent change … Out in Los Angeles head coach Sean McVay has been impressed with newcomer Brandon Cooks. McVay could be heard in this video commenting on the speed of the veteran wideout, who has been impressive so far during the Rams OTAs. While this news may be disappointing for those who will miss him here in New England, the Patriots traded him and came away with pretty good value after receiving a first round pick this offseason. That pick resulted in the selection of offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn.

Thursday Patriots Notebook 5/24: Kraft Speaks on Brady; Former Patriot Disagrees With New Policy

Ian Logue
May 24, 2018 at 9:30 am ET

A quiet morning on this Thursday before the team gets set to practice this afternoon, but here’s a quick rundown of today’s top stories.

Kraft Says Brady Will Be Here for Mandatory Minicamp – While Brady’s absence during the voluntary portion of this week’s workouts has many buzzing, owner Robert Kraft attempted to quell any concerns on Wednesday about whether or not Brady will be here when it’s required.

Kraft spoke to reporters in Atlanta during the league’s spring meeting Wednesday and said he wasn’t concerned about Brady not being there this week.

“I think he’s very excited about the upcoming season,” said Kraft via ESPN. “These are voluntary workouts, and I think he’s in great shape. I think he’s at an age where — I was thinking back to when he joined us — he’s blessed to have three children now and built a number of businesses and has certain responsibilities. I think it’s very hard for him to fulfill those during the season and the commitment he has to football. I can only say this: I know he’s very excited about being at minicamp and having a very special season this year.”

Brady stirred the pot Wednesday by posting a photo of himself in practice gear with the caption “Dreamworks” along with a couple of emojis.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BjIdFEJBhGX/

Jeff Howe of The Athletic pointed out via Twitter that Brady’s post was in reference to some of his “business commitments”.

If that’s the case, it should be interesting to keep an eye on to find out what is.  As for the photo, given that there was no session Wednesday and players can’t practice in pads, it’s likely just a reminder for fans lamenting his absence that he’ll soon be back in action.

Team Making Strides Toward a New Deal with Gronk – While Rob Gronkowski isn’t yet on the field during voluntary workouts, it sounds like he and the team are working some things out behind the scenes with his contract.

According to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, the team appears to be getting closer to appeasing the veteran tight end from a contract standpoint, with Howe saying things have been “positive” during those discussions.

“It wasn’t disclosed if Gronkowski will sign an extension or simply earn a raise, either incentive-based or of a more straightforward nature,” wrote Howe.  “But since Gronk informed Bill Belichick last month of his decision to play this fall, the Gronkowski camp and the Patriots have worked toward a contract resolution. The tenor of those discussions has been positive.”

Gronkowski has reportedly been spotted working out locally this offseason while getting his body ready for the rigors of another NFL season.  All indications also seem to point to the fact that like Brady, Gronkowski should be on hand for the club’s upcoming mandatory workouts.

Former Patriot Upset Over NFL’s Anthem Policy – After the league announced a new policy on Thursday that will prevent players from kneeling during the national anthem, there were some who weren’t happy with the news and spoke about about the league’s attempt to stop the practice in 2018.

The NFL opted to walk a fine line with their new policy, allowing players to stay in the locker room instead of letting them kneel if they chose to do so on the field.  Former Patriot Matt Light wasn’t happy about what they come up with, saying the league made a mistake that is only going to make a bad situation worse.

“What they did was issue a statement saying we respect our men and women in the armed services, while at the same time, giving their players the ability to not respect the men and women in the armed services,” said Light via the Boston Herald. “To me, they outlined a much worse scenario”

“Before, it was never in our handbook. In league policy, it was never OK to not stand for the national anthem. So if you really think about it, they defined the right to not stand for the national anthem. It wasn’t that way before. In reality, they’ve literally defined, by policy, that guys can openly disrespect the men and women in our armed services by staying in the locker room.”

“It’s unfortunate. Look, you can’t make everyone happy. When you try to do that, you look terrible and you alienate a lot of people and it backfires every time.”

Light also said one of the mistakes the league made was not holding a dialog with players and he believes that’s an error that will likely cause a problem.  For now, Light points out that reporters will start reporting on those who are and aren’t there, which is going to make everything a mess.

