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Daily Notebook: Tuesday Patriots News and Notes 6/13

Ian Logue
June 13, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Here’s a look at today’s top stories.

Amendola Gives Insight on Being a Patriot – Danny Amendola has arguably been one of the most important secret weapons during each of New England’s two championship runs, having quietly established himself as one of the more underated assets during his tenure with the club.

During a recent interview with Keith Gordon of Maxim magazine, Amendola offered up an opportunity to let fans in on some of the reasons why the Patriots have continued to be so successful. One of the things that Amendola talked about is that he doesn’t believe the average fan has any real idea just how hard they work every day.

“I wish the average football fan knew how much we run every day—it’s miles and miles of sprinting against the top athletes in the world, Monday to Friday,” explained Amendola during the interview.  “It seems all they want to talk about is fantasy football numbers and targets and catches. How about this: Go outside and try to keep up with the cars on the highway until you puke. And then do it again. And again. And again. Day after day. And then I’ll have your grade. I agree that they pay us well, but that’s why we do it and you don’t.”

Amendola also offered up his thoughts on what it’s like to play with someone like teammate and tight end Rob Gronkowski, who he enjoys watching embarrass opposing defenders when they’re on the field together.

“Gronk is one of the best teammates and best football players ever to walk the earth,” said Amendola. “He’s our heart and soul when he’s on the field, and he’s the hardest to defend. His football IQ is off the charts, and his athletic ability compares to that of LeBron or Messi. His ability to take over is comical to watch when he’s running by you on the field. He makes grown men quit.”

As for what it’s like to play for Belichick and whether or not the coach is all business all the time, Amendola admitted that there are times when Belichick lets himself enjoy the moment.

“Bill is always serious. Unless you’re at a winning Super Bowl after-party,” said Amendola. “Then he smiles.”

ESPN Predicts Patriots and Cowboys in Super Bowl 52 – While many here in New England believe the Patriots have a good shot at getting back to the Super Bowl, oddsmakers have apparently also made their opinion known about who will get there from the NFC.

According to ESPN.com, the oddsmakers at the Golden Nuggett are predicting that the Dallas Cowboys will join New England next February, establishing odds of 7-1.  The other favorite along with Dallas is Green Bay, with 8-1 odds.

As far as a rematch is concerned, the Golden Nuggett also has the Falcons in the mix to meet the Patriots again, but at 10-1 odds.

When it comes to winning another championship, the Patriots are 3-1 odds as the favorite to win it all.


Lewis faces some tough competition in training camp next month. (USA TODAY Images)

Despite Competition, Lewis Enjoyed Minicamp – Patriots running back Dion Lewis finds himself in a crowded backfield heading into training camp this year, but the prospect of competition hasn’t dampened his enjoyment on the field so far this offseason.

Lewis, who has looked strong through minicamp, admitted that competition is just part of the game and it comes with the territory.

“Every year there’s turnover in the NFL,” Lewis told the Providence Journal. “Every year, you’re in training camp with eight running backs, so it doesn’t matter who the names are who they bring in. You’ve only got to worry about how well you compete. You’ve got to be ready to compete. That’s all that really matters. You can’t think about who they bring in and why did they bring them in. You’ve got to compete against those guys and do the best you can and try to get yourself a role on the team.”

Lewis is coming off of a year where he finished with 283 yards rushing on 64 carries (4.4 average), along with 17 receptions for 94 yards during the regular season.  But he carried the football 25 times during the postseason for 79 yards along with a touchdown and also hauled in 5 passes for 33 yards and a touchdown out of the backfield.

As a result, Bill Belichick obviously knows what he’s capable of.  Despite the fact he brought in Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead this offseason, he put this group together to build competition but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s hopeful Lewis can go out and perform well when the club opens training camp next month.

“I think Dion’s building on his last however many weeks of the regular season it was last year — six or seven or whatever it was — and the playoffs, so he’s had a good offseason,” Belichick said via the Providence Journal. “He’s built on that. I mean, he really worked hard to get back for the end of last year, and then this year, he’s been able to improve on that. Again, anxious to see him in training camp, but he’s done a good job out here.”


Gronkowski has the perfect gift this father’s day. (USA TODAY Images)

Gronkowski’s Offers Up A Special Father’s Day Gift – Rob Gronkowski took part in a humorous campaign in advance of this year’s father’s day, with a video showing what he believes might be the perfect gift for his father, Gordon.

