Patriots

John Henry and Robert Kraft visit Boylston Street firehouse

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff March 27, 2014 10:23 PM

Red Sox owner John Henry teamed up with Patriots owner Robert Kraft earlier today to pay a visit to the firefighters at the Boylston Street firehouse in Boston.

Wednesday's devastating fire on Beacon Street claimed the lives of firefighter Michael R. Kennedy and Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh of Engine 33, Ladder 15 on the corner of Boylston and Hereford Streets.

"Both John and I just wanted to thank these most unappreciated people in society, firemen, policemen and nurses," Kraft said.

FULL ENTRY

Tom Brady works out on California beach

Posted by Robert Burgess March 7, 2014 02:34 PM

Tom Brady is not known for winning games with his feet. The Patriots quarterback is all about thinking and throwing quick.

But that doesn't mean that Brady gets to skip out on running workouts. The above video from x17online.com shows the three-time Super Bowl champion recently doing some sprints on a beach in Santa Monica.

At one point he seems to replicate a receiver's route. At another moment in the sand he seems a bit winded. But he's got time until New England meets for training camp in August to get up to Brady speed.

Mayor Walsh congratulates Denver Mayor Hancock

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff January 27, 2014 06:31 PM

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh is indeed a man of his word.

Walsh sported a Denver Broncos Peyton Manning jersey after losing a friendly wager with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock following the Patriots' 26-16 loss to the Broncos in AFC Championship.

Walsh had bet the Patriots would beat the Broncos, stipulating that either mayor would wear the other team's jersey and send along some delectables from each city. Walsh also agreed to send 5 pounds of chocolate turtles from Phillips Candy House in Dorchester, as well as donate some locally inscribed books to Denver Public Libraries.

Watch: More Bad Lip Reading on the NFL

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff January 24, 2014 05:16 PM

In a bit of lighter fare, the folks at Bad Lip Reading have taken aim at the NFL once again, with some whimsical takes on what players are saying on the field and on the sidelines.

Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and Julian Edelman make appearances. A faux Belichick voice told LeGarrette Blount, "hmmm, you smell good." And Brady yells, "is this the party?"

Enjoy the video above. And see Bad Lip Reading's first take on the NFL.

Hulk Hogan is back to pump up the Patriots

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff January 10, 2014 02:33 PM

He's back backing the Pats, brother!

You may remember Hulk Hogan's original shout out last week to Patriots tight end Matthew Mulligan, who is the proud owner of a championship wrestling belt purchased from Hogan's Beach Shop.

Now the former WWE wrestling great is back online with a fresh message to confirm that the presence of the belt will bring the Patriots "victory after victory after victory" in the playoffs.
Matthew Mulligan's WWE championship belt in his locker

"First things first Jack, to be in the NFL you've got to be a bad man," the Hulkster shouts in the 1:34 video clip. "But to be on the New England Patriot team, you have to be an elite athlete at all times. But one man stands out, probably one of the smartest men I've ever heard of, and that is Matthew Mulligan. He was smart enough to order a piece of Hulk Hogan to put in the Patriots dressing room, brother. That means, you have an extra edge. That means you have that extra advantage. That means that you're gonna have victory after victory after victory brother.

"So Mully, shout out to you. Smartest man on the team brother. But as the energy of Hulkamania is passed through all the players brother as the power of the largest arms in the world is passed to the commander in chief, Brady, the Patriots will be successful in every endeavor. The Patriots will dominate every time on the field, and if by some weird chance somebody's back cracks, or liver quivers, or knees freeze, you can tear off one of the largest arms in the world, brother. You can tear off one of the Patriot missiles and you can strap it to Brady's waist if one of his wheels goes bad ..."

Follow Steve on Twitter: @stevesilva

Hulk Hogan is here to help the Patriots get through the playoffs

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff January 2, 2014 09:04 AM

He's here to help the Patriots get to the Super Bowl, brother!

In the video embedded above, Hulk Hogan gives a shout out to Patriots tight end Matthew Mulligan, who purchased a championship wrestling belt from Hogan's Beach Shop, then proclaims his support for the playoff-bound Patriots.

"... I am a Patriots fan," the former WWE wrestling great said in a video that appeared on Facebook Thursday morning. "I love New England, brother. I was the champion for a long time up in your area, brother. But I got something for you. With a world title belt around your waist and hanging in the locker room with the Patriots, you guys got a piece of Hulk Hogan there Jack. Right in New England, you got a piece of Hulk Hogan. And what that means, brother, is if you get tired, or if Brady gets tired, or if anybody's knees wobble, their back cracks, or their liver quivers brother, you can take one of the largest arms in the world, Hulk Hogan's arm, you can strap it to your hips, and you can score as many touchdowns as you want brother. So what are the Patriots gonna do now that they've got Hulk Hogan running with all of you?"

ESPN has more from Mulligan on his link to Hogan.

File under: 12th man.

Follow Steve on Twitter: @stevesilva

Reliant Stadium security guards fired for taking pictures with Tom Brady

Posted by Staff December 3, 2013 08:41 AM

The Houston Texans were noticeably upset after their 34-31 loss to the Patriots on Sunday, and it appears that management at Houston’s Reliant Stadium did not want their employees to enjoy any time with the opposing team.

Two Reliant Stadium security guards were fired after photos surfaced of the two posing for pictures after the game with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, according to WHDH Channel 7 News in Boston.

Fired security guard Joel Williams said that this was not the first time he had taken a photo with a famous person at the stadium, even saying that he has taken pictures with players from opposing teams that defeated the Texans, but has never been reprimanded for it.

The company that operates security at the stadium says that employees are not allowed to take photos with players.

Read the full story from WHDH Channel 7 News here.

Report: Rob Gronkowski to play himself in 'Entourage' movie

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff November 13, 2013 11:21 PM

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It was only a matter of time before the big tight end made it to the big screen.

TMZ is reporting that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is about to become a matinee idol:

We got word from Gronkowski's theatrical manager Henry Penzi ... the NE Patriots' stud is going to be hugging it out with Jeremy Piven, Adrian Grenier and the rest of the boys from "Entourage" in their upcoming feature film.

The movie begins shooting in January and TMZ reports that Gronk will play himself in the flick about the Hollywood rat pack from the former HBO series.

It's been a busy time off the field for Gronk. His family is pitching an animated TV show. A new rap video debuted on GronkNation.com. On Monday night, he hosted a ladies-only football clinic at Harvard Stadium complete with dancing, doughnuts, and “Gronk-tinis.” And during a question and answer session at a Foxborough bar, Gronkowski appeared to mock a fan wearing his own jersey with a racially tinged joke.

Gronk won't be the first Patriot to appear with the Entourage crew. Superstar quarterback Tom Brady had a brief cameo with Vince and the crew on the golf course back in a 2009 episode.

Tom Brady featured in new UGG campaign

Posted by Staff September 3, 2013 10:58 AM


A new integrated campaign by UGG Australia will feature Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in advertising spots and videos that launched Tuesday morning.

The campaign, titled “For ___ For Men,” will celebrate men from all walks of life who illustrate dedication, talent and passion in their day-to-day lives, according to UGG. Brady’s spot is called “For Gamechangers.”

The Brady ad depicts the quarterback starting on a team bus featuring high school football players from Junipero Serra High School, with Brady walking forward on the bus as it shifts to the high school’s baseball team. The environment then shifts to the locker room at the University of Michigan, followed by a replica of the Brady’s living room on draft day, followed by the media tunnel at the Super Bowl. Brady finishes the ad walking off the team bus and out to the stadium on game day.

On why the setting of the team bus, Brady said in an UGG press release that “the bus is one of my favorite places to be... We have this focused energy that builds as we prepare for battle and there is a sense of camaraderie you can’t find anywhere else.”

In the Boston market, UGG is including a Tall Wall of Tom Brady that is being installed on the Mass Pike near Fenway Park. The campaign will also include print and multi-media ads over the next four months, featuring four different themes: For Gamechangers, For Role Models, For Leaders, and For Mentors.

For a behind the scenes look at the making of the Brady ad, follow this link.

Report: Another supposed Hernandez jail letter emerges

Posted by Staff August 19, 2013 12:35 PM

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After several supposed jailhouse letters from former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez surfaced over the past few weeks, there is speculation that another letter from Hernandez has been leaked.

Radar Online reported Monday it obtained another letter that it says was written by Hernandez to a fan. In it, he says one of his biggest fears is having his nine-month old daughter grow up without a father.

“She said daddy (for the) first time or should I say “Da Da” and (I) had to hear it from jail,” Radar Online says he states in the letter.

Radar Online says that an exclusive copy of the letter was given to it by Collin Imm, a fan whom Hernandez has been reportedly writing back and forth with while awaiting trial on a murder charge.

The letter is reported to be two pages long, and in it Hernandez maintains his innocence, stating “I’m a great dude…Don’t believe all the negative publicity.”

Hernandez was arrested on June 26 and charged with first degree murder after Lloyd’s body was found in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough on June 17. He will appear in court on Thursday for his probable cause hearing.

Read Radar Online's full story here.

Rob Gronkowski nearly walks out on CBS interview when subject turns to Aaron Hernandez

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff July 17, 2013 01:46 PM

Not talking about controversial topics? That's the Patriot Way.

And it's the way Rob Gronkowski handled a question about Aaron Hernandez in an interview that aired on CBS This Morning. The Patriots tight end, in New York with his brothers and his father to promote the newly-published book "Growing Up Gronk," wanted nothing to do with any questions about Hernandez, the former Patriots tight end who is currently in jail after being charged with murder.

“Next question,” Gronkowski replied when asked by CBS newsman Don Dahler about the Hernandez saga. “I learned that from (agent) Drew Rosenhaus.”

When asked how he felt when hearing the news about his former teammate, Gronkowski answered with another “next question.”

Then when Dahler shifted the Hernandez inquiry to Rob’s father, Gord, who also said he wouldn’t comment, Rob stood up and nearly walked out of the interview, but sat back down when Dahler changed the subject.

Tim Tebow once tried to break up bar brawl involving Aaron Hernandez

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff July 2, 2013 01:31 PM


File under: Opposite worlds collide.

According to a report in the Orlando Sentinel, newly signed Patriots backup QB Tim Tebow once tried to break up a "violent" bar fight between former Pats tight end Aaron Hernandez and a bouncer at a Gainesville, Fla. bar.

Tebow and Hernandez were teammates at the University of Florida when the 2007 incident took place.

Hernandez, then a 17-year-old freshman, allegedly punched the bouncer in the head and broke his ear drum. After Hernandez reportedly fled the bar after the brawl, which stemmed from a dispute over a bar bill, the police questioned Tebow when they arrived on the scene.

From the Sentinel report:

When the officer could not find Hernandez immediately following the incident, he interviewed Tebow and Shaun Young.

“Tebow stated that he witnessed the dispute,” the officer wrote. “… Tebow stated that he went over to try to help resolve the conflict.”

Tebow went on to say he urged Hernandez to leave peacefully and tried to make arrangements to pay the bill.

Two hours later, another officer found Hernandez and spoke with him about the incident. Tebow was present during the interview.

The officer wrote Hernandez did not appear to be intoxicated and was, “very polite and professional.”

Hernandez told the officer both he and Tebow had already called then-UF football coach Urban Meyer and informed him about the incident.

The Wall Street Journal obtained a copy of the 2007 police report on Monday.

In other Hernandez news, TMZ reports today that Hernandez was involved in a domestic incident with his fiancee in Hermosa Beach, Calif. in June 2012.

According to the TMZ report, when police arrived, Hernandez' fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, said she was OK and didn't want to press charges.

Belichick says he doesn't hate Tim Tebow

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff June 6, 2013 04:15 PM

Patriots coach Bill Belichick once hosted Tim Tebow for a pre-draft visit in 2010. He has praised the quarterback during Tebow's three years in the NFL and has tried to stay away from conversations about him since he became a free agent.

But Belichick and Tebow have continued to be tied together since that first visit in 2010, when they were spotted at a restaurant in the North End. And the ties have only grown since Josh McDaniels returned to the Patriots fold. McDaniels drafted Tebow while he was the head coach in Denver.

So it was interesting to hear that Belichick "hated" Tebow as a player in a report by Yahoo! Sports.

From the report:

And while there's plenty of media chatter that Tebow could land with the Patriots (whose offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, was the man behind the Broncos' decision to draft Tebow in the first round), my organizational sources tell me that's very unlikely to happen, with one going so far as to say that Coach Bill Belichick "hates" Tebow as a player. As for the prospect of employing Tebow as a change-of-pace quarterback — and asking Tom Brady to come off the field in those situations — the source says, "No chance. Plus they wouldn't like the circus that comes with it."

Belichick has disputed that claim, telling ESPN Boston it is "completely untrue":


"Every single player has strengths and weaknesses but regardless of that, for anyone to have represented that is the way I feel about Tim Tebow is completely untrue, baseless and irresponsible. It is unfortunate that something so inaccurate was reported."

Tebow is still available, if the Patriots are interested.

Report: Gronk might need back surgery

Posted by Robert Burgess May 17, 2013 03:59 PM

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski may need back surgery, according to a report in USA Today.

Just as the news was getting better on Rob Gronkowsi's arm, there's word his back is once again acting up and could require surgery as well.

The New England Patriots' tight end recently underwent an MRI on his back to check on a disc issue he had dating back to last season, a person informed of Gronkowski's medical status told USA TODAY Sports.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the Patriots' policy of not publicly detailing injuries, said the issue is with a different disc than the one that needed to be shaved down in via surgery 2009 and that a final decision on whether surgery will be required has not yet been made.

ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that Gronkowski's back issue is minor, according to a source.

Gronkowski is expected next week, according to the Boston Globe, to have another surgical procedure on his injured and previously infected left forearm, this time replacing a metal plate.

Report: Patriots re-sign WR Julian Edelman

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff April 10, 2013 11:58 AM

The Patriots have re-signed wide receiver Julian Edelman to a 1-year contract, according to multiple reports.

Edelman, a four-year veteran, visited with the New York Giants earlier this month but apparently decided to return to New England. He was drafted by the Patriots in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL draft out of Kent State, where he played quarterback. He's had 69 receptions for 714 yards and four touchdowns in his career, along with 72 punt returns for 943 yards and three touchdowns.

His deal was first reported by USA Today's Mike Garafolo.

Report: Patriots sign DL Tommy Kelly

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff April 8, 2013 03:56 PM

The Patriots have agreed to a two-year contract with defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, according to a report by NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.

Kelly, 32, is a nine-year veteran who played his entire career with the Oakland Raiders before being released March 27. He started all 16 games last year, compiling 45 tackles and a sack. He has 289 career tackles and 34 sacks, along with 16 passes defensed.

Forbes: Kraft worth $2.3 billion

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 26, 2013 03:00 PM

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Patriots owner Robert Kraft talks with Tom Brady. Forbes estimates Kraft is worth $2.3 billion. (Jonathan Wiggs / Globe Staff)

Patriots owner Robert Kraft is worth an estimated $2.3 billion, according to the latest Forbes Magazine tabulation.

Kraft is one of 19 NFL owners who could conceivably write a 10-figure check, including Seattle's Paul Allen, who leads the pack with an estimated worth of $15 billion.

Kraft, chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group, also owns the New England Revolution. He comes in at No. 641 on the Forbes billionaires list and No. 221 in the United States.

Report: Patriots reach agreement to re-sign Sebastian Vollmer

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 24, 2013 11:17 AM

The Patriots have reached an agreement to re-sign starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, according to a report.

Vollmer will sign a four-year deal, according to the Herald's Karen Guregian. It was first reported by ESPN Boston's Field Yates.

The deal ensures the Patriots will have all five starting offensive linemen return for the 2013 season.

Vince Wilfork responds harshly to Ted Johnson remarks on Wilfork's wife

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 22, 2013 05:16 PM

Former Patriot Ted Johnson put his foot in his mouth when he joined a Houston area radio station and called Vince Wilfork's wife, Bianca, ugly.

Johnson, joining Sports Radio 610, was asked in a segment on the show which former teammate had the ugliest wife. Johnson took the bait without much fight.

"This is a big, big man," Johnson said in the interview. "This guy had his way with the Texans this year."

And then he not-so-reluctantly dropped all pretense.

"He won't hear this: Vince Wilfork."

Not true, Johnson. Wilfork heard all about it and responded not so kindly via Twitter. Wilfork tweeted:

@tedj52 your barking up the wrong tree I hear and see everything [expletive]

Wilfork went on to let his 144,466 twitter followers know that he wasn't done.

What followed was a profanity laced note attached as a picture to his Twitter account. Wilfork wrote in part:

Every1 is entitled to their own opinion, but it is [expletive] up when a x-teammate that I actually looked up to and enjoyed playing with takes shots at my wife for whatever reasons. I love my wife and my family She is my everything. I don't care when this was said no one should cross that line. The line has been crossed so it is what it is.

Johnson quickly apologized afterward.

UPDATE: 12:59 p.m.

For her part, Bianca Wilfork said on social media while she appreciates the support she's received from fans, "trust me, I'm good."

"In this day and age people forget to realize its not about looks, weight, money or status," she wrote. "My relationship with my husband ... is about being real, building each other up and having each other's back. Those things can't be measured, determined or valued by looks or money. Those things shine in the darkest times and relish in the best."

Greyhound named 'Rob Gronkowski' blazing past competition

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 20, 2013 09:33 AM

Like race horses, racing dog names are quirky and almost entirely commonplace phrases parsed for humor.

One particular dog, Rob Gronkowski, is named after the Patriots' all-pro tight end and has been making waves in greyhound racing, winning five of his last six races in Florida, according to BustedCoverage.

This greyhound is so good, he's now being placed into "Grade A" competition.

Of course this dog is making waves. He's named after a player that is the best in the world at his position. There's no reason an animal named after him shouldn't live up to the standard.

Only half serious here.

Report: Sebastian Vollmer underwent knee surgery

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff February 22, 2013 08:40 AM

Patriots offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent March 12, recently underwent knee surgery, according to a report.

Vollmer, a four-year veteran with known back issues, is one of 18 free agents the Patriots have to address this offseason and one of three starters who are possible suitors for the franchise tag, including Aqib Talib and Wes Welker.

News of his surgery, an arthroscopic procedure according to a Herald source, could certainly diminish his ability to command top dollar, especially if the nature of the surgery is because of a serious injury.

If the Patriots were to use the franchise tag on Vollmer, it could cost the team an estimated $9.66 million.


Patriots corner Alfonzo Dennard found guilty of assaulting a cop

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff February 20, 2013 11:59 AM

Alfonzo Dennard was found guilty of felony assault on a Lincoln, Neb., police officer in April, 2012 and was also found guilty of misdemeanor resisting arrest, according to reports from the Omaha World-Herald and Journal Star.

The Patriots cornerback was found innocent of misdemeanor assault on another Lincoln, Neb., man.

Dennard's felony conviction carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The resisting arrest charge carries a maximum 1-year prison term and $1,000 fine. His sentencing will be April 11.

Gronkowski has epic bar bill in Las Vegas

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff February 14, 2013 08:14 AM

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski did a lot more than dance and wrestle at a Las Vegas nightclub after the Super Bowl. The all-pro racked up a $9,615 bar bill at the XS Nightclub at Encore, according to a report.

The folks at Busted Coverage have a photo of the receipt.

Among Gronkowski's choice of beverages: Grey Goose ($1,575), an array of expensive champagnes ($3,554), 14 bottles of Fiji water ($154), a couple of flavors of Ciroc vodka ($1,575), and a couple of glasses of Crown Royal ($32).

His gratuity was a whopping $1,400.

Report: Ray Lewis may have used banned substance

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff January 29, 2013 02:34 PM
A report in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated suggests that Ravens superstar linebacker Ray Lewis may have used a banned substance while rehabbing from a torn triceps injury this year.

From the SI piece:

Hours after he tore his triceps during an Oct. 14 home game against the Cowboys, Ravens All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis and [Mitch] Ross connected on the phone. Again, Ross videotaped the call.

"It's bottom, near the elbow," Lewis said of the tear. After asking a few pseudo diagnostic questions, Ross concluded, "All right, well this is going to be simple. . . . How many pain chips you got around the house?"

"I got plenty of them," Lewis replied.

Ross prescribed a deluxe program, including holographic stickers on the right elbow; copious quantities of the powder additive; sleeping in front of a beam-ray light programmed with frequencies for tissue regeneration and pain relief; drinking negatively charged water; a 10-per-day regimen of the deer-antler pills that will "rebuild your brain via your small intestines" (and which Lewis said he hadn't been taking, then swallowed four during the conversation); and spritzes of deer-antler velvet extract (the Ultimate Spray) every two hours.

The issue facing Lewis is that the extract contains IGF-1, which is on the NFL’s list of banned substances. The report became a hot topic in New Orleans moments before the Ravens were schedule to take the podiums at the NFL's Media Day in New Orleans.

"Two years ago that was the same report," Lewis said at the media event. "I wouldn't give that report or him any of my press. He's not worthy of that."

The SI report features a detailed look into S.W.A.T.S., an organization run by a former male stripper selling deer antler pills to professional athletes.

Read the full Sports Illustrated report here.

Ray Lewis's retirement party countdown on a billboard near you

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff January 16, 2013 02:03 PM

Ray Lewis billboard

FOXBOROUGH -- There's bulletin board material. Then there's billboard material.

Clear Channel Outdoor has put up a billboard on Rte. 93 north on the Medford/Stoneham line, and on Rte. 495 in Lawrence, that's surely going to get some attention in Baltimore and beyond.

The billboard promotes Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis's retirement party that may take place at Gillette Stadium Sunday night if the Patriots are victorious.

Clear Channel has been tweeting about the billboard today:

Hopefully, the Patriots come through on their end of the deal, otherwise this billboard will come down in a hurry.

Tom Brady, Gisele star in new video promoting candy company

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff September 27, 2012 09:25 AM

We're not sure if Unreal Candy will outsell Gronk Flakes, but Tom Brady is back as a pitchman for the local healthy candy company in a new YouTube video posted earlier this week.

The Patriots star quarterback appears with his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, actor Matt Damon, musician John Legend, and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey in the promotional video for the company founded by the Brookline father-and-son team of Michael and Nicky Bronner.

"You want to see me happy, let me open this thing up," Brady says while holding a candy bar. "I could eat about 10 of them."

Brady is also seen flicking a field goal through some finger uprights in one of the short clips he appears in.

This isn't the first video Brady has appeared in for the candy company. In July, Brady was featured in a video that showed him in a staring contest with surprised customers at a local CVS.

Gronkowski's porn-star pal resurfaces

Posted by Leonard Neslin September 19, 2012 08:06 AM

An old friend of Rob Gronkowski may have stirred up a bit more trouble for the Pro Bowl tight end.

Deadspin reports that a tweet from the account of ex-porn star Britney Maclin, formerly known as Bibi Jones, included a link to a new racy photo of her with Gronk. Another tweet from her account said Gronkowski dropped potential touchdown passes against the Cardinals Sunday because he was thinking of her.

However a subsequent tweet indicated she may have been the victim of a prank: "Omg! I’m partying & these Boston took my phone so they could post those pics. [expletive deleted] This is gonna be drama."

Last October, a photo of Gronkowski and Jones apparently taken when they met during the Patriots' bye week was a hot topic.

Patriots cuts finalized: Hoyer, Branch, Koppen released

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff August 31, 2012 09:32 PM

The New England Patriots have completed their roster reductions in order to get to the NFL-mandated 53-man roster limit, releasing backup quarterback Brian Hoyer and veteran wide receiver Deion Branch in the process.

The team also placed newly acquired RB Jeff Demps on injured reserve, shelving the Olympic silver medalist at least for the time being.

Hoyer had been considered Tom Brady's primary backup and key trade bait before today's news.

Branch was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX for the Patriots, before making an out route to the Seattle Seahawks in a trade for a 2007 first round draft pick. He returned to the Patriots in 2010 as part of a trade that sent the Seahawks a fourth rounder. He caught 51 passes last season for 702 yards and five touchdowns, and was widely considered to have held onto a roster spot after the team released receivers Jabar Gaffney and Donte' Stallworth, both of whom the team had signed in the offseason.

"Truly thankful for all the support from everybody," Branch tweeted. "I love you guys."

Also released were center Dan Koppen, DB Derrick Martin, LB Aaron Lavarias, OL Darrion Weems, WR Jesse Holley, DB Malcolm Williams, DL Marcus Harrison, WR Kerry Taylor, FB Eric Kettani, OL Derek Dennis, LB Jeff Tarpinian, OL Jeremiah Warren, WR Jeremy Ebert, OL Dustin Waldron, TE Tyler Urban, LB Niko Koutouvides, OL Matt Kopa, TE Alex Silvestro and safeties Sergio Brown and James Ihedigbo.

"Thank you to the organization and fans of New England it's been fun," Dennis wrote via Twitter.

Koppen, a veteran of nine NFL seasons, missed all but one game last season after suffering an ankle injury against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1. He re-signed in the offseason to a 2-year deal worth $6 million with the intention to battle with Dan Connolly to be the team's starting center. He struggled throughout training camp as the Patriots cycled through a number of interior lineman to use in his place.

Ihedigbo, who was re-signed by the Patriots just before training camp began in late July and is a native of Massachusetts. He started at safety for the team in the Super Bowl. In 12 starts last season and 16 games played, Ihedigbo tallied 69 tackles as one of the team's healthy contributors in a banged up secondary.

Brown, a third-year pro out of Notre Dame, started three games for the Patriots last season.

- 1:12 p.m. -- Brian Hoyer has been released.
- 1:12 p.m. -- The Patriots released safety James Ihedigbo.
- 1:14 p.m. -- Dan Koppen has been released.
- 1:28 p.m. -- Deion Branch has been released.
- 1:58 p.m. -- Derrick Martin has been released
- 2:14 p.m. -- Aaron Lavarias released.
- 4:44 p.m. -- Sergio Brown released.
- 5:58 p.m. -- Matt Kopa released.
- 6:14 p.m. -- Eric Kettani released, according to NFL.com.
- 6:35 p.m. -- Darrion Weems and Alex Silvestro have been released.
- 6:50 p.m. -- Derek Dennis tweeted that he was done with the Patriots. "Thank you to the organization and fans of New England it's been fun!!"
- 7:20 p.m. -- Jeff Tarpinian has been released, according to a report.
- 7:32 p.m. -- Jeremiah Warren has been released, according to a report.
- 7:43 p.m. -- Jeremy Ebert has been released, according to a report.
- 9:16 p.m. -- Tyler Urban has been released.
- 9:24 p.m. -- The Patriots announced the full list of 22 players cut from its roster while placing RB Jeff Demps on injured reserve.

For more details and the latest on the Patriots, check the Extra Points blog.

Rob Gronkowski on the cover of Sports Illustrated

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff August 29, 2012 11:42 AM

Another Boston athlete is featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. This time it's Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski on the magazine's 2012 NFL preview edition, which will hit news stands this week.

This is Gronkowski's first cover on SI. He was also on the cover of ESPN's Body issue.

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Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski on the cover of Sports Illustrated. (Courtesy of Sports Illustrated)

Reports: Olympic sprinter Jeff Demps to sign with Patriots

Posted by Leonard Neslin August 17, 2012 12:43 PM

Former Florida Gators running back and Olympic silver medalist sprinter Jeff Demps will sign with the Patriots, according to Fox 13 Sports in Tampa, Fla.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport also tweeted the news, citing one of his agents. He also tweeted the Colts, Jets, Bucs and other teams were interested in signing the sprinter.

Demps rushed for 2,470 yards and 23 touchdowns for Florida. He earned his Olympic medal in the prelims.

Tom Brady's acting out again in video for candy company

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff July 10, 2012 11:57 AM

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is honing his acting skills yet again, this time in a new commercial for Unreal Brands, a local healthy candy company.

In the ad, shot at a CVS pharmacy on June 7, customers are told they will get free candy if they can win a 30-second staring contest with a mystery person behind a black curtain by keeping their eyes open without blinking. When the curtain in opened, it's Tom Brady staring back at them.

"Tom... Tom Brady, oh my God," the first shocked shopper says when Brady is revealed sitting across the table.

"Who are you, you look familiar?” one woman asks Brady, to which he replies, "Really?"

"It's Tom Brady or somebody, who is he?" another woman who obviously isn't a Patriots fan asks.

Eventually one of the shoppers beats Brady at the blinking game.

“This is harder than I thought. Oh, my god,” Brady says. “It’s like the Super Bowl of staring contests.”

Brady is later "arrested" by a police officer for giving out candy to kids.

"I didn't know giving out candy to kids is illegal," Brady says in the last scene of the sendup for the product.

Rob Gronkowski makes cover of ESPN's 'body issue'

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff July 10, 2012 09:49 AM

607gronk.jpg

Photos by Peggy Sirota, ESPN The Magazine

Call it The Full Gronkowski.

The extremely scantily-clad Patriots tight end, wearing only Hulk hands and a grimace, made the cover of ESPN The Magazine's "body issue" that will hit newsstands on Friday.

The fourth annual special issue is billed by ESPN as a "celebration of the athletic form" and will feature 27 world-class athletes. In addition to Gronkowski, the issue also includes Blue Jays home run hitter Jose Bautista, US women's national soccer team forward Abby Wambach, and New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler.

All 27 athletes posed nude for the issue's signature Bodies We Want photo portfolio.

300gronk.jpgThe full lineup includes:

• Carlos Bocanegra (soccer)
• Daniela Hantuchova (WTA)
• Rob Gronkowski (NFL)
• Abby Wambach (soccer)
• Tyson Chandler (NBA)
• Candace Parker (WNBA)
• Maurice Jones-Drew (NFL)
• Jose Bautista (MLB)
• Brad Richards (NHL)
• Maya Gabiera (surfing)
• Ronda Rousey (MMA)
• Mike Smith (jockey)
• Tim Morehouse (fencing)
• Walter Dix (track)
• Danell Leyva (gymnastics)
• Suzann Pettersen (LPGA)
• Ashton Eaton (decathlon)
• Carmelita Jeter (track)
• Anna Tunnicliffe (sailing)
• Oksana Masters (paralympic rowing)

USA volleyball team:

• Destinee Hooker
• Stacy Sykora
• Alisha Glass
• Cynthia Barboza
• Megan Hodge
• Nellie Spicer
• Heather Bown

It's a becoming a big week for Gronkowski. Last night in Buffalo he won a celebrity home run derby contest. And this morning, he's a cover boy.

Rob Gronkowski goes deep, wins celebrity home run derby in Buffalo

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff July 10, 2012 09:01 AM


The Red Sox could use a guy like Rob Gronkowski.

The big Patriots tight end won a celebrity home run derby last night at Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo, NY, with one long blast reportedly landing nearly 400 feet from home plate.

Gronkowski, a nearby Williamsville, NY, native, beat out Buffalo Bills CEO Russ Brandon, who was a hall of fame baseball player at St. John Fisher, to win the celebrity derby.

The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Gronkowski hit 12 home runs over two rounds at the event. In the final round, Gronkowski hit eight over the fence while Brandon finished with seven.

Other participants in the celebrity home run derby included Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta, Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, and actor Nick Bakay.

The event preceded the Triple-A home run derby event taking place in Buffalo as part of the minor league baseball All-Star festivities. For the celebrity derby, a shorter fence was placed midway through the outfield.

More video of Gronkowski belting homers follows from WIVB TV in Buffalo:

Gronkowski wins celebrity home run derby

Pedro Martinez becomes a ‘Bostonian forever’ at ‘The Tradition’

Posted by Leonard Neslin June 28, 2012 11:12 AM
Many famous Boston sports people attended the 11th annual award ceremony ‘The Tradition’ at New England’s Sports Museum in TD Garden Wednesday, but none bigger than Pedro Martinez.

After Mayor Thomas M. Menino introduced Martinez, he said he considered himself a Bostonian, but that the Lifetime Achievement Award he received made him a “Bostonian for life.”

Other honorees included former Celtics great Robert Parish, Patriots’ two-time Super Bowl champion Rodney Harrison, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, former Yale rower Chris Ernst, and former Revolution defender Alexi Lalas.

A poignant moment of the ceremony came when Harrison said, “The reason why I’m here is Junior Seau.” Harrison said that Seau inspired him to play the way he played all the time, including practice.

“The biggest compliment I got when I retired was when Bill Bellichick said I was the best practice player he’s ever had.”

Seau recently took his own life by shooting himself in the chest, raising awareness for concussions and health concerns in the NFL.

Harrison chose his wife, Erika, to present the Football Legacy Award to him to show people how important his wife was to his career.

“I’ve gone through multiple injuries, devastating injuries,” he said. Nobody really understands the impact it makes on the family. Who has to deal with it? The wife.”

Sportscaster and former Celtic Bill Walton introduced Parish, “The Chief,” who bowed to the crowd after accepting the Basketball Legacy Award. Walton repeatedly said, “Hail to the Chief,” and cracked jokes.

Parish, a four-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer, drew laughs from the crowd when comparing Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.

“Bird was slow, couldn’t jump,” he said, noting both had unparalleled determination.

Jacobs was introduced by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who said Jacobs, “wants to win more than anything else for Boston.”

Jacobs was honored for last year’s Stanley Cup but also for his commitment to community service and philanthropic contributions.

In light of the 40th anniversary of Title IX’s enactment, Ernst, captain of 1976 Yale women’s crew and gold medalist at the 1986 world championships, was honored.

“There’s nobody I’m more impressed with in this room than [Ernst],” said sportswriter Jackie MacMullan, who presented the Special Achievement Award to Ernst along with Mary Mazzio, who created an award-winning film about Ernst called “A Hero for Daisy.”

The Revolution’s leading career goal scorer Taylor Twellman called Lalas “a pioneer for our sport.” Lalas was a member of the 1994 US World Cup team and helped spark interest in soccer in America.

Brady, Mankins, Garnett, Crawford make Forbes highest paid athletes list

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff June 19, 2012 01:14 PM
Four New England pro athletes made the Forbes list of highest paid athletes for 2012.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady comes in at No. 28 on the top-100 list with total earnings of $27.1 million. In March, Brady restructured his contract to provide the Patriots with more than $7 million in additional salary cap room for the 2012 season. Brady signed a four-year, $72 million extension in 2010 and reportedly converted $4.8 million of his base salary and $6.25 million of other bonuses into a signing bonus that can be prorated over the final three years of the deal that ends in 2014, when Brady will be 37 years old. Brady earns $23.1 million in salary plus $4 million in additional income through endorsement deals with Under Armor, Audi, and UGGs and others.

Logan Mankins is the next New England professional athlete to be ranked on the list. The four-time Patriots Pro Bowl guard comes in at No. 51, earning $21.9 million in 2012, including about $1,000,000 in endorsements. Mankins missed half of the Patriots 2010 season when he held out after saying he was unhappy with his current deal. In 2011, Mankins signed a six-year, $52.25 million deal that extends through 2016. It was the largest contract paid to an NFL guard at the time.

Celtics star Kevin Garnett, currently an unrestricted free-agent, comes in at No. 57 on the list with total earnings of $21.1 million, which includes $4 million in endorsements. Garnett has earned $291 million in salary in his career according to Forbes, second all-time only to former Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal.

Injured Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford checks in at No. 98 on the list with $16.9 million in total earnings in 2012, which includes about $150,000 in endorsements. Former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein signed Crawford to a seven-year, $142 million deal following the 2010 season. Crawford struggled in Boston during the first year of the deal and has yet to take the field in 2012 due to wrist and elbow injuries.

Jailed boxer Floyd Mayweather sits atop the Forbes list with earnings totaling $85 million. He is followed by boxer Manny Pacquiao ($62M) , golfer Tiger Woods ($59.4M), basketball star LeBron James ($53M), and tennis great Roger Federer ($52.7, to round out the top five.

Mayweather, who made $85 million for two fights last year, is currently serving a three-month jail sentence in Las Vegas for domestic battery. Pacquiao lost his WBO welterweight title to Timothy Bradley earlier this month.

Woods had been the highest paid athlete on the list since 2001. He's lost endorsement deals from Gillette, Tag Heuer, and others since personal issues surfaced in Nov. 2009.

James's $53 million in earnings includes $40 million in endorsement money, which includes new deals to promote Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin Robbins in Asia. It was LeBron's first significant endorsement deal since the Miami Heat center signed with Fenway Sports Management to oversee his marketing career in 2011. James’s income also got a boost when he received cash as part of his partnership with Fenway Sports Group last year, through which James received a stake in the Liverpool soccer club.

Other notables on the top-100 highest paid list:

- Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is No. 10 with $42.4 million in total earnings
- Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees was tops among baseball players and No. 18 overall with $33 million in earnings
- Giants QB and Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning checks in at No. 30, with $26.6 million
- Yankees captain Derek Jeter is No. 36 with $24.5 million in earnings
- Liverpool Reds legend Steven Gerrard comes in at No. 97 on the list. Reds/Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner paid the LFC star $12.5 million in 2012, while Gerrard earned another $4.5 million in endorsements, mostly through his affiliation with Adidas.

Athletes from 11 different sports qualified for the top 100, and 30 football players made the cut, which is more than any other sport, including 13 players from the NBA.

The earnings figures published by Forbes includes salaries, bonuses, prize money, appearance fees, as well as licensing and endorsement income for the 12 months between June 2011 and June 2012.

Take a look at the complete list via a photo gallery from Forbes here.

Report: Wes Welker and friends tackled by security at Aspen party

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff June 19, 2012 09:19 AM

Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker was celebrating his upcoming wedding in Aspen, Colo. this weekend when his group tried to crash a party associated with the Aspen Food & Wine Classic, according to a New York Post report.

Sources told the Post that Welker and his friends tried to enter a party at the restaurant Above the Salt without permission. Security guards then tackled members of the group, according to the report. Sources told the Post that Welker and his friends refused to cooperate even after security intervened, demanding to be let in. Police reportedly threatened to arrest Welker and other members of his party but came short of doing so, and the group left the property.

Aspen police confirmed to the Post that there was a record of a “lecture and release” incident at the same restaurant Friday night, but they did not confirm whether that was the incident that involved Welker's party.

Report: Patriots tickets are most expensive of all four major pro sports leagues

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff June 11, 2012 03:06 PM
According to a report from 24/7 Wall St., the New England Patriots have the most expensive seat in pro sports with an average ticket price of $241.86 at Gillette Stadium.

The Red Sox also have the highest average ticket price in baseball, with a cost of $88.26 per ticket.

To identify the five teams in each major sport with the highest ticket prices, 24/7 Wall St. examined a two-year average of secondary-market ticket prices for each team compiled by SeatGeek, a search engine for event tickets.

Three of Boston's four major pro teams, MLS soccer teams were not ranked in the report, ranked in the top-five among the most expensive seats to purchase on the secondary market, which according to SeatGeek, is more reflective of fan demand.

The top-five team rankings for average ticket prices are as follows:

National Football League

5. Green Bay Packers: $213.43
4. Dallas Cowboys: $214.71
3. Chicago Bears: $219.82
2. New York Giants: $238.45
1. New England Patriots: $241.86

Major League Baseball

5. New York Mets: $63.56
4. Chicago Cubs: $65.24
3. New York Yankees: $70.81
2. Toronto Blue Jays: $71.89
1. Boston Red Sox: $88.26

National Basketball Association

5. Boston Celtics: $99.43
4. Chicago Bulls: $111.12
3. Miami Heat: $123.35
2. New York Knicks: $161.93
1. Los Angeles Lakers: $169.80

National Hockey League

5. Vancouver Canucks: $158.09
4. Pittsburgh Penguins: $160.28
3. Montreal Canadiens: $186.67
2. Winnipeg Jets: $197.26
1. Toronto Maple Leafs: $199.62

Menino calls Rondo 'Hondo' and Garnett 'KJ' in latest Boston sports name gaffes

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff June 7, 2012 08:26 AM

Good job, good effort, Mayor Menuno... err Menino, but we're starting to wonder if you bungle Boston sports stars names on purpose.

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino was captured on camera Wednesday giving his take on the dramatic Celtics run through the NBA playoffs, and he referred to Kevin Garnett as "K.J." and Rajon Rondo as "Hondo" when praising the players' efforts.

“There’s a lot of heart on this team, let me just tell you,” Menino said. “K.J. is a great ... but Hondo's really the inspiration. I mean Hondo drives that team.”

Maybe the mayor thinks Celtics great John "Hondo" Havlicek is driving the action from his floor seats under the basket at the Garden or former Phoenix Suns guard Kevin Johnson, a.k.a. K.J., is doing a great job as the current mayor of Sacramento. Maybe not.

Update: The mayor's office tweeted the following Thursday morning:

This is not the first time the mayor has mixed up and botched the names of local sports stars. Some of Menino's past slip-ups include:

-- At the Fenway 100 celebration at Fenway Park in April, Menino reminisced: "2004 coming in here when Davy Roberts stole second base, Mueller [supposed to be pronounced Miller] hit the double, got him in, then Ortiz won the game. There's so many ... Jim Lomberg had that great year he had."

That would be Red Sox righty Jim Lonborg in 1967.

-- During the dedication of the Bobby Orr statue on Causeway Street in 2010: "Boston, we have an amazing set of remarkable athletes whose actions have become ionic (sic) in sports. Havlicek stole the ball, Fisk waving the ball fair, Flutie launching the Hail Mary pass, Varitek splitting the uprights.”

It was old friend Adam Vinatieri (not former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek) who sealed the deal for the Patriots first Super Bowl victory when he nailed the game-winning 48-yard field goal in 2002 to beat the heavily-favored St. Louis Rams.

-- Speaking of football, last season the mayor referred to Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker as "Wekler" and called tight end Rob Gronkowski "Grabowski."

-- At a dedication ceremony at the Tobin Community Center in 2010, the mayor referred to NBA commissioner David Stern as "Donald Sterns."

-- Menino used the term "great ball players" to describe the Stanley Cup ice hockey champion Bruins last year.

-- The mayor also referred to the band Dropkick Murphys as the "Dropkick Murphy" and called the screen on the scoreboard at the Garden a 'Jumbletron' in lieu of the term JumboTron.

Click here to see a photo and video gallery of other famous sports flubs.

Video: Deion Branch milks a cow

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff June 3, 2012 10:45 PM

So Deion Branch has his own funny video circulating on the interwebs, just like his quarterback. Unfortunately for him, he has to get down and dirty to procure the laughs.

In an appearance for the National Dairy Council, the Patriots wide receiver finds himself milking a cow -- something the 5-9, 195-pound player appears hesitant to do with such a large animal -- and then tops it off with a good ol' grip and grin, drinking the pilfered milk right for the camera.

Let's just say this is good physical comedy ... sorta.

At least he didn't go all Tom Green on it. Enjoy.

'Game of Thrones' author likens Patriots to the evil Lannisters

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff June 1, 2012 02:01 PM

Here's some Patriots hate from the Dungeons & Dragons crowd.

"Game of Thrones" author George R.R. Martin, whose books have spawned the popular HBO drama by the same name, through some nudging, has likened the New England Patriots to one of the more detested families in his novels.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Martin compared the Patriots to the oft-feuding and evilly inclined Lannisters, a murderous bunch that play the antagonists to the Starks.

Let's just say that the Lannisters are viewed as the bad guys, capiche?

Here's how the conversation went down, which you can find in full on their site:


SI: A popular internet story recently imagined Game of Thrones characters as politicians -- Barack Obama as Robb Stark, George W. Bush as Hodor -- can we try this with the NFL?

...

SI: What about the families: Are the Starks, say, the Green Bay Packers?

MARTIN: Whenever I propose analogies like that, fans jump in with their own ideas, but it depends on what team you root for. To me, the Starks are heroes, so they would be the Giants.

SI: And the Patriots, the archenemies?

MARTIN: Maybe those would be the Lannisters.

Martin, who is also known for producing episodes for the "Twilight Zone," is a self-professed New York Jets fan. So Patriots fans can rest assured that Bill Belichick will store this slight in his memory bank for those two contests this upcoming season. Or maybe not.

The season 2 finale of "Game of Thrones" will air at 9 p.m. this Sunday. The Celtics will be playing the Miami Heat in Game 4 at the same time (8:30 p.m start). What will you be watching?

Bill Belichick, Doc Rivers among highest paid coaches in America

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff May 16, 2012 01:58 PM

Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick is the highest paid coach in America. (Bill Greene / Globe Staff)


Bill Belichick is in a league of his own when it comes to getting paid. But Doc Rivers isn't far behind.

According to Forbes magazine, the three-time Super Bowl winning Patriots head coach makes more money than any other coach in America. Belichick's estimated salary of $7.5 million puts him at the top of the Forbes list.

NFL coaches dominate the top 10, with eight representatives. The two other top-10 paid coaches come from the NBA: Celtics coach Doc Rivers ($7 million) and San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich ($6 million).

Super Bowl winning coach Tom Coughlin of the Giants, with an estimated salary of $5.25 million, didn't make the top 10.

Local coaches Claude Julien of the Bruins and Bobby Valentine of the Red Sox were not on the Forbes list:

10. Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles: $5.5 million
9. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers: $5.75 million
8. Ken Whisenhunt, Arizona Cardinals: $5.75 million
7. Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears: $6 million
6. Greg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs: $6 million
5. Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks: $7 million
4. Jeff Fisher, St. Louis Rams: $7 million
3. Glenn "Doc" Rivers, Boston Celtics: $7 million
2. Mike Shanahan, Washington Redskins: $7 million
1. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots: $7.5 million

Video: Police on Seau's death

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff May 2, 2012 05:35 PM

Oceanside Police spoke to media who gathered in front of Junior Seau's home in Oceanside, Calif.

Former Patriots linebacker Junior Seau found dead in apparent suicide

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff May 2, 2012 05:17 PM

Junior Seau

Former Patriots linebacker Junior Seau has died of suicide, according to multiple reports. (Matthew J. Lee / Globe file photo)

Junior Seau, a 43-year old 12-time NFL Pro Bowl linebacker, was found dead today in his home, the result of a gunshot wound, police confirmed.

Police are investigating the shooting at the Oceanside, Calif., residence of the former New England Patriot and San Diego Chargers football star as a suicide. Police confirmed that Seau was found by his girlfriend at his beachfront home with a gunshot wound to his chest.

Police received a call at 9:35 a.m. PST from Seau's girlfriend, who informed police Seau was unconscious with a gunshot wound, before making their way to Seau's house and performing "life saving" efforts on him in his bedroom, according to police. A handgun was found.

The Patriots released a statement on Seau's death:

Patriots statement on the death of Junior Seau: "We were shocked to hear of the initial reports regarding Junior Seau earlier today and are deeply saddened by the news of his death. We were fortunate to have had Junior join the Patriots in 2006 and are thankful for his many contributions to the team over the next four years. He had a legendary NFL career and his unrivaled passion for the game quickly made him a fan favorite here in New England. This is a sad day for the entire Patriots organization, our coaches and his many Patriots teammates. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to his family and his many friends who will mourn this loss."

The Chargers also released a statement:

"Everyone at the Chargers is in complete shock and disbelief right now. We ask everyone to stop what they're doing and send their prayers to Junior and his family."
"He was a local hero -- he certainly gave back to the community and to the youth through his Junior Seau Foundation," Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood told the North County Times. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends."

Seau's death, by gunshot wound to the chest, is similar to the way former Chicago Bears defensive back Dave Duerson died of suicide. Duerson shot himself in the chest on Feb. 17 -- a method used so that his brain could be examined for symptoms of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a trauma-induced disease common to NFL players and others who have received repeated blows to the head.

Several Patriots have released statements on Seau on Twitter, including Chad Ochocinco:

Seau's All-Pro NFL career spanned 20 seasons. He was drafted No. 5 overall in the 1990 draft out of the University of Southern California, and played 12 stellar years for the San Diego Chargers. He was named an all-pro 10 times and to the Pro Bowl all 12 seasons he was with the Chargers. In 1994, he was named the AFC Player of the Year.

In October 2010, problems in Seau's personal life surfaced when he drove his SUV off an embankment in Carlsbad, Calif., and he was hospitalized with minor injuries.

Seau told police he fell asleep hours after he was arrested on a felony domestic violence allegation and released.

In 2003, Seau was traded to the Miami Dolphins, but was released in March 2006. He was limited in his time with the Dolphins because of torn pectoral muscle.

Seau announced his retirement from football in 2006, but then days later was picked up by the Patriots. He went on to start 10 of 11 games played in the 2006 season before breaking his arm.

Seau, whose full name is Tiaina Baul Seau Jr., last played for the Patriots in 2009. He announced his intention to retire again in 2010.

In his career, he tallied 1,849 tackles and 56.5 sacks. In 38 games for the Patriots with 16 starts, he totaled 161 tackles (100 solo), 4.5 sacks, three interceptions and five passes defensed.

Seau is the eighth member of the 1994 San Diego Chargers, the team that lost Super Bowl XXIX to the 49ers, to die at a young age. The other '94 Charger players that have died: Chris Mims, David Griggs, Rodney Culver, Lewis Bush, Curtis Whitley, Shawn Lee, and Doug Miller.

Patriots react to the news of Junior Seau's death

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff May 2, 2012 03:40 PM

Several members of the New England Patriots have reacted to news of Junior Seau's death on Twitter. Here are some of those reactions.

Brandon Lloyd's trying to rap his way to the top of hip-hop

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff March 21, 2012 11:14 AM
Move over Ochocinco. There's a new receiver in town, and he's got skills.

And not just sticky-handed football skills.

Newly-acquired Patriots wide receiver Brandon Lloyd is a Pro Bowl pass catcher, businessman -- he worked as a sales rep for a Colorado company that sells metal to the aerospace industry during the NFL lockout last year -- and he's also a hip-hop up-and-comer in the music industry.
B. Lloyd - She's all mine
Lloyd -- or B. Lloyd as he's known in the rap world -- has been writing music since he was a teenager in Kansas City. His song Heavy was featured in an episode of Spike TV's now-canceled comedy Blue Mountain State, and the aspiring rap star's live show talents are showcased across YouTube.

"I'm an organic rap dude," Lloyd said to The Denver Post last June. "And my experiences are why my content is the way it is, but I just love local, independent artists, because I consider myself a struggling musician, just grinding away and trying to figure out your path."

According to the Post, Lloyd estimates he has written and recorded at least 150 songs and works to get his tracks featured on video games and television shows. His finished songs can be found online at soundcloud.com.

"I have the guts to stand out and do something I'm passionate about, go against the grain and go against the conventional wisdom that the athlete-rap thing is unsuccessful," Lloyd said to The Post. "Yet I'm going to do it. People will say: 'Oh, you're doing hip-hop music? Who does he think he is, a rapper? He's trying to be someone he's not.' When in reality, I'd be someone I'm not by not expressing myself in music."

B. Lloyd even made an appearance on MTV 2's Sucker Freestyle in 2007 when he was a member of the Washington Redskins:

Lyrics follow:

I don't do this here for my health, I do this here for the wealth
In rap I throw the ball to myself
They say B. Lloyd act like he bought for himself
But when you factor in the family that attitude help
These reporters never played a down or a quarter
Come to the crib, I can break down a pound or a quarter
You ain't got no views man, these crackers will extort ya
You ain't got no dreams man, these clowns will distort ya
I'm in Georgetown every day, like them Hoyas
I'm sittin' in the lap of luxury, everyday Christmas
I ask and it comes to me
Four, five whips a big crib and Evisu jeans
You can compete with me selling jungle trees
Homey you can't see me in your wildest dreams
Behind me is a mile of steam
Millennium Scrooge McDuck swimming in a mound of cream
MTV2 Sucker Freestyles... Sucker

Lloyd also is taking part in an NFL and NFLPA sponsored bootcamp at the Clive Davis Institute, which is part of NYU’s Tisch’s School of Music, to learn more about the business of music.

B. Lloyd reportedly had a distribution deal to release his album Master of Ceremony in April 2009, which included the single She's All Mine, featuring singer Bobby Valentino.

Take that, Bobby Valentine.

Lloyd also breaks down his passion for rap in an interview that aired on ESPN's First Take:

Reports: Peyton Manning heading to the Denver Broncos

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff March 19, 2012 11:56 AM
Quarterback Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts and quarterback Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos meet at midfield after the game at INVESCO Field at Mile High on September 26, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Colts defeated the Broncos 27-13.
(Doug Pensinger / Getty Images)
Mile High Manning?

According to a multiple reports, Peyton Manning has instructed his agent, Tom Condon, to begin negotiations with the Denver Broncos. According to ESPN reports, Manning will become the next quarterback of the Broncos "barring a snag during intensified contract negotiations that have commenced."

ESPN's Adam Schefter wrote today that Manning "has informed the other teams of his decision" and that the parameters are in place for Manning to sign a five year contract worth $95 million.

According to Schefter, Manning called Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway this morning to tell him "he's looking forward to coming to play for him."

The Broncos were one of the reported finalists for the services of Manning along with the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers.

Manning visited the Titans in Nashville last week and worked out for team officials and coaches on Saturday in Knoxville. According to reports, Manning called Titan's owner Bud Adams this morning to inform him of the decision and thank him for his interest.

"I was hoping we would win out,'' Adams said according to The Tennessean. "I thought we'd be ahead of Denver. I thought he'd want to stay in Tennessee."

Manning sat out all of 2011 because of multiple neck surgeries, but his success in the past has made him this offseason's top potential signing.

"I think it's a great place for him," Broncos defensive end Robert Ayers said outside the Broncos' complex. "I don't think he made a bad decision. I think he made a great decision. Hopefully we can prove him right and hopefully we can win a lot of games here."

Manning was wooed to Denver by Hall of Fame quarterback Elway, who led the Broncos to two Super Bowl championships. Elway never sounded all that convinced Tim Tebow was the right answer at the sport's most important position. In January, Elway said Tebow would be the Broncos' starter entering training camp, but he had consistently backed off endorsing Tebow as the long-term answer for the franchise.

"I wouldn't say I feel bad for him," Ayers said. "It's a business. And I'm pretty sure Tim understands that. ... We wish him luck, no matter what he does. I hope he's here. He's a great leader, a great locker room guy."

Manning, the NFL's only four-time MVP, was cut by the Colts earlier this month so they could avoid paying him a $28 million contract bonus. Manning continues to recover from multiple neck surgeries that forced him to miss last season.

"Something like this is a historic move," Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil told The Denver Post today. "I don't want to put too much pressure on one guy, but what he's accomplished, if he's healthy, I think he can bring us to one of the dominant organizations."

Schefter also reports that the Broncos will now try to trade Tebow. Could Tebow be heading to New England?

Tebow emerged as a controversial and exciting player last season, when he led the Broncos to the AFC West title after replacing Kyle Orton as the starting quarterback. However, his unconventional play has drawn criticism from some who don't believe he can lead a traditional offense.

The Broncos come to Gillette Stadium to face the Patriots next season, the date has yet to be determined.

Take a look back at Manning vs. the Patriots over the years.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Could Tim Tebow wind up with the Patriots?

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff March 19, 2012 11:55 AM
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow meet at midfield after an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011, in Denver. New England won 41-23.
(AP)
Will there be Tebowing across New England?

According to a radio report by ESPN's John Clayton over the weekend, if the Denver Broncos close the deal with quarterback Peyton Manning, the rumor circulating is that the Broncos may then trade quarterback Tim Tebow to the Patriots.

"Here's an interesting proposition, just a rumor. Let's say you have Manning going to Denver," Clayton said on ESPN Radio over the weekend according to ESPNBoston.com. "Tim Tebow is probably going to be traded. He's not going to Jacksonville, they've already got Chad Henne. New England. You trade him to New England and groom him to be kind of a role player, and then you trade Ryan Mallett in some way. It's just a rumor."

Denver Post columnist Woodie Paige, who once called Tebow the long-awaited successor to John Elway, wrote today that Tebow "likes" the Patriots.

When he was the head coach of the Broncos, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels selected Tebow with pick No. 25 in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft. McDaniels never started Tebow but used him in the Broncos goal-line package before he was fired in December 2010 after less than two years on the job as Denver's head coach.




"Coach McDaniels is a great coach and he'll do a good job," Tebow said in January after McDaniels rejoined the Patriots.

Tebow met with the Patriots prior to the 2010 draft, dining with head coach Bill Belichick in Boston's North End. Belichick, who is also friends with Urban Meyer, Tebow's coach at Florida, spoke last season about what he remembered from the visit.

"We brought Tim in and spent a whole day with him here, in addition to our other interactions with him," Belichick said in December. "He's an impressive young man. He had great success in college, I think all his attributes are pretty well documented. He"s a strong guy, smart, works hard, a great leader, great football character."

One question leading up to the draft was if a team would be willing to give Tebow a shot at playing quarterback, or if he's be better suited at a different position. Nick Caserio, the Patriot' director of player personnel, said last season that the team evaluated Tebow for only one position.

"I don't really think there was any other position he played," Caserio said. "He was a quarterback, and that's what we evaluated him as."

Broncos executive VP of football operations and quarterback legend John Elway never sounded all that convinced Tebow was the right answer at the sport's most important position and now could trade him, even though the popular QB energized the Broncos in leading them to the playoffs last season despite some erratic play.

Tebow is apparently out as Denver's QB only months after the former Heisman Trophy winner was the focus of the NFL regular season and perhaps the most talked-about athlete in sports, a polarizing figure both because of his style of play -- as far as possible from a classic, dropback passer -- and his outspoken religious beliefs.

After taking over a struggling team, Tebow led the Broncos to comeback victory after comeback victory, struggling for three quarters before starring in the fourth quarter and overtime. With an offense transformed into a spread option attack built on Tebow's running, and a strong defense that kept games close, the Broncos won the AFC West title.

Tebowmania reached its apex in the playoffs, when he threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on the very first play of overtime to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The next week, though, Tebow was smothered by the Patriots, who easily eliminated the Broncos 45-10. In the playoff showdown at Gilette Stadium, it was Patriots quarterback Tom Brady who silenced Tebowmania by throwing six touchdown passