Category Archives: Uncategorized

Daily Notebook: Tuesday Patriots News and Notes 5/23

Ian Logue
May 23, 2017 at 7:00 am ET

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

Johnson Backs Brady  – After Tom Brady came under fire last week thanks to comments made by his wife, GIsele Bundchen, who told CBS This Morning that her husband has apparently sustained concussions over the years despite the fact that the quarterback has never appeared on the injury report with one listed.

That likely means that if Brady was hurt, he didn’t say anything and the team was unaware that their quarterback was experiencing any issues.  That doesn’t surprise former Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, who told the Detroit Free Press that he’s the first to admit that he’s hidden them as well.

“Guys get concussions, they don’t tell the coaches,” Johnson told the newspaper this past weekend.  “It happens. I don’t tell the coach sometimes cause I know I got a job to do. The team needs me out there on the field. And sometimes you allow that to jeopardize yourself, but that’s just the nature of the world.”

Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, has taken a different approach.  Roethlisberger told The MMQB’s Peter King that he’s experienced his own issues but he’s opted to report them and he’s putting himself and his future above all else.

“I’m proud of it,” Roethlisberger told King via ProFootballTalk.com. “I have been just like Drew [Brees] where I haven’t reported things before either. Probably everybody who has ever played the game of football hasn’t reported an injury. For me it wasn’t about an injury—I’ve played through many injuries—but when you talk about your head, that is a different ball game.”

“You can replace a lot of body parts, but you can’t replace a brain. You see the effects of it from past players, players who have taken their lives, the CTE, all that stuff and, you know, I’m thinking about my family and long term. I love this game and I love my brothers that I play football with, and I would encourage any player who has an issue with their brain to just report it properly . . . We are blessed to play this game but we also have a life to live.”

His comments are in no way a shot at Brady, especially given his affinity for the Patriots quarterback that fans saw first hand after he got all geeked out last year when he awkwardly asked Brady to exchange jerseys prior to their match-up.  The two swapped jerseys after the Patriots beat Pittsburgh and that jersey is now hanging up in Roethlisberger’s office.

It’s a difficult dilemma and concussions remain the type of injury where if there was anything that could unexpectedly force Brady out of the game, that would likely be it.  Bundchen has already expressed concern about his future but for now Brady’s already made it clear he’s not worried, instead focusing on getting ready for yet another NFL season.


Clayborn finally got the recognition he deserves on Monday.

Clayborn Finally Gets In – One of the biggest problems with being so successful for so long is that the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era has quietly drowned out some of the most talented players in the history of the franchise, but an important one finally broke through on Monday.

The team announced that former defensive back Raymond Clayborn finally earned his way into the Patriots Hall of Fame, beating out Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel to earn the honor.

It was a well-deserved achievement for Clayborn, who was a finalist for the fourth-straight year and has faced an uphill battle against a fan base that has spent the last nearly 17-years watching one of the most remarkable eras in franchise history. With so many greats playing over that span, it’s muddied the waters for the fans who watched this team long before Belichick and Brady arrived, since most of the younger fans aren’t aware of what life was like back when Clayborn graced the field.

Clayborn played for New England from 1977 through 1989, enjoying a trip to the Super Bowl at the age of 31 after a 1986 season that saw the Patriots finish 11-5 playing for then head coach Raymond Berry, who saw his team lose a frustrating game against the Bears in the Super Bowl.  Clayborn played with a host of terrific players, including Steve Grogan, Sam Cunningham, Mike Haynes, Andre Tippett along with many more and Clayborn admitted he was surprised to see he earned enough votes to make it.

“I keep reverting back to the Super Bowls and previous years when I was a candidate; it always had gone to one of those guys. I thought the same thing was going to happen again,” Clayborn said Monday via Mike Reiss of ESPN. “I was totally surprised and very happy.”

Haynes to this day still holds the franchise record for career interceptions, having totaled 36 over his tenure with the team.  However, it’s a record he shares with former Patriots cornerback Ty Law, who also picked off 36 of his own.  But Clayborn admitted, that had it not been for Law’s final injury-plagued season in 2004, Law likely would have broken it.

“Ty’s last year with the Patriots, he was injured after he tied it. I believe he would have broken it if he hadn’t been injured,” Clayborn told Reiss. “I look at him officially as the guy that holds that record, because if he hadn’t of been injured, he would’ve gotten it. But I am proud of being tied with Ty Law, who I think belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

Patriots owner Robert Kraft was the person who called Clayborn to give him the news and it’s an experience Kraft enjoyed, especially considering he was one of the fans who was at the games as a season-ticket holder during Clayborn’s incredible career.

“I was fortunate to be a season ticket holder during Raymond’s entire Patriots career,” Kraft said in a statement via the team’s official site.. “For the first half of his career, he teamed with Michael Haynes to form one of the best corner tandems in league history. Throughout his career, Raymond was a physical, shutdown corner.”

“One of my favorite memories was watching the 1985 team advance to the Super Bowl after Raymond helped us break the Orange Bowl curse when he stymied future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino with a dominant performance against Pro Bowl receivers Mark Duper and Mark Clayton. Raymond had six passes defensed and an interception to help us claim our first conference title. It was the greatest upset victory in franchise history at the time and one the entire New England region celebrated.”

“It is a well-deserved honor and I look forward to presenting him his hall of fame jacket.”

Congratulations to Clayborn, as it’s definitely a well-deserved honor and it’s great to finally see him receive the recognition after his terrific career.

White Back on the Roster – The Patriots made a transaction on Monday, signing former Alabama wideout DeAndrew White back to a group that now features eleven receivers on the roster.

White, wore Aaron Dobson’s old #17 last year, spent the 2016 season on the practice squad after he was cut by San Francisco last September, and he joins fellow Alabama players Dont’a Hightower and Cyrus Jones among former Crimson Tide standouts.

During White’s time at Alabama, he totaled 94 catches for 1294 yards and 12 touchdowns from 2011-2014.  He was originally an undrafted free agent before joining the 49ers, and thanks to the fact he landed in New England last season, he’s already enjoyed being an understudy on a team that won a championship.  Now he’ll face the challenge of standing out among one of the more talented groups this club has ever had.

Edelman Celebrates A Birthday – Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman turned 31 on Monday and the team’s official Twitter account had a little fun to commemorate his birthday.

They posted a couple of Tweets, making light of one of the key moments in the Super Bowl, as well as providing fans with footage of the veteran wideout mic’d up on the field.

Great stuff and best wishes to a player who is obviously the heart and soul of the offense.

Daily Notebook: Friday Patriots News and Notes 5/19

Ian Logue
May 19, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

We’re at the end of another work week, and here are the final notes as we close out the week.

Bennett Talks About the Patriots Epic Comeback – Martellus Bennett’s first and only season in New England will likely go down as the most memorable of his career, especially given that he helped the Patriots win their fifth championship.

But one of the things the now Green Bay Packer recently said he won’t forget was the atmosphere in the locker room when the Patriots found themselves trailing 21-3 after the Falcons had their way in the first half as New England struggled to get anything going offensively.

Despite their struggles, one of the things that stood out to Bennett was the fact that it was business as usual at halftime, and everyone remained focused on doing what they needed to in order to prepare to get back in the game.  In an interview with INC.com, the veteran tight end talked about what it was like after they walked off the field following a forgettable half of football.

“The Super Bowl, we’re down, we’re getting our ass kicked,” Bennett said via CBS Sports. “When we came into the locker room at halftime, there was no bickering, there was no bitching, there was no complaining, there was no moaning, there was no throwing chairs.”

Bennett also said that there were no rah-rah speeches.  Just an incredible amount of focus at the task at hand.

“There was none of this epic ‘We’re going to come back,’ ‘Rudy,’ ‘Remember the Titans’-type speech. There was none of that TV [expletive],” Bennett said. “When you looked around the locker room, you didn’t see anyone that was discouraged, you didn’t see doubt in anyone’s eyes, and that’s like all 53 guys. You looked around and you could see that everybody was determined to figure out what they could do to help us win.”

For Bennett, while he caught just one pass in the final half of play, it was a big reception where he caught a 25-yard gain on a 3rd-and-1 early in the fourth quarter.  That play was big because it kept the chains moving as New England went on to make it a two possession game thanks to Stephen Gostkowski capping the drive with a 33-yard field goal to cut the Falcons lead to 28-12 with 9:44 to go in regulation.

It ended up being a critical possession because on the ensuing drive by Atlanta, linebacker Dont’a Hightower’s sack and forced fumble of Matt Ryan saw the Patriots recover the football at the Falcons’ 25 yard line.  Five plays later, Brady found Danny Amendola for the touchdown and James White ran in the 2-point conversion, which made it an eight point game at 28-20.  We all know what happened from there as the team made history after completing the comeback.

History was something Bennett said at halftime they planned on making, which only makes it that much more amazing.

“[We] put our hands up, ‘Hey, this is going to be written in the history books. Patriots on three. One, two, three, Patriots, break.’ And the rest is history,” Bennett said.

Patriots Make Several Transactions – The Patriots announced three signings on Thursday, with free agent offensive lineman James Ferentz, rookie free agent tight end Sam Cotton, and fourth-round draft choice Deatrich Wise, Jr. all agreeing to deals with the team.

The most notable name getting under contract in this mix is Wise Jr., who certainly has some high expectations as he looks to earn a role on the team.  He told the Boston Herald on Thursday that he’s been studying past players and he’s looking forward to getting to work.

“We’ve just been talking football, but looking on film, watching Jamie Collins and Chandler Jones. I can see myself doing exactly what they did. Chris Long, those guys too,” Wise said Thursday at Gillette Stadium.

As for Ferentz, he’s spent the last two seasons playing for the Denver Broncos and played against New England in the AFC Championship when the Broncos beat New England to advance to Super Bowl 50.

Cotton played in 31 games during his career in Nebraska, totaling 185 yards on 17 receptions along with three touchdowns and joins a group looking to earn a roster spot in what should be a competitive tight end battle behind starters Rob Gronkowski and likely back-up Dwayne Allen.

The former Nebraska standout was spotlighted by HuskerOnline.com in an interview from last April, and he looks and sounds very similar to Gronkowski in terms of his appearance and demeanor.

Meanwhile, the team also released offensive lineman Chris Barker, who spent the last three seasons on New England’s practice squad.

McCourtys Receive Yogi Berra Museum Service Award – Devin McCourty recently received an award as he and his brother were honored in an inaugural awards dinner and ceremony in New York.

The event, which was co-hosted by former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason and Actor Robert Wuhl, was held with the intention of “saluting a remarkable group of individuals who embody the qualities that made Yogi an American treasure: respect, sportsmanship, perseverance, and excellence.”

There were several awards given out, including the Yogi Berra Museum Teammate Award , Yogi Berra Museum Humanitarian Award, Carmen Berra Award and the Yogi Berra Museum Service Award.

Devin and his brother Jason were the recipients of the latter award, with their work through their “Tackle Sickle Cell” foundation, along with their appearances and volunteer efforts within the community, earning them the recognition.

Devin expressing his gratitude for being recognized at the event.

“It was kind of shocking just because we grew up in that area. We were too young to watch Yogi, but knowing his name, the type of player he was and what he accomplished, it was kind of humbling,” Devin said via Patriots.com. “We were able to see his achievements off the field and what he did in that area. It kind of felt undeserving. With everything he accomplished it was definitely an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as him.”

“Mutual Interest” Was There Between Jason McCourty and Patriots – There was plenty of speculation about the chance for Jason McCourty to end up in New England following his release in Tennessee and now that he’s signed with the Browns, McCourty admitted there had been some interest in having him join Devin here in New England.

“I think there was definitely mutual interest,” McCourty said of the Patriots on “Good Morning Football” Thursday via USA TODAY. “Me and Devin have never hid the fact that us playing together would be a dream come true. My mom kind of has hinted at that since we both got into the league. She knows it would be a lot easier only having to travel to one city during the season.”

“I think there was definitely mutual interest, but to be honest, the Patriots are kind of set at cornerback. They have a lot of talent in that room. There really wasn’t room for me. Me and Dev talked about that and that’s just the way of the league. I’m excited about the opportunity I have in Cleveland to work with those guys.”

It would have been fun to see, but he’ll now be a Brown for at least the next two seasons after signing a 2-year, $6 million deal with Cleveland.  What happens after that remains to be seen, but we’ll have to wait a bit longer for that possibility to come around again.

Cheerleader Writes About Failing to Make the Patriots Squad After Four Attempts – Scanning through the news, I came across a story that appeared in Galmour online about Wilmington native Paige Bennett, who has tried four times since 2013 to make the Patriots’ cheerleading squad and hasn’t quite been able to break through.

Bennett writes that she’s always wanted to be a cheerleader for the team and her mom actually owns a dance studio that has seen many of her alumni become cheerleaders for the club.  Bennett’s attempts at making the squad began back in 2013 when she was 20, and she wrote about the challenges she’s faced despite not having been able to reach her goal of making the squad.

One of the things that’s impressive about her is the progress from the disappointment she dealt with in the beginning, to her attitude about it now after the entire experience.

“This year was my favorite by far,” wrote Bennett.  “I felt more confident and more prepared than ever before. This process forces you to figure out who you are and what you bring to the table. It forces you to realize your worth and be confident in your individuality.”

“Nevertheless, my name wasn’t on the final roster after yet another journey through preliminaries, finals, and boot camp. Did I fail? Yes, yes I did. Am I okay? Better than ever. Failure means progress, and I’ve learned to embrace it.”

Bennett plans on coming back next year and making another run, and she’s just as determined as ever.

“Despite not reaching my goal—yet—I will be back next year,” wrote Bennett.  “I promised myself “I’ll keep going back until it no longer makes sense.” I think I’ll know what that means if and when the times comes, but now, I’m getting ready for next year.”

Best wishes to her, as after reading about her story, she’s gone from a girl just trying to make the cheerleading squad, to a well-rounded individual who is running marathons and has a terrific attitude, so hopefully 2018 will be her year.  You can follow her on Twitter at @pagebennett22.


IBelichick switched back to paper after frustrations with the tablets in 2016.

No Sideline Video For 2017 – For the second straight year, the NFL reportedly confirmed on Thursday that the use of sideline video will not be happening in 2017, with teams voting again to table the proposal.

Coaches have had access to tablets for a few years now, although one of the biggest frustrations we’ve heard have come from here in New England, with things bubbling over with Bill Belichick after he was seen slamming down his tablet back in Week 4 last season in a home loss against the Bills.

The biggest issue he had is just the fact that the performance and reliability of the technology was inconsistent, likely stemming from wireless network issues that have seemed to plague stadiums throughout the league that are still getting used to providing that type of technology in that environment.

“As you probably noticed, I’m done with the tablets,” Belichick said days after the game. “They’re just too undependable for me. I’m going to stick with pictures, which several of our other coaches do as well, because there just isn’t enough consistency in the performance of the tablets. I just can’t take it anymore.”

Belichick opted instead to go back to using still images printed out in black and white, which knowing how reliable that’s been compared to the problems they experienced with the tablet, made it more preferable.

“I’ll use the paper pictures from here on, because I have given it my best shot,” said Belichick. “I’ve tried to work through the process. But it doesn’t work for me, and that’s because there’s no consistency to it.”

Right now, what coaches have access to are still images.  When it comes to video, oddly enough several coaches sound like they don’t like the idea of having video on the sideline because they feel it devalues the time and energy they put in each week installing a game plan that opposing coaches would be able to review and adjust to in real time easier if they had the technology in their hands.

“I want to get beat on the field,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera told Kevin Clark of TheRinger.com via ProFootballTalk last year. “I don’t want to get beat because someone used a tool or technology  —  that is not coaching at that point. I work all week, I’m preparing and kicking your ass. All of the sudden you see a piece of live video and you figure out, ‘Oh crap, that’s what he’s doing.’ And how fair is that?”

Rivera sounded a lot like Belichick in his remarks, with the Patriots head coach known for his appreciation for the history of the game and the continued changes of the league don’t seem like they sit well him.  We’ve heard his thoughts as they pertain to the rule changes with kickoffs, as well as his frustrations with some of the defensive restrictions.  He obviously liked the game where it was before a lot of these changes were made.

It sounds like Rivera has a similar attitude, and he prefers to coach in a more traditional fashion, and he didn’t sound excited about the direction the game might have been going back when this topic initially came up.

“Where does it end?” Rivera told Clark. “Can you get text messages or go out there with an iPhone and figure out where to go? What are we creating? I know there are millennial players, but this is still a game created 100 years ago.”

However, tablet use on the sideline for instant replay is reportedly set to happen, which will likely affect challenges for the upcoming season.

It’s an interesting topic for a game that’s obviously evolved quite a bit over the years.   It’s hard not to wonder what the game will look like in 20 years after all the coaching greats have moved on, and how different it will look given all of the medical revelations that have emerged that have already sparked quite a few changes.

For now, from a technological standpoint, there at least won’t be this change for another year.  But what we do know is that while the league is constantly looking for ways to improve the game, it doesn’t sound like this idea has been very well received at all and that’s likely why it doesn’t seem like we’ll see it anytime soon.

Daily Notebook: Monday Patriots News and Notes 5/8

Ian Logue
May 8, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

It’s Monday, and after missing the final two days of last week thanks to some things that came up late last week, we’re back at it.   So here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.

Key Season Coming Up For Edelman – The Patriots have a crowded group of receivers heading into 2017 and one name that comes to mind when thinking about a player with a lot at stake this year is Julian Edelman, who will be a free-agent after this season.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been seven years since he came into the league after the Patriots drafted him back in 2009.  The former 7th round pick has far exceeded everyone’s expectations and when his time in New England eventually comes to an end, he’ll go down as one of the best stories when you think of his ascension to where he is now.

As a former quarterback out of Kent State, not many people knew what to expect after the Patriots selected him.  But after moving to receiver and seeing time in the return game, he showed signs of what he was capable of.  He broke his arm during his rookie season and gutted it out down the stretch and stepped up in place of Wes Welker, who suffered a knee injury in the season finale.  He first showed a glimpse of his potential after he came up big in that contest when he caught 10 passes for 103 yards.  But it was his performance in 2011 that was most impressive after he jumped over onto the other side of the ball and played defensive back during a season where the Patriots’ secondary were decimated by injuries.  One of his biggest performances came in a win against the Eagles that season, where he made a touchdown-saving tackle against Vince Young on one drive, and followed it up with a big hit on the quarterback later in the game that saw Young’s target just off the mark.

He was a key to the Patriots getting to the Super Bowl that year, finishing the season with 13 tackles as well as that quarterback hit. He also played both ways in the postseason and played a big part on defense in their AFC Championship win.

After Welker departed via free agency following the 2012 season, it was expected that Danny Amendola would fill Welker’s role after he was signed in March of 2013.  However, one thing that was forgotten from that offseason was the fact that the Patriots brought back Edelman on a 1-year deal one month later, and it ended up being Edelman who made the most of his opportunity.  He caught 105 passes for 1056 yards and six touchdowns that season, nearly doubling Amendola’s production (54 receptions for 633 yards, 2TDs) while emerging as Tom Brady’s key target. It’s essentially been that way ever since.


Edelman will be a free agent after this season.

It’s crazy to think that he was 23 when he started and Edelman’s now set to turn 31 two weeks from today.  It’s also a little concerning, primarily because it’s been such an amazing run and he’s been such a big part of it, that we’re at the point of seeing him move further into his 30s because it’s happened so fast that it seemingly came out of no where.

With the addition of Brandin Cooks this offseason, the signing of Chris Hogan during the last offseason, as well as the emergence of last year’s 4th round pick, Malcolm Mitchell, the Patriots already have a pretty good nucleus of players for the future at the receiver position.  That leaves both Edelman and Amendola as the two oldest of that group, which is amazing to think about considering how quickly the time has passed.

The hard part now is the fact that the duo are close friends and both players are closing in on a bad age for receivers, who typically start seeing a decline once they hit their early 30s.  Welker was 32 when he moved on from New England and he was essentially done two seasons later.  Possession receivers like Edelman and Welker are more susceptible to seeing their careers end quicker than perimeter players because they rely so much on their quickness to beat one-on-one coverage and get open, along with the hits they take inside being slot receivers. It’s well-documented that concussions played a role in the end of Welker’s career and Edelman has certainly taken a beating himself over the years.  Unlike Welker, Edelman seems like he’s avoided as many of the bigger hits and how long he lasts will hopefully depend more on his body than his brain.


Edelman and Amendola are good friends.

If he stays healthy and continues his trend of taking team-friendly deals to stay here, Edelman’s future will likely be in his own hands.  Amendola might be a little less lucky just due to sheer numbers, especially if another player emerges both at the receiver position and in the return game.  However, that’s a big risk for a team who definitely wouldn’t have hoisted two Lombardi trophies without him and it would be tough to imagine Amendola not being with the club this year.

However, the fact we’re even talking about this is a reminder that change does eventually occur, whether we like it or not. For Edelman, the fact he’s once again heading into the final year of his current deal further reinforces that notion because it will require another big year due to the incredible expectations he’s set for himself.  He’s done all the right things and we all know how close he and Brady are, so his training regimen seems to follow the things the veteran quarterback has been doing to keep his body in its best condition.  But he’s already been hampered by a foot injury after he fractured it two seasons ago, although he managed to get through 2016 seemingly without incident.

Not many guys come through here and make the impact that Edelman has and he’s been an incredible story during his time as a Patriot.  Needless to say, we’ll need to try and enjoy these final chapters because unfortunately, like Brady, he’s closer to the end than any of us would like to admit.

No McCourty Brothers Here in New England? – One of the things that came up after Jason McCourty was released by the Titans was whether or not there was the potential for McCourty to end up joining his brother, Devin, here in New England.

As Mike Reiss of ESPN pointed out on Sunday, the former Titan remains a free agent and has yet to make a decision as it pertains to where he’ll be playing this season.

But one of the most interesting things that came out of those initial reports, which we referenced here previously, were comments that came from Devin as the rumors of the two potentially playing together were discussed locally.  Devin said that while the possibility would be a fun opportunity, it all comes down to the right situation that would see Jason be a full-time player and not a role-player.

“Like I’ve said before, we’ve loved to play together, but I think first and foremost, he has to do what’s kind of right for his family and where he could actually play and be out there playing,” Devin McCourty told CSNNE last month via the Boston Herald. He’s not at the point in his career where he just wants to sit on the bench. He wants to get a chance to get out there and compete.”

Now, to add some context, that was said prior to Malcolm Butler signing his tender, and also prior to the draft.  With Butler remaining on the roster after no trade came to fruition during draft weekend, all indications are now starting to point to the veteran being on the field for the Patriots in 2017.  That obviously leaves them with a pretty talented secondary given the addition of newcomer Stephon Gilmore, along with Eric Rowe, who played well down the stretch last season.

As a result, barring injuries, this might not be the opportunity McCourty was hoping for and the timing doesn’t seem to be quite right for the two to finally get to play together.  As nice as it would be for their mother to have one stadium to visit this season, it’s looking more and more like they’ll be on separate teams this season.


Garcia brings some attitude to New England’s offensive line.

Garcia Brings an Attitude To New England’s Offensive Line – Another piece that stood out from Sunday was an article from Karen Guregian from the Boston Herald focusing on rookie offensive tackle Antonio Garcia, who seems to have a trait that would certainly be welcomed to a group that played much better in 2016.

Guregian caught up with his former offensive line coach at Troy, Matt Moore, who admitted that one area they had to focus on was the fact sometimes he went a little too hard at practice.

“The only time I’ve had to call Tony out and really have to get on him, is when we’d be practicing, and he would dump our players,” Moore said. “He’d be blocking a guy, and then twist him and throw him to the ground. That’s what you want, but at the same time, you have to take care of each other.”

Moore said that the tenacity Garcia has shown is definitely something that has stood out, and he’s consistently been a player who plays hard on every snap.  That will likely be something that should be music to the ears of Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who is no stranger to pushing guys and demanding their best.  According to Moore, it sounds like he’s going to get just that from Garcia.

“He plays the game with a lot of passion. He’s really physical. He really wants to finish blocks,” Moore said. “Being a small guy growing up, he’s always had that meanness and tenacity. And that’s stayed with him as he’s grown. He always plays hungry. He plays really hard . . . I wish I had to pull all my guys back a little bit.”

It certainly explains why the Patriots moved up 11 spots to get him.  It’s things like this that are always fun to hear, and yet another reason to be excited to see what the rookie brings when camp eventually opens.


Handing out Super Bowl rings is something Kraft looks forward to.

Rings Set to Be Handed Out Next Month – According to Mike Reiss, invitations were sent out to the players recently and the team will be handing out the Super Bowl LI rings on June 9th, which should be a lot of fun to watch thanks to the joy of social media.

Two years ago when the players got them, we saw Brady wearing all four rings and it was great to see the players enjoy what was certainly a hard-fought performance in their win over Seattle.  Even more impressive was the fact they stayed focused during a challenging stretch leading up to that game, which saw them deal with the DeflateGate accusations following their AFC Championship win over the Colts.

This season essentially saw them come full circle after Brady served his four game suspension, only to come back and go 12-1 in the regular season before running off three more wins, including a historic comeback over the Falcons to win his fifth championship.

The last time they held one of these events, Kraft said that it’s one of his favorite moments.

“I have been blessed to host four Super Bowl ring ceremonies, and just like the rings we present, we have tried to make each ceremony a little bigger and a little better than the one before,” Kraft said in a statement released at the time. “Football is the consummate team sport. These championship rings represent all that the team endured and overcame together. The players on this team will forever be bound by the memories this ring represents.”

“The presentation of the rings is one of my favorite moments. I love watching the expressions on the faces of each of our players and the range of emotions they experience when they see the ring for the first time and the pride they all have when they put it on. Tonight’s celebration is really a culmination of a job well done.”

We’ll see if this year’s ceremony is even “bigger and a little better” as well.

Best Wishes to Kirk Minihane – Last week we took WEEI’s Kirk Minihane to task here for his comments toward Julian Edelman and Tom Brady during a couple of segments where he made some questionable statements about the two players.

However, while Minihane might be known for his shtick as it pertains to his on-air personality, it doesn’t change the fact that off-air he’s still a person like everyone else and obviously deals with the same trials and tribulations that many of us often do.

Unfortunately, last week, he dealt with one of the most difficult after it was announced on air by his co-host, Gerry Callahan, that Minihane’s father recently passed away due to an illness. He missed time at the end of the week and Callahan finally let everyone know why his co-host was absent, which he revealed that Minihane had sadly been quietly dealing with this for a while.

From all of us at PatsFans.com, our thoughts go out to Minihane and his family.

Daily Notebook: Tuesday Patriots News and Notes 5/2

Ian Logue
May 2, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

We’re on to Tuesday, and here’s a quick look at today’s top stories.

Rivers Has Local Ties – Much was made of the fact the Patriots took Derek Rivers out of a small school like Youngstown (Ohio) State University in the third-round this past weekend, but looking closer, the defensive end also is a native New Englander with local ties.

He was actually born in Augusta, Maine, although he was raised in North Carolina.  But this weekend his mom, Mary Leinonen, sat with her son and their family, many of whom still live in New England, while they held a draft party in South Carolina.  According to the Kennebec Sentinal, as Rivers finished without having been drafted in the second round, he apparently began getting nervous.

However, it wasn’t long before the phone eventually rang and when his mom found out where he was headed, she was excited.

“He whispered to me, ‘Patriots,’ and I did a little jig,” she told the newspaper.

But for the next few minutes, they reportedly managed to hold it together in front of their family, who was unaware of the call and got to experience the jubilation of his selection as his name came across the television.

“I didn’t really care what team he went to. He didn’t care, either, he just wanted the chance,” Leinonen said. “The Patriots was a nice surprise. I went to a (Patriots) game when I was 7 and Steve Grogan was the quarterback.”

Now that Rivers has realized his dream, hopefully the next trip to Foxboro will be even more memorable for Leinonen.

For now, Rivers will take his next step this weekend when mini-camp begins.

Belichick Got Right to the Point With Wise Jr. – Watching the video on Patriots.com of what went on when the Patriots made the selection of Deatrich Wise Jr. in round four over the weekend showed that Bill Belichick doesn’t mince words and gets right to the point when it comes to telling a player they’re about to become a Patriot.

When it came to selecting Wise Jr., it was Berj Najarian, who is listed as director of football/head coach administration on his Linkedin page, who was the one who made the initial call to get Wise Jr. on the phone.  From there it was Belichick, looking relaxed while dressed in khaki shorts and a blue buttoned down short-sleeved shirt, who stood up and walked across the room with a focused look on his face to take the phone from Najarian to speak to the rookie.

There was a quick greeting by Belichick after Najarian handed him the phone, and from there, the Patriots head coach delivered the news.

“We’re about ready to make you a Patriot here,” said Belichick.  “Houston, they’re going to pick, then we’re going to select you.  So, congratulations.”

Done.

On the other end, Wise Jr. said the whole experience was definitely one he won’t forget.

“It was exciting,” said Wise Jr.  “Once I got that phone call it got real quiet, and then once my name went across the screen my family, my girlfriend, my friends around me just jumped for joy. It was a very joyful moment.”

Should Wise Jr. go on to have a terrific career in the NFL, it’s funny how that moment was the opening line in what the Arkansas standout is likely hoping will be a book with many chapters.  With rookie mini camp looming and OTAs not far behind, he’ll be getting started with that next step soon enough.


Wise Jr. seems to have the right attitude and should fit in well.

Wise Jr. Fit the Mold in Arkansas – Another note on Wise Jr. that was pretty interesting.  According to SECCountry.com, it’s worth noting that Wise joined Jeremy Sprinkle as a player who was just a 3-star recruit, which left them with limited options since neither player was highly-touted.

But after ending up in Arkansas, despite the doubters, it was the hard work and dedication that really impressed his coaches, including head coach Bret Bielema, who said that having guys who are hard workers far eclipses having four or five star recruits.

“I believe in development,” Bielema said last spring via SECCountry.com. “We’re never going to have a sexy roster of 5-stars or 4-star (recruits). We’ve got a bunch of guys that like to go to work every day and want to develop.”

It’s a trait that, as we know, Bill Belichick looks for as well, which will also hopefully make Wise Jr. a good fit here in New England.


Fans haven’t even gotten to see Cooks in action in New England yet.

King Calls Cooks Deal the “Trade of the Draft” – While the Patriots only came away with four draft picks this weekend, it’s hard not to remember that one of the deals they made could become one of the biggest of the offseason, especially when the time comes for fans to get a glimpse of what the pairing of Tom Brady and former Saints receiver Brandin Cooks will look like.

In his Monday Morning Quarterback piece, MMQB writer Peter King touched on the topic and called the acquisition of Cooks from New Orleans for the 32 overall pick the “Trade of the Draft”.

“Cooks is 23, has averaged 72 catches a year in his first three NFL seasons, plays tougher than he looks, and will play for the next two years for a total of $10 million. What’s not to like?” wrote King.  “And if you’re the Saints, you feel you’ve gotten in Ryan Ramczyk a guy who’s likely going to be a starting tackle for you soon—maybe this year—and it’s unlikely they’d have signed Cooks long-term after 2018. So from each team’s perspective, it’s a good deal.”

As for the Patriots, the first media sessions will be coming soon when the team opens up sessions on a limited basis.

First-round talent tends to sometimes be a gamble and the move for Cooks is certainly less risky than taking a chance on an unknown player.  It remains as a great move by a Patriots team that is now that much deeper with him on the roster and hopefully if all goes well, he’ll also make their offense that much better.

Three Games to Glory V is Now Available! – One of the best parts about when New England wins a championship is the fact that the team releases a video with plenty of behind the scenes footage, along with unique film from NFL Films documenting what was certainly an incredible playoff run.

Now that it’s finally May 2nd, today happens to be the day that the fifth edition of Three Games to Glory is released, commemorating New England’s Super Bowl championship run and documenting the journey through the playoffs through their historic come-from-behind win over the Falcons.

It’s finally available, and the team has been teasing the video for a while now and if you’ve seen any of the footage, it definitely brings back chills experiencing some of the terrific moments from the 2016 postseason all over again.

Coming off of Draft Weekend, the timing is certainly perfect as most of us are already fired up for the upcoming season. has it on sale on both DVD and BluRay and you can also support our own Miguel Benzan’s charity by selecting “Bread of Life” through Amazon.com’s smile program when you order.

Former Patriots TE Hernandez Found Dead in Apparent Suicide

Ian Logue
April 19, 2017 at 8:36 am ET

His name hasn’t been mentioned here since being charged with murder several years ago, but it looks like former Patriots tight end, Aaron Hernandez, has seen his story has come to a shocking end.

According to a statement released by Massachusetts prison officials, the 27-year old was found in his cell shortly after 3 a.m. hung by a bed sheet that he had attached to his window, and had also jammed his door with “various items”.

This comes just days after he had been acquitted on two murder charges and his attorney had appeared on WEEI feeling very confident he would be able to overturn the original conviction that had Hernandez serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of Odin Lloyd.

His death comes on the same day the Patriots will visit the White House, with spokesperson Stacey James telling ESPN, “We are aware of the reports, but I don’t anticipate that we will be commenting today.”

Daily Notebook: Tuesday Patriots News and Notes 4/18

Ian Logue
April 18, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Here are today’s top stories:

Stars Missing From Day One of Voluntary Workouts – There were a couple of notable names missing from the team’s first day of voluntary workouts on Monday, but it sounds like it will be a short absence.

According to CSNNE’s Tom Curran, Tom Brady and Malcolm Butler were missing from the team’s first day of the voluntary offseason sessions but Brady is reportedly expected to be back in the building today after returning from a family vacation.

As for Butler, Curran reports that he’s in the middle of spending time celebrating a birthday with his family, and he’s also expected to be back in Foxboro this week.

The news about Butler’s attendance later this week is encouraging, especially given the uncertainty surrounding his status for the upcoming season.  He’s currently coming up on the April 21st deadline for him to sign an offer sheet with another team, which would seem unlikely at this point.  The only question is going to be whether or not he signs his current tender before the draft, which would then either open up the opportunity for him to be traded, or for him to hopefully simply play in New England in 2017.

But, for now, the fact that he’ll be there soon is definitely a step in the right direction.


It will likely take quite a bit to pry Butler loose from New England.

GM Speculates on Price For Butler – While there has been quite a bit of talk about what it would take for the Patriots to consummate a trade for Butler, one NFL GM speculated on what New Orleans would need to give up in order to get a deal done to land the veteran cornerback.

Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik said during a piece on ESPN Insider that it will take more than the Patriots former 32nd overall pick to pry Butler away from New England.

“Right now, New Orleans owns the 11th overall pick and the Patriots’ first-rounder (32nd overall) after the Brandin Cooks trade,” wrote Dominik.  “New England, meanwhile, doesn’t have a selection in the first two rounds of the draft. The Patriots appear to be open to trading Butler, who’s one year away from hitting unrestricted free agency, if they can recoup a first-rounder. The issue: New England doesn’t want its 32nd pick back in return for Butler, and New Orleans doesn’t want to deal the 11th. The only way this deal gets done is if the Saints trade down from 11 to somewhere around picks 16-19. That could be a nice middle ground for each team. I don’t think any teams other than the Saints are interested in Butler at the moment. This is certainly a situation to watch on draft night.”

He also believes that a deal for Garoppolo is “just not going to happen” because the Patriots see the value at quarterback that the former Eastern Iliinois standout brings as insurance if something happened to Brady and “you don’t just get rid of guys like that.”

Certainly an interesting perspective from someone in the right position.  We’ll have to see how it plays out in the coming weeks since if a deal doesn’t get done, the signs only further point to Butler sticking round.

White House Visit On Tap – The Patriots will be visiting our nation’s capital on Wednesday, which is obviously one of the perks of winning a championship. However, as we know, there will be a few players missing when the time comes.

Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty and Chris Long are among those who aren’t expected to attend, with LeGarrette Blount, Martellus Bennett and Alan Branch rounding out a list of six who had already expressed their decision to skip this one.

Devin McCourty expressed his opinion on the matter in the above video, saying that he knew right away that he wasn’t going.

“For me it was simple. I don’t believe in excluding other people,” McCourty said. “Right away, I know I wasn’t going because it was something I thought about before we even won the game.”

Brady, who is expected to be on hand Wednesday, previously said that while he missed the one in 2014 due to scheduling, politics haven’t ever come to mind.

“Putting politics aside it never really was a political thing — at least it never was for me,” said Brady. “It was just always something that was a privilege to be able to do because it really meant you won a championship and you got to experience something cool with your team and your teammates.”

“Everyone has their own choice,” Brady added. “It’s an offseason and these days are valuable for everybody. You only get so much time with your family and friends. If people don’t wanna go, they don’t wanna go, and that’s their choice.”


McCourty is hopeful he and Butler will be together in 2017.

McCourty to Butler: “Do What’s Best For Yourself” – McCourty was asked about Butler on CSNNE’s Quick Slants, with the veteran safety saying that he hopes to see his teammate back, but that Butler needs to be the one to make that decision.

“The thing is, with us, we’re all close enough that we don’t have to tell anybody we want them back,” McCourty said. “Everybody knows how much we enjoy playing with each other. I just tell him . . . ‘Do what’s best for yourself, whether that’s back here — which I would love — or if it’s somewhere else I’m not going to hate you forever.”

“You gotta understand, man, this business, contract-wise it’s individual-based. The secondary doesn’t get paid for one guy’s contract. It’s just your contract. So you always have to look out for what’s best for you and your family.”

McCourty did say that he expects Butler to be back.

“I expect him to be back, probably,” said McCourty.  “Obviously I don’t know. I haven’t really had any contact with anyone other than just laughing and joking text messages. We’ll see what happens. Exciting time. I always tell people if other teams want you and your team wants you it’s a good thing. He just has to have fun and enjoy it.”

Daily Notebook: Friday Patriots News and Notes 4/14

Ian Logue
April 14, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

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

Dual McCourtys in the Secondary? – Jason McCourty was once a player the Patriots explored acquiring when trade rumors surfaced a couple of years ago, which seemingly had him as a potential Patriot.  That never happened because McCourty was a member of the Titans and it never came to be.

However, Thursday’s news of his release by Tennessee sparked a lot of discussion from people hoping that his newfound freedom could make the possibility of joining New England become more of a reality.  Given some of the turmoil in the secondary with the departure of Logan Ryan and the uncertainty surrounding Malcolm Butler, the addition of a player of his caliber certainly couldn’t hurt.

McCourty played relatively well last season, finishing second on the team in tackles with 69, along with two interceptions and 12 passes defensed.  The reason for the Titans releasing him seemed to stem from an issue likely due to the fact his contract needed to be restructured thanks to the fact he was due to make $7 million this season, which was the final year of the five-year extension he signed back in 2012.

Instead, they’ll part ways, which will now leave everyone wondering where his next stop will be.

Back in 2015 when the rumors about the two being reunited first came up, his brother admitted that it might happen eventually.

“I missed the rumors, I was in a meeting yesterday,” Devin McCourty said at the time via MassLive.com. “No, it was funny just hearing about it. So someday we’ll play together — just not this year.”

Will 2017 be the year it finally does?  Stay tuned.


Thanks to one fan, Brady got his Super Bowl Jerseys back.

Fan Who Helped Recovered Jerseys Invited to Opener – Dylan Wagner probably had no idea what a big story he would become thanks to his keen eye in helping solve the mystery of the stolen Tom Brady Super Bowl jerseys, but he apparently got some good news this week.

According to CBS Boston, the 18-year old found himself the recipient of a special invitation from Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who invited him to the home opener this season.

He told I-Team Chief Investigative reporter Cheryl Fiandaca via Skype that it was certainly a call that left him speechless.

“Dylan, this is Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots,” Kraft apparently said in the message. “I just want to thank you for the great role you played in helping us get Tommy’s jerseys back.”

Wagner had previously mentioned that he had hoped to one day meet Brady in person.  Kraft didn’t confirm it would happen, but the possibility seems to be there.  It’s certainly well-deserved considering he helped recover two jerseys that came from two historic wins for the veteran quarterback.

“Hopefully it will happen,” said Wagner. “He [Kraft] said maybe I’ll get to meet some people and he kind of left it at that but it’s pretty open ended. I think that’s hinting at meeting Brady at the home opener,” he said.

And hopefully, for his sake, he’ll get his wish.

Patriots Exploring the Restricted Market – The Patriots are always exploring their options, and given the success they found by stealing away Chris Hogan last season, it looks like they’re kicking the tires on a few others.

According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, New England hosted three current restricted players who have yet to sign their tenders, with defensive end Kerry Wynn and running backs Mike Gillislee and Damien Williams each visiting Foxboro.

Wynn is the obvious one that stands out, especially when you take into account the need they have at that position.  Wynn’s best season was his rookie year back in 2014 when he joined New York as an undrafted free agent.  He played just five games but totaled 1.5 sacks including an interception.

Since then he’s played in 29 games with 65 tackles along with two passes defensed and half a sack.  At 6’5″, 264-pounds he’s got the physical attributes that the Patriots look for and he’s definitely an intriguing prospect.  He’s currently tendered at the original round level, which means he’ll earn $1.797 should he sign his deal.  That seemingly opens an up an opportunity for New England to get creative and come up with a contract to steal him away if they really want him.

As for Gillslee and Williams, running back is obviously still a need and the prospect of raiding the roster of a fellow AFC East rival is always something that’s enjoyable if it makes New England better and hurts an opponent they face twice per season.

Both players are similar in size and it was Gillislee who at 5’11”,  219-pounds, had the more productive year last year after scoring 8 touchdowns, as well as breaking off 8 runs of 20 or more, including one of over 40 after he carried the ball 101 times for 577 yards in 2016.

Williams, meanwhile, is a little heavier at 5’11”, 228-pounds carried 35 times for 115 yards with three touchdowns.

For now the Patriots continue doing their due diligence, and we’ll have to wait and see if one of these players sees them make a move to take them away from their respective teams.

Belichick Surprising Open With CNBC – It’s not often you get to hear what Bill Belichick really thinks, but he was surprisingly candid in a recent interview with CNBC’s Suzy Welch.

The Patriots head coach was asked a variety of questions during a 16-minute segment, as he sat in Mission Barbeque, a restaurant in Annapolis Maryland, which Belichick called “home”.

One reason why that venue means so much to Belichick is for the incredible support they give those who serve the country.

“Well, first of all, I love Annapolis, this is home,” said Belichick.  “I love what Mission Barbeque stands for.  I love their message, the fact they support the people that serve.  When I was here last night, they were packing up a few hundred pounds of their barbecue to ship off to Iraq.”

Within the restaurant there’s a sign that read, “Every Battle is Won Before It is Fought”, which is one of the signs that hangs in the Patriots’ locker room.

Welch asked him about that, and Belichick said there are some similarities.

“Sun Tzu, Art of War, it’s all about preparation.  You know what you’re doing and you have an idea of what the opponents can do, what their strengths and weaknesses are. Then once you get into the game, then those adjustments will be, I won’t say easy, but relatively easy or more manageable.”

One of the more interesting points was when Belichick was asked about the Super Bowl and if he ever felt they might lose.

“It was funny, this was one of those game where we didn’t have control of the score, but I didn’t feel like we had lost control of the game,” said Belichick.  “We could move the ball, we were able to stop them on third down.  We were able to do things, but the scoreboard was very much against us.  As long as there was still time, I thought we had a chance.”

What did it feel like?

“Close to a miracle.”

There’s a ton more, so be sure and check it out below:

Dolphins WR Predicts Sweep Over Patriots in 2017

Ian Logue
April 12, 2017 at 10:19 am ET

The Dolphins might be a team on the rise, but it sounds like one of their player’s heads might be growing a little quicker than it should be.

While Miami’s trip to the postseason last year ended in an embarrassing loss, that hasn’t stopped one player from already dropping some bulletin board material for the Patriots locker room.

Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry told MMQB’s Peter King that he expects Miami to sweep New England in 2017, which is certainly a bold statement for a team that has yet to put a consistent performance together against them.

“If you’re a competitor, that’s the way you should feel, and I don’t mind saying it,” Landry told King via MMQB.com. “It’s time for a change. I have all the respect in the world for the Patriots, and I respect Tom Brady tremendously. But they’re not our big brother anymore.”


The Dolphins haven’t swept the Patriots since 2000.

Landry has had success against New England, having had some solid outings over the last two seasons in each of their last four meetings.

2015 Week 7: 6 receptions, 71yds
2015 Week 16: 6 receptions, 72yds
2016 Week 2: 10 receptions, 135yds
2016 Week 16: 9 receptions, 76yds 1TD

However, he’s just one player and it will take other guys to step up around him in order to be able to overtake New England.

Should Miami pull off Landry’s claim, it would be the first time the Dolphins swept New England since all the way back in 2000.  They also swept the Patriots in 1999, but since Tom Brady took over, Miami has had a tough run against them.  New England has swept the series six times, having done so in 2003, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016.  The Patriots also put together quite a winning streak against them, going 7-0 at one point from 10/4/2010 – 10/27/2013.

Needless to say, Landry might want to pump the brakes a bit before he writes a check his teammates might not be able to help him cash.

Daily Notebook: Tuesday Patriots News and Notes 4/11

Ian Logue
April 11, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

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

Patriots Open the Preseason Against Jacksonville – The exhibition season will kick off a little differently this season, with New England squaring off against the Jaguars as they start getting ready for the 2017 season.

According to the schedule released by the team on Monday, it will be the Jaguars visiting Foxboro in Week 1 of the preseason, followed by back-to-back road games in Houston and Detroit.

They’ll close the preseason at home against the Giants, because, of course, every Patriots fan enjoys having that team shoved in our faces before the start of every season.

One question that will be interesting will be who the Patriots might hold joint practices with.  The Texans and Lions would seem to make the most sense given the ties between the two clubs, although Belichick being able to get some work in at home during the Week 1 meeting against Jacksonville. It might also be a welcomed opportunity for first-year Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone as he looks to turn around a franchise that is in dire need of finally taking a step forward, and the prospect of getting a closer look at how New England operates certainly couldn’t hurt.

Speaking of Jacksonville, Monday’s news has already sparked discussions down in Northeast Florida about how it will be an early barometer of where the Jaguars are in comparison to the defending Super Bowl Champions.  According to ESPN’s Michael DiRocco, the biggest thing on the minds of Jaguars fans will also be seeing whether or not the offseason work that quarterback Blake Bortles has put in during his time at the 3DQB facility in California will translate into better mechanics, or if he’ll just revert back to his old habits during game action.

Meanwhile, one thing that may become a sore point this season might end up being the media covering the Patriots scrutinizing the play of both Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo as the 40-year old Brady will likely be analyzed all season long for those who are anxiously awaiting the drop off they’ve been expecting.  After all, what better way is there to predict that than by over-analyzing preseason football?  You can bet we’ll likely find out what we’re in for this season, and don’t be surprised if some of that talk begins to surface should Garoppolo put up big numbers against their opponent’s second (or third)-stringers over the course of those four meaningless games.

Gotta love the preseason.


Alan Branch is back in the fold, which is good news for the Patriots’ defense.

Branch & Fleming Officially Back in the Fold – The Patriots announced two important signings on Monday, with both players being key members of the team on each side of the ball.

Both defensive tackle Alan Branch and offensive lineman Cameron Fleming are back in the mix, which is good news for a Patriots team who now heads into 2017 with two solid players anchoring important positions as New England gets set to try to repeat as champions.

Branch’s signing stands out, especially considering how effective he was down the stretch after quietly emerging as one of the Patriots’ most important players on their defensive line.  He’s been that way since he got here, amassing 96 tackles, 2.5 sacks and three forced fumbles through 39 games as a Patriot.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but CSNNE’s MIke Giardi reported last month that the two sides were working toward a possible 2-year extension.

As for Fleming, the restricted free agent was part of a much improved offensive line in 2016, with Fleming having appeared in all 16 regular season games last season, including five starts.  He was also a part of each of New England’s three postseason wins, with Cameron also playing four snaps at tackle and three on special teams during the Patriots historical Super Bowl victory over Atlanta.

Lynch Interested in Playing in New England? – Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald had one of the more interesting reports on Monday, with Howe reporting that Marshawn Lynch has an interest in playing for the Patriots in the event things don’t work out with the Raiders.

Oakland/Las Vegas reportedly appear to be the front-runners for his services, but according to Howe if things don’t work out, Lynch would be open to coming to New England.

Lynch sat out all of 2016 and at this point Seattle still controls his rights.  For the veteran running back to have a chance to play elsewhere, he would have to unretire and then hope the Seahawks either release him or trade him to his potential landing spot.

Sending him to New England would be an interesting move, especially being as it was the Patriots keeping him out of the end zone before Malcolm Butler made history that began a run of tough luck for Lynch.   His final season saw him battle a rough run of injuries, and the Seahawks gave his carries to rookie Thomas Rawls.

As a result, one year after leading the league in touchdowns and being inches away from winning his second championship, Lynch tweeted a photo of his cleats hanging from telephone wires, which was essentially him telling the world about his retirement decision.

However, those hoping to see Lynch land in New England need to understand that it will require the Raiders to botch this up as the 30-year old grew up in Oakland and has incredibly strong ties to the area.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated last year, Lynch talked about where he grew up and the park where he and his friends would get together and play.  It’s the home that’s part of his history, and you can tell it’s still a place that’s close to his heart.

“We’ll start from the ground. When you look on the ground, you might see some needles,” said Lynch in his interview of the playground his friends spent time together growing up in a rough neighborhood.   “You might see some Pyrex [the cookware commonly used for making crack cocaine]—you know what I’m sayin’, Dawg? There was a lotta drugs. And if you lift your head up and open your eyes, you might see a prostitute walkin’. . . . What I would call real life, man. It wasn’t no bells and whistles.”

Lynch admitted that the area has changed quite a bit but all people need is a chance.

“I don’t have no problem with the change,” referring to how it’s tough to recognize where he grew up. “Just give Oakland people—real Oakland people—our opportunity. Why not?”

Needless to say, the odds seem to favor Lynch lining up behind Derek Carr in 2017 and not Tom Brady.  Nevertheless, it’s yet another interesting storyline to an offseason that has been anything other than boring.


Chung was among players punished by the league.

Chung Among Players Fined in Arm-Wrestling-Gate – The NFL continues to become more hypocritical and Monday’s news that Patrick Chung will be fined for his participation in the Pro Football Arm Wrestling Championship last week at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is just ridiculous.

Chung was among 30 current and former players who took part in the 3-day tournament, where the winners in the championship would have been presented with a fund from which those players could have made donations to a charity of their choice.

Instead, the league, which will soon feature a franchise in a city where gambling is legal and slot machines are everywhere including the airport, is punishing the players due to their policy which strictly prohibits players from taking part in promotional events at casinos.

The fact they continue to enforce this policy and are doing so in a manner that also prevents charitable actions is a little bizarre, especially considering what a franchise full of players will soon find themselves up against.  They’re going to be very limited in terms of marketing opportunities in the local community, especially given that unlike in New England, or elsewhere for that matter where gambling tends to be quite limited, escaping a slot machine in most well-known event places in Vegas is nearly impossible.

There’s no doubt that the league has to be wary of gambling interfering with the “integrity” of the game, but the blanket policy prohibiting events like this in Las Vegas are likely going to become a problem down the road given the investment the city is about to put up to make an NFL franchise a reality there.

Obviously there’s no easy answer but it’s safe to say an Arm Wrestling Event for charity shouldn’t be among the bylaws for a league that should have been appreciating the positive publicity it would have received.

The bigger issue here might have been potential injuries by the players who participated, which could have been a problem for the teams who may or may not have sanctioned that player taking part in the event.  That seemingly would have been a bigger issue, yet the threat of a potential arm/shoulder injury surprisingly was never mentioned in this story.

Instead it’s a reminder that the fine lines within the NFL’s policies remain blurry, and given what lies ahead, one would have to believe there will certainly be more frustrating situations like this one in still to come in the future.

New England Patriots Draft Profile Florida Atlantic DE Trey Hendrickson

Steve Balestrieri
April 5, 2017 at 6:00 am ET

As the 2017 NFL Draft draws closer we’ll profile some of the players that may be on the Patriots radar or that we feel would be a great fit.

The Patriots are thin at defensive end; Jabaal Sheard has left via free agency and Chris Long has said that he isn’t coming back in 2017. The team did pick up Kony Ealy from the Carolina Panthers in a trade. That leaves him, Trey Flowers, Rob Ninkovich, and Geneo Grissom. Flowers came on and was fantastic down the stretch and into the playoffs. Ninkovich seems to be on the downside of a very solid career here in New England. Grissom was strictly a STs guy. So, they’ll need to add some depth.

Edge rushers are like cornerbacks, you can never have too many good ones and the team is expecting Flowers to continue to improve on his 2016 season. Ealy has flashed and had an incredible Super Bowl with Carolina but hasn’t been able to do it consistently. The Patriots will have plenty of options but as of today, they don’t pick until the third round.

Trey Hendrickson from Florida Atlantic is a 6’4, 266-pound defensive end that has shown good production despite opponents keying on him. League coaches named him first-team All-Conference-USA in 2015 – 2016. He had excellent production in his final campaign with 51 tackles, 15 for loss, 9.5 sacks.

He’s quick of the snap and shows good bend on the edge. He has strong hands and uses a club move to gain the edge and arm extension move to convert speed to power. Hendrickson has very good lateral quickness and had outstanding times in the 20-yard shuttle as well as the 60-yard shuttle as well as a good time in the 3-Cone Drill.

He’s good at jarring the ball free and forced four fumbles in his final season at Florida Atlantic. He shined at the East – West Shrine Game and was named as the game’s most outstanding defensive player.

Pros:

– Very good production with 23 sacks the past two seasons

– Quick off the snap and explosiveness off the edge

– Good hands and plays sideline to sideline

– Versatile, can play either DE or OLB

Cons

– Lean lower half of his body

– Arms a bit short for a DE, may fit best as a 3-4 OLB

– Can get too tall at times allowing blockers to get under his pads

What his Role Will Be:
Hendrickson’s role would be to be a part of the rotation for the Patriots on the edge as a sub-package pass rusher. He could be asked to drop into coverage a bit as well.

Will his Role Change from Year 1-2?
Yes, with time to get a bit stronger in the strength and conditioning program, he could develop into a premium pass rusher and become an every down player.

How Many Downs Can He Play?
Three

What Current Player on the Roster Will He Replace?
Geneo Grissom, Hendrickson will become a Special Teams standout player early. He will earn his reps there and in sub-packages. But with a strong summer, he may push for some reps defensively early

What is his ST Value?
Excellent. Blocked a punt, two field goals and an extra point in 2016.

Conclusion:
Hendrickson is a player that won’t be denied, he has the mentality that the coaches love and look for. He does a good job of setting the edge in the running game although he will need to beef up a little at the NFL level.

Scouts were focusing on his arm length and lack of dynamic pass rush ability until the East – West Shrine Game where he turned some heads with strong play all week. He has the positional versatility to play either as a defensive end with his hand in the dirt or as an outside linebacker. He hasn’t had much experience playing standing up and that may take some getting used to if the team feels he’s best suited there.

In our opinion, this kid can play defensive end and be a productive one. He’ll start out as a Special Teams and sub-package pass rusher specialist but he has the ability to become a true three-down player. His versatility to play multiple positions and be a key contributor in Special Teams will resonate with Bill Belichick.

Hendrickson is slated to go somewhere between Rounds 3 and 4 in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Patriots will be looking to add a couple of edge rushers this spring and if he’s on the board when they are on the clock, he’d be a nice fit for the Patriots defense. He has the mentality, the drive to succeed at the next level.

Hendrickson’s highlight tape can be seen here:

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.