“We’re going to have national anthem attendance for every single game,” Light said. “It’s absurd. The whole thing is absurd. Shocker (Goodell) didn’t do the right thing.”

Wednesday Patriots Notebook 5/23: Edelman Looks Ready to Go

Ian Logue
May 23, 2018 at 10:09 am ET

We’re on to Wednesday, so here’s a quick rundown of this morning’s top stories.

He’s Back – One bright spot coming out of OTAs on Tuesday was the return of Julian Edelman, who spent all of last season sidelined after suffering a knee injury during the preseason.

According to most reports Edelman looked as strong and quick as ever, appearing to be back to his explosive shifty self during his limited time on the field.  Edelman only took part in individual drills but from how it went, it’s good news for a player who has quietly proven to be one of New England’s most important assets in the Patriots’ offense and the fact he looks this strong is certainly a good sign.

The veteran receiver was also celebrating his 32nd birthday on Tuesday, which marked Edelman’s second straight day of participation after he also took part in Monday’s workout.

Having spent a full season away from the game, Edelman told USA TODAY’s FTW recently that he tried to maximize the time with mental reps and spend time with his daughter, but remained focused on getting himself back on the field.

“You just have more time to watch the game and your teammates and you pick up on little things that you might not see when you’re playing. I also have a daughter so it gave me more time to spend with her, which is always good. But it showed me how much I love football, and that not playing it sucks.”

No Mitchell Tuesday – One day after reports of Malcolm Mitchell being out catching passes, the third-year receiver wasn’t spotted during Tuesday’s practice.

That’s a bad sign for a player who at this stage should be recovered from his injury but may still managing something.  Mitchell showed tremendous toughness during his rookie season after dislocating his elbow during the preseason but despite reports that had him potentially lost for a prolonged period of time, Mitchell was back in action by Week 1 of the regular season.

Given his toughness and his desire to be on the field, the fact he’s not will be something to keep an eye on.  Social media posts toward the end of last season seemed to indicate he was hoping to make it back, but unfortunately, that never happened.  But if he continues to miss time over the next couple of weeks, it potentially sets a concerning precedent heading into training camp.

Mitchell told Mike Reiss back in February that he was looking forward to getting back to work.

“I’m feeling great,” said Mitchell. “This offseason will be big. Obviously, I missed all of last season and I won’t shy away from the importance of making sure I’m ready when we start OTAs.”

Hopefully, we’ll see him back out there soon.

Quarterback Situation is Less Than Desireable – If ever there was a season to hold your breath each time Tom Brady takes a big hit, it’s hard not to argue this will be it.

According to most reports, Brian Hoyer didn’t have his best performance on Tuesday and was erratic, misfiring on quite a few throws along with turning the ball over.  Danny Etling reportedly had a limited amount of attempts, and some reports did feel he actually looked better than Hoyer.  However, the biggest knock was the fact he reportedly looked tentative, which is to be expected given his status as a rookie in just his second workout with the team.

But this current depth chart is essentially a placeholder until either Etling develops or they bring in another player.  Hoyer’s time has long since come and gone and it was his familiarity with the system and previous tenure that sparked his return following the team’s decision to move Jimmy Garoppolo during the 2017 regular season.  He was here because he knew the system and it was a quick fix following Garoppolo’s departure to provide seasoned depth behind Brady.

The biggest problem this season is that should Brady be lost, Tuesday’s practice was a reminder that it’s definitely going to be shaky until someone eventually emerges behind New England’s starting quarterback.  With the team heading into this season with their 41-year old signal-caller, one can only hope he goes out and puts up another incredible year as a distraction to the fact there’s no longer someone even close on the roster that can fill his shoes should they find themselves without him.

KEION CROSSEN MAKES SOME NOISE – It’s a little too early to get excited about unknowns making plays, but newcomer Keion Crossen did a good job of setting the bar high for himself during Tuesday’s workout

According to reports, Crossen came up with a huge end zone interception on a pass from Brian Hoyer to James White, showing terrific athleticism both on that play and on others during the session.

The seventh-round pick out of Western Carolina was also involved in several pass break-ups, which now makes him a player to keep an eye on as he’ll now be forced to prove that he’s ready to build on his early success.

 

Tuesday Patriots Notebook 5/22: Edelman Doubts Himself as a Starting QB; Positive Mitchell Sighting

Ian Logue
May 22, 2018 at 9:53 am ET

Here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.

No Brady on Monday – Some had wondered if Tom Brady might be on hand for this week’s workouts, but he was noticeably absent while the team was on the field during Monday’s session.

With the sessions being voluntary, Brady decided to prioritize time with family this offseason and posted a photo from Rio Grande do Sul on Thursday, joking about his son enduring a little mental toughness training after he complained about the water being a little chilly while they were swimming.

He posted another on Saturday from chilly New York, his son still at his side.

While many will question his absence, Brady’s obviously been around long enough to have gained enough perspective to understand how precious this time really is.  He’s a player who once he turns the page is all-in and it looks like he’s trying to squeeze out as much time as he can before he kicks back into gear and starts preparing to hopefully lead his team to Atlanta this season.

Positive Mitchell Sighting – The return of Malcolm Mitchell is something that’s been speculated on for more than a year since his outstanding rookie season but on Monday, the veteran receiver was back out on the field getting some work in.

Mitchell’s right knee was heavily taped, but reports were positive by those who saw him on the field and he appears ready to build on a pretty solid rookie season.

Mitchell’s already proven he’s a strong fit in this offense, becoming the first rookie receiver in quite a while to be as productive as he was during his rookie year.

He finished the 2016 regular season with 401 yards receiving on 32 catches, 23 of which went for first downs including 4 touchdowns.  He also caught 9 of 12 targets in the red zone with three touchdowns.

But his biggest performance of the year came at the right time, which saw Mitchell step up in the Super Bowl and finish with 6 receptions for 70 yards, five of which came in the final quarter of play during the team’s historic come-from-behind win over Atlanta.

While it’s a little early to get too excited, the fact he’s back on the field is certainly a good sign and hopefully, he’ll continue to progress as the team continues getting ready for the 2018 season.

Patriots Add Two to the Coaching Staff – The team announced a couple of coaching additions on Monday, rounding out the staff who will join Bill Belichick’s group for the 2018 season.

The Patriots named Cameron Achord as an assistant special teams coach, giving the former interim head coach at Southwest Mississippi Community College an opportunity in the NFL under Belichick.

Also joining the staff will be Atif Austin, who spent the last four seasons as a wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator at North Dakota State.  His role wasn’t elaborated on any further in the announcement.

Meanwhile, in another bit of internal news, Adam Caplan reported on Monday that the Patriots lost one of their scouts to Philadelphia, with Patrick Stewart ending his 11-year run with New England to move on to become a national scout with the Eagles.


Hopefully Edelman’s passing opportunities remain limited to trick plays.

Edelman Doubts His Ability If Called to Start as an Emergency QB – Julian Edelman may be one of the more confident players in the league as a receiver, but he may have a little self-doubt when it comes to being a quarterback in this league.

Edelman, who has played cornerback in addition to his time as a receiver in the NFL, is also a former quarterback from Kent State who captured the attention of scouts thanks to his athleticism which played a key role in making it into the NFL.

However, that was a long time ago and Edelman admitted when asked by USAToday.com’s FTW that even if the worst happened and every other QB got “food poisoning” against, say, the Steelers and couldn’t play, he’d have a tough time.

“It would be pretty terrible,” said Edelman about how he’d fare.  “I have the utmost respect for NFL quarterbacks. I could probably call some protections and read some defenses and make some throws. But not in a matter of seconds. All of these guys in the league are really good and have a tough job. And going up against a team like the Steelers, a team that always brings it when we play them. That would be rough.”

Brady famously joked about Edelman’s quarterback abilities in college, saying he’d love to see film of him out there of his teammate during his time in college as a quarterback.

“To play college quarterback with such – I’d love to see those old tapes of him running around because he’s kind of a spaz, I don’t know if you guys know that,” said Brady. “I always say, ‘God, what were you like in the huddle as a quarterback? How could anyone look at you seriously?’ But I guess he did pretty good.

“He definitely can’t throw the ball so he made the right switch to receiver at the right time.”

And if all goes well, Edelman will have a successful 2018 season after missing last year after suffering a season-ending knee injury during the preseason.

Monday Patriots Notebook 5/21: Kickoffs Now in the Spotlight; Patriots Set For Phase 3 Of Workouts

Ian Logue
May 21, 2018 at 8:04 am ET

It’s been a busy week after spending some time working on some things here behind the scenes.  There will be some new things on the way here at PatsFans.com in the coming weeks, but for now, we’ll resume this daily notebook.  So let’s get to it.

NFL Kickoffs In the Spotlight – One of the biggest things to watch this season is going to be just how different NFL kickoffs will be this year given the rule changes agreed upon by the competition committee, which will likely play a role in whether or not the play continues in the coming years.

As Ben Volin of the Boston Globe pointed out on Sunday, there have been four key changes that will affect the play this season, with the goal to hopefully reduce the number of injuries and concussions stemming from what many coaches believe remains one of the most dangerous plays in the game.

Here are four big modifications they’re hoping will curtail injuries for 2018.

  1. This season there will be no running starts for the kicking team.
  2. Receiving teams must have eight of its 11 players within 25-yards of the line of scrimmage.
  3. No blocking by players within 15-yards of the line of scrimmage.
  4. Receiving teams are prevented from making wedge blocks.

According to Volin, some of the league’s top special teams coaches were part of the process for these changes, including the Patriots’ Joe Judge, who was part of nine special teams coordinators who helped come up with the proposal that helped save the play and keep it in the game for at least the foreseeable future.

The modifications are interesting, especially given that they could potentially favor the return team thanks to the additional spacing and the disadvantage of the coverage team by not having a running start.  That could lead to big plays in the return game, which would certainly be a benefit for a league looking for big moments and bigger ratings.

More importantly, it keeps special teams as part of the NFL which would certainly lose out without it.  For many undrafted players and late-round picks, losing kickoffs and special teams would take away an opportunity for unknowns to eventually emerge and become marquee players.  Without it, it would leave players like Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater among many who could have never gotten the opportunity to prove themselves, which would have been a loss for both the team and the fans who cheer for them.

Ultimately it will come down to a reduction of injuries before the league takes another look after this season and decides whether or not it will remain part of the game.  As a result, it will be something that fans may want to watch a little closer this season to see just how the first phase of changes will affect a play that’s opened the door for so many.


Gronkowski and Brady are big question marks for this week’s voluntary workouts.

Phase 3 of Voluntary Workouts On Tap – While Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have each spent the early part of the offseason workouts away from the team to this point and as Mike Reiss of ESPN pointed out on Sunday, the Patriots are heading into a key part of the workouts that will have many wondering if either player will report this week.

Brady has made it clear this offseason that he’s prioritizing time with his family and taking advantage of the additional period before he returns to work, which is a change from past years but hasn’t really been something that required any type of concern among fans and media.

As for Gronkowski, the same holds true for the veteran tight end, who has made headlines this offseason as retirement rumors swirled thanks to his comments following New England’s loss to Philadelphia back in February.  He’s been busy this offseason focusing on his own interests, while also being spotted working out at the TB12 Center and preparing his body to endure the rigors of yet another NFL season.

While Gronkowski’s presence isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, Brady’s may be when you take into consideration the importance of team-building as the Patriots start the process of both teaching and evaluating some of the younger offensive players.

According to Brady’s Instagram account, he and his family were in Brazil as of Friday, and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Monday morning that it’s unlikely Brady will be on hand this week, so it looks like the extra reps may go to newcomer Danny Etling should the veteran stay away this week.

Nelson Talks About Loss of Johnson – The loss of Patriots great Andy Johnson was saddening for fans of the New England running back, but it was obviously a little more difficult for those who knew him as a player in the locker room.

One of those players was Steve Nelson, who played with Johnson during their time together after coming out of the same draft class.  The two were close, with Nelson telling our own Steve Balestrieri following the news of Johnson’s death that the two also roomed together on the road and that his loss was tough to take.

“It was really sad to hear that Andy passed on so young (65) today,” Nelson said. “We’d heard that his cancer ( Esophageal) had progressed so bad that he had trouble eating solid food for the past year and had dropped an incredible amount of weight.”

“Andy and I were drafted the same year (1974) and we were roommates on the road for the first three years in the league together. After he played for the Patriots for about eight years he finished up his football career for the Boston Breakers in the USFL in 1983.”

“He was a great football player and teammate and an even better guy.”

Johnson was a former fifth-round pick who played with New England from 1974 thru 1982, with his best season coming in 1976 where he rushed for 699 yards and six touchdowns.  He’s survived by his wife and three children.

King Re-Signed, Lacy Released – The Patriots continued modifying their roster heading into their organized team activities, with the team announcing they brought back a recently released player, while also parting ways with one of their undrafted free agents.

The team announced on Friday they re-signed offensive lineman Jason King, bringing him back mere weeks after he had been released back on May 10th. The former standout from Purdue had signed a future contract with the team back in February and spent much of last season on the team’s practice squad.

Meanwhile, the team announced the release of receiver Chris Lacy, who had been signed as a rookie free agent back on May 11, 2018.  Lacy was a four-year standout at Oklahoma State but he likely faced an uphill battle given New England’s crowded receiving corps heading into training camp.  This at least gives him plenty of time to hopefully catch on elsewhere heading into the start of July’s NFL training camps.

Odds and Ends: Mike Reiss reported on Sunday that newcomer Adrian Clayborn suffered an injury to his quadriceps during offseason workouts, which may cause him to miss organized team activities this week.  According to Reiss, barring any setbacks, he should be ready for camp…Danny Shelton was disappointed that the Patriots didn’t pick up his fifth-year option, which would have paid him $7.5 million next season.  Shelton told Zack Cox of NESN that he’s disappointed, but he’s looking forward to proving his worth this season.  “Obviously, it sucked at first,” said Shelton. “But at the same time, you’ve got to think of it as an opportunity. And for me, I’m just grateful for the opportunity to be here for the year and to be able to just try my best to dominate and put myself out there and see what happens after that.”… Matt Light recently talked about the challenges the Patriots face at left tackle and while he believes offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia will be up for the challenge of grooming a replacement, Light believes it won’t be easy.  “Dante had guys ready to go in and fill the void,” he told NESN.com. “But it’s a big void. It’s definitely something that we’re all going to be keeping an eye on. It’ll be interesting to see how they do it and how teams try to take advantage of maybe a younger player or a guy that doesn’t have as many snaps.”

Friday Patriots Notebook 5/11: Patricia Facing Turmoil in Detroit; Parcells Regrets Patriots Decision

Ian Logue
May 11, 2018 at 8:30 am ET

Just a quick rundown on this Friday due to time contraints, but here’s a look at today’s top stories.

Patricia facing a firestorm in Detroit – As if trying to install your system and culture into a new team isn’t difficult enough, former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia finds himself dealing with an incident during his college days from 22-years ago that is creating quite a mess for him.

The incident stemmed from a sexual assault charge he and a friend were faced with while on spring break back in college where, according to the Detroit News, the two became friendly with a girl they met and later allegedly barged into her room and sexually assaulted her.

They were each indicted in 1996 by a grand jury on aggravated assault charges, which as the original report points out, actually could have carried a sentence of up to life in prison, citing a Texas statute.

Instead, the accuser opted not to testify, so the charges were ultimately dismissed.

Patricia maintains his innocence and on Thursday said he was “falsely accused” while expressing frustration over the story resurfacing, with the Lions standing behind him. Multiple media outlets reported having tried to reach the accuser, who has maintained her silence to this point.

It’s a difficult topic and unfortunately, since it was her decision not to testify and not a jury finding him innocent that ultimately resulted in things going away, he’s most likely not out of the woods quite yet.

For now, Patricia says his focus remains the same as he tries to continue getting ready for the season.

“I would never condone any of the behavior that was alleged and will always respect and protect the rights of anyone who has been harassed or is the victim of violence,” he said. “My priorities remain the same — to move forward and strive to be the best coach, teacher, and man that I can possibly be.”

Parcells Expresses Regret on Leaving the Patriots – Bill Parcells was the one who initially started New England’s resurgence in the late 1990s, but it was his decision to go to New York that ultimately opened the door for Bill Belichick to become the team’s future head coach, which has obviously worked out well.

For Parcells, the situation that unfolded in his final season was frustrating because he had built a strong nucleus of players who shocked everyone by earning a Super Bowl berth that season, only to fall to the Packers in a game that was competitive until a kickoff return for a touchdown helped Brett Favre and company eventually pulled away.

“I regretted leaving the Patriots because there was a pretty good young team,” Parcells told The Athletic via USA TODAY. “We had a young quarterback, we had Curtis Martin, a premier back. I had a lot of speed at receiver, a great tight end, a young, up-and-coming defense: Ty Law, Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi. We had Troy Brown and Adam Vinatieri. That was a long time ago. I don’t think back. Temporarily it bothered me. I’d probably do things differently now if I had to do it again.”

Parcells couldn’t replicate his success with the Jets and Belichick ultimately has gone on to win five championships, so there’s likely some frustration with seeing how things worked out after his departure.

As they say, everything happens for a reason. Fortunately, fans in New England certainly have no regrets after seeing the incredible run of success that will likely someday go down as the greatest era in franchise history for this football team.

Bielema To Join Team During Minicamp – Former Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema has been spotted at various Pro Days with the team and it sounds like he’ll continue to be around the organization for the foreseeable future.

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Bielema will reportedly be involved with coaching duties when the team begins its rookie minicamp.

There’s been a lot of speculation regarding his connection to the team and the Patriots have yet to clarify his role, but Bielema, who is reportedly a close friend of Belichick, appears like he could potentially become part of the coaching staff given how things are playing out.

If it works out, it’s certainly a great opportunity for Bielema to rehabilitate his career. He’s coming off a five-year tenure at Arkansas that saw him finish 29-34 as a head coach, with the team letting him go in January. He made out well on the deal, with published reports saying the school is paying him $11.935 on his buyout to be paid through 2020.

Odds and Ends: The Patriots released OL Jason King on Thursday, who was signed by the Patriots to a future contract back in February. King is a 6’4″, 310lb offensive lineman who was originally a rookie free agent out of Purdue and joined the team last year on May 5, 2017 … Drew Bledsoe and Celtics guard Terry Rozier have developed a friendship after Milwaukee Bucks player Eric Bledsoe said he didn’t know who Terry was. As a result, Terry called Eric “Drew Bledsoe”, and then took it further after showing up wearing a Patriots Bledsoe jersey. Now the former quarterback is planning on potentially naming a wine after him. “The Terry Rose may be the thing. Watch out,” Drew said. “I’m going to have to talk to him. We can bring him out to Washington, develop a profile and come up with a Terry Rose. It’s going to have a great finish.” The two reportedly finally met before game five. Good stuff. … The final suspect involved in the Rob Gronkowski burglary was finally arrested Thursday morning. Shayne Denn, 26, of Tewksbury Mass, apparently has quite the history. According to Wilmington (Mass.) Police, Denn was also suspected in connection with a crime spree that included using a pickup truck to smash through the wall of a store. Thankfully, his latest run of crime should come to an end and he’ll now hopefully spend some time behind bars.

Thursday Patriots Notebook 5/10: Thuney To Undergo Surgery; Belichick Pulled An Interesting Move a Year Ago

Ian Logue
May 10, 2018 at 7:43 am ET

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.

Wednesday Patriots Notebook 5/9: End Scares Brady ‘Big Time’; Harmon, McCourty Change Jerseys

Ian Logue
May 9, 2018 at 6:52 am ET

Here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.

Lombardi Feels Brady’s No Longer Willing to Take a Hometown Discount – Despite being the best player in the game, Tom Brady has never been one to seek the biggest payday. 

That’s been his mindset going all the way back to when he first emerged as a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and he’s remained consistent. Rather than seek the largest contract, instead, he’s allowed the team to get creative while taking care of him with guaranteed money that’s been commensurate with his worth, even if his annual salary didn’t measure up.

Now as he heads into the final two years of his current deal, which expires after the 2019 season and is now well below the current market, Lombardi believes that any future deal to give him a raise may see Brady looking to get paid something more in line with his peers.

“What I think is going on in New England, and this is just my own instinct, I think when you win five Super Bowls and you’ve had as much success as they’ve had and they have all swallowed the ‘we’re not making all this money’ routine, ‘we’re not taking all the coin.’ They have done that and I think now is the time where they are all saying to themselves, ‘it’s money time,’” Lombardi said via WEEI. “Brady, for all what he is saying about how unhappy he is, and the same thing with Gronk, I think it comes down to contract and how couldn’t it?”

“How could you look there and see Matt Ryan and what he’s making and you have five rings. How could you see what Kirk Cousins just got and it not affect you? It’s just human nature, right? You can’t fault Brady for that. You can’t.”


Brady went on to become the best QB in NFL history. (USA TODAY Images)

It’s interesting to go back and look at Brady’s stance over the years on this topic, including back in 2005 when he appeared on 60-Minutes after winning three championships in four years and talking about his contract.  Brady at that time talked about the fact he didn’t care about being the highest-paid player. He felt that the more money he made, the more it took away from allowing the team to surround him with talent.

“Yeah. I mean that’s always a factor,” Brady said at the time when asked about taking less to give his team flexibility to sign people.  “The way the NFL works, the more you take, the less money other guys have. And I decided, hey, this is what I think I deserve. And it’s very fair. And it is a business, and I make those decisions. It’s not like I’m, you know, non-profit here. I’m not working for free, and I’m getting paid a lot of money. Other people need to get paid a lot of money too, because a lot of other people contribute. But it’s not like the grass is greener anywhere else. I mean, I’m a part of three championships here. And I’ve got a great relationship with the coach, the ownership and the players.”

Brady went on to say that the he loved the fans and couldn’t imagine playing anywhere else.

“And the fans, and the city,” he continued.  “And it’s like why leave here? Why would that make sense? That would be the dumbest — it’s such a stupid decision if I ever decide something else. And if people ask those questions, I don’t think they’re very smart either. ‘Cause if they were to evaluate it the way I did, it’d be an easy decision.”

That was obviously a long time ago and times have unfortunately, changed a bit. With things being as tense as they’ve been over the past year, it’s definitely a different environment than it was back then and he’s had a full career of perspective that could have him thinking about making the most financially of his final seasons. But whether or not it will really affect him the way Lombardi might think is a different story.


Brady said back in 2005 that the thought of the end of his career scared him. (USA TODAY Images)

Brady Once Said The Thought of the End of His Career Scared him “Big TIme” – One interesting note out of that same interview was the fact that when asked if there was something that really scared him or intimidated him, Brady said it was the idea of the end of his playing career.

At the time, he felt that walking away would be hard because football was all he knew and that when it was over, he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to handle not experiencing what being part of the NFL brought with it.

“The end of my playing career. Big time,” said Brady.  “Because I guess I’ve done this for so long. And I know what I feel like in the off-season. That I’m always trying to figure out ways to have a day that’s filled with things I like to do. And when I’m playing football during those seven months out of the year, it’s easy. I mean I get up and come in here. Not that it’s easy to work hard, not that it’s easy to show up every day and do the job, but you’re focused. You know? You got a goal. You got something you’re trying to accomplish.”

“And when that’s done, you don’t have 80,000 people screaming your name. You know, what’s it gonna be? I’ve heard a lot about astronauts who go to the moon and come back, and they’re so depressed because there’s nothing they can do in their lives that ever can fill ’em the way that that does.”

It’s interesting given where he is right now and it’s scary for fans to think the days of seeing him on the field are slowly coming to an end.  Hopefully, he can ease the pain for both himself and the fans cheering for him with another Championship run.


Harmon will be wearing a different number next season. (USA TODAY Images)

McCourty, Harmon reach an agreement on jersey numbers – Duron Harmon has been known for some late-game heroics and it looks like he’ll be wearing a familiar number next season.

Newcomer Jason McCourty told reporters on Tuesday that he and Harmon reached an agreement to swap jerseys, allowing McCourty to wear #30 (Harmon’s number).  McCourty said that making the deal with the veteran safety wasn’t a tough sell.

“He actually was on the verge of wanting to switch numbers, as well,” McCourty said Tuesday via the Boston Globe. “So, just in our Rutgers way, we were able to work it all out and everybody walks away happy.”

As for Harmon, he’s switching to #21, which was Malcolm Butler’s number.  Butler is now in Tennessee having left via free agency this offseason.

Digging deeper, there is some interesting history with this after hearing about their decisions to swap numbers. Harmon’s college number during his days at Rutgers was #32, which is worn by teammate Devin McCourty.  Ironically enough, Devin wore #21 in college.  As for Jason, he wore #25 when he and his brother were teammates in college, which is currently worn by Eric Rowe.