Gronkowski recently starred in a video for Oberto beef jerky, where he revealed the “Jerky Tie”, which is a tie made out of the company’s beef jerky that Gronkowski believes will make him the favorite among his brothers this year.

See the video below:

https://twitter.com/ObertoBeefJerky/status/874341182817652737

Wondering how to make your own?  Oberto posted instructions via their Facebook account to walk you through the process so you can be a hero with your own father.

Want to become your dad’s favorite child? Follow Gronk & Sherm’s lead and make him a #JerkyTie for Father’s Day. Share…

Posted by Oberto Beef Jerky on Monday, June 12, 2017

 

Daily Notebook: Monday Patriots News and Notes 6/12

Ian Logue
June 12, 2017 at 10:00 am ET

Here’s a quick look at today’s top stories.

NFL Paid For Patriots Blinged-Out-Rings – While Roger Goodell handing over the trophy to Tom Brady back in February was a little anti-climactic, the good news is the ring Brady put on his finger Friday night at least has a nice bit of satisfaction attached to it.

Aside from the fact the Super Bowl rings symbolize an incredible championship season, Fox Business revealed that the league paid the cost of the 283 diamond carrying rings (symbolizing the historic comeback from the 28-3 deficit they faced against Atlanta) that the players received at owner Robert Kraft’s house on Friday evening.  The league, as they do every year, covers the cost of up to 150 rings for each club, which included the ones handed out that night.

They also reported that the cost of the rings back in 2015 were approximately $36,500, which means if this year’s edition falls close to that, it cost the NFL about $5.5 million.

It was quite the party, which saw the return of Martellus Bennett and other players who have since moved on this past offseason.

The team also released a photo of Tom Brady wearing all five of his championship rings, as well as Bill Belichick wearing each of his.

Despite the four game suspension, as well as taking away a first round draft pick, the league did about all it could have to avoid that scenario.  Now, with a stacked group offensively and what might arguably be the best cornerback tandem in the league on the other side of the ball, the Patriots look like they’re poised to make yet another run heading into this season.

It’s likely a nightmare situation for a commissioner who tried as hard as he could to slow them down.  Unfortunately, this freight train in Foxboro looks like it will continue to roll on a bit longer, which might cost the league a bit more money yet again this time next year.

Gronk Runs Football Camp – Coming off of Friday night’s party, Gronkowski was back to work on Saturday morning while hosting his annual Citi Football Clinic at Connolly Memorial Stadium.

According to the Boston Herald, the veteran tight end played catch and spent time doing a little coaching with the hundreds of participants who were on hand, featuring children from grades 1 through 8.

Gronkowski told the newspaper this is something he enjoys doing and he’s glad it’s continued to grow.

“We are here at the pro camp and this is year number five or six and I keep forgetting because it is so many years in a row,” Gronkowski told the newspaper. “Every year it keeps getting bigger and keeps getting better and keeps getting more fun.

“It is just a blast out here throwing passes to the kids. I enjoy doing it, I enjoy throwing passes to all the kids and I’ve got family and friends that come out.”

Gronkowski said he’s feeling “great” and all indications seem to point to the veteran making a big return in 2017.


Gillislee said things are different here compared to under Ryan. (USA TODAY Images)

Gillislee On Bills vs Patriots: “We work a little harder” – Rex Ryan may not like hearing his former player talk about how things were done during Ryan’s coaching tenure in Buffalo, but newcomer Mike Gillislee can already feel the difference of what it’s like to be a member of the New England Patriots.

According to Gillislee, one thing that stands out is that the work ethic from top to bottom is much different here in New England compared to when he was with the Bills, and it’s consistent across the locker room.

“Nothing (negative) about Buffalo. It’s just here, we work hard,” Gillislee told the Boston Herald. “Each and every day we did that at Buffalo, but here the expectations are way higher. We work a little harder.”

Gillislee said that because that attitude permeates throughout each player on this football team, it’s infectious and forces everyone to be at their best.

“On this team, everybody that I’ve met, everybody that I see out here (is a leader),” Gillislee told the newspaper. “It’s just hard just to watch one person. Everybody that you watch is doing the right thing. That’s the great thing about this team.

“It leaves you no choice but to get better out here when you’re seeing everybody doing their job up to the capability that they can do it and playing at a high level. It gives you no choice but to play at that same level.”

Patriots Continue Exploring Kickers, Punters & Snappers – 

The Patriots are continuing to do their due diligence this offseason as it pertains to kickers and punters, as well as a long-snapper.

According to Mike Reiss, the Patriots had multiple players in for workouts last week, including punters Drew Butler and Spencer Lanning, along with kicker Adam Griffith and long snapper Cole Mazza, among others.

New England’s punting duties seem relatively set thanks to another solid year by Ryan Allen, but the fat the club continues looking at kickers could be a signal that Stephen Gostkowski might be on a shorter leash this season if his struggles from 2016 carry over into this season.

Gostkowski missed five field goals and three extra points during the regular season, including two from beyond 50-yards for the first time in his career.

The extra points were a point of frustration for Gostkowski during the regular season, and carried over into the postseason where he also missed two more, including one during the Super Bowl.

He got support from Belichick back in October when it was obvious he wasn’t quite right but at least got the backing of his coach at the time.

“Nobody works harder than Steve,” said Belichick after their win over the Steelers where Gostkowski missed an extra point for the second-straight week.  “Steve’s a very talented player. He’s mentally tough.”

“We’ll work through it. Again, this is a tough place to kick [referring to Heinz Field]. I’m not making any excuses but the kicker on the other side of the field had trouble too. But we have to have to make them.”

Hopefully after an offseason to reset, Gostkowski can bounce back in 2017.


Edelman and his father hope that he can finish his career in New England. (USA TODAY Images)

Edelman’s Dad Hopes His Son Can be “a Patriot for Life” – It’s been an emotional few months for Julian Edelman’s father, Frank, who watched his son play a key part in the team winning yet another championship thanks to an incredible clutch performance against Atlanta back in February.

Edelman, who has become a fan favorite both on and off the field, has come a long way from being a seventh-round pick out of Kent State and recently signed an extension to hopefully keep him around for at least a couple of more seasons. His father recently told Mike Reiss that both he and his son are hopeful that the receiver will finish his career in Boston, which will hopefully open up opportunities for him off the field down the road.

“Boston loves their athletes, and if you’re in, you’re in. Boston is also all about what Julian is; you just go to work and grind it out,” Frank told Reiss. “He loves Boston and everything about the Patriots. There are also a lot of off-field opportunities if you stay in Boston. We’d love to be a Patriot for life.”

There’s no question there’s a place for him after his career comes to a close. Locally, former players like Kevin Faulk, Troy Brown, Jermaine Wiggins, Tedy Bruschi, have each made careers for themselves in the media and someone as charismatic as Edelman will likely find a place for himself as well. He’s done a terrific job in social media and his off the field appearances, having built up his brand enough where he’ll likely have plenty of endorsement and marketing opportunities down the road.

That may explain why Edelman probably took a little less than he might have received on the open market to stick around, given that his value here is as high as it is. Winning helps keep it that way, and helping the Patriots win yet again next February will most certainly solidify his future.

Daily Notebook: Tuesday Patriots News and Notes 5/30

Ian Logue
May 30, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Hope all of you had a good holiday weekend and a safe Memorial Day.  As we get back to work, here’s a look at this morning’s latest headlines.

Ellis Picks Football Over a Medical Career – Playing football for the Patriots is an opportunity that players don’t take lightly and there’s one player on the current roster putting his off-the-field career on hold as he tries to make the most of his shot with this football team.

Linebacker Brooks Ellis came out of college as an undrafted prospect and he heads into this season as one of many hopefuls looking for a chance to realize his NFL dream.  According to CSNNE, Ellis has spent the last few years working hard to have a chance to become an orthopedic surgeon and has put that on the backburner as he fights with a competitive group to try and earn a role with the Patriots this season.

But despite being here in Foxboro trying to follow his dream, Ellis has admitted that he’s still moving forward with his academic process as a back-up plan in case things don’t work out.

“I’m putting my all into this right now,” Ellis told CSNNE last week. “But when I get some spare time, I’m finishing applications, and then when I get back in July I’m sending those in.

“If I get accepted somewhere, I’m going to tell them I need to defer until I know for sure what the football situation is going to be. So I’m all in on football, and just in case, I’m going to have that ready to go when I get out of it.”

It’s a great story among many, and the timing for Ellis is certainly in his favor as this is a linebacker group that as competitive as it is, could certainly see things work out for him if he plays at the level that he did in Arkansas.  He’s a smart and talented player and he seems focused at the task at hand.  Hopefully he makes the most of it.


Gilmore is settling in well with his new teammates.

Gilmore Working Against the Best – Working against one of the best quarterbacks in the game has to be beneficial to defensive players, which has likely played a part in the success for at least a few players in the secondary.

Newcomer Stephon Gilmore has only gotten to go up against Brady a couple of games a year but he’s already admitted that working against the future Hall of Fame quarterback has helped him.

“He practices like he plays,” Gilmore said last week via Doug Kyed of NESN.com. “He’s a good quarterback. He throws great balls. You really have to be tight on the receivers. It allows me to work on my game and make myself better.”

Gilmore admitted that he’s been impressed with how Brady handles himself and how much different things have been so far since he’s been here.

“He’s fun to go against,” Gilmore said of Brady. “He always has a chip on his shoulder, so he’s a great player.”

“It’s fun. He gets you better every day.”


Losing to the Patriots and Brady in the Super Bowl hasn’t sat well in Seattle.

Seahawks Still Haunted By Super Bowl Loss – With the third season coming up since the Patriots stunned Seattle in the closing seconds  of Super Bowl XLIX, it sounds like the loss still stings not only the fan base, but it’s still having a negative effect on the players in the locker room.

According to a recent article by ESPN’s Seth Wickersham that will be appearing in the upcoming edition of ESPN the Magazine, there’s still plenty of resentment by the players about the offensive final play call that saw the football end up in the hands of Malcolm Butler.  That play changed everything for Butler and the Patriots, and it’s seemingly destroyed Seattle’s future.

“If Russ had just thrown it low and away …,” one Seahawks staffer told Wickersham. Another former assistant coach also told him, “If we had just executed the play, it would have been the easiest touchdown in history.”

That shows you how the each really feel about the play.  Now imagine what the players think.  Head coach Pete Carroll knew it too, telling Wickersham that right after it happened, he needed to let everyone know he was serious about getting back to work and trying to make it right.

“The instant that play occurred, I knew what I was dealing with,” Carroll told him. “I had to get back to business as soon as possible.”

But that hasn’t changed how people within his own walls views him, with Richard Sherman even reportedly bringing up Butler’s pick from that game last year a few weeks before the playoffs.  Maybe that explains why Sherman’s name has been the subject of trade rumors during this offseason.

Either way, that game has certainly changed the fortune of both teams.  The Patriots have found their groove and have won two titles in the last three years, while the Seahawks haven’t been able to get past the Divisional round. To make matters worse for Carroll’s club, the Patriots seem poised to make another run while his team still faces another season of uncertainty.

Oddly enough, what the Seahawks don’t seem to realize is that New England has already faced some heart-breaking moments in two Super Bowl losses and didn’t let those stop them.  But for now, they seem intent on pointing fingers and making excuses, which likely explains why they’re stuck in a cycle of futility, which shows you the clear difference between the two teams.

Brady Quotes Ronald Reagan on Memorial Day – To close this out, Brady took a moment on Monday to commemorate those who gave their lives in support of their country, quoting former president Ronald Reagan in his latest Instagram Post.

Here’s a look at the post from the veteran quarterback:

"We are gathered at the National Cemetery, which provides a final resting place for the heroes who have defended our country since the Civil War. This amphitheater, this place for speeches, is more central to this cemetery than it first might seem apparent, for all we can ever do for our heroes is remember them and remember what they did — and memories are transmitted through words. Sometime back I received in the name of our country the bodies of four marines who had died while on active duty. I said then that there is a special sadness that accompanies the death of a serviceman, for we're never quite good enough to them — not really; we can't be, because what they gave us is beyond our powers to repay. And so, when a serviceman dies, it's a tear in the fabric, a break in the whole, and all we can do is remember. It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our country, in defense of us, in wars far away. The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in our mind as old and wise. We see them as something like the Founding Fathers, grave and gray haired. But most of them were boys when they died, and they gave up two lives — the one they were living and the one they would have lived. When they died, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chance to be revered old men. They gave up everything for our country, for us. And all we can do is remember." – Ronald Reagan Thanks for the inspiration @domraso #Honor

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

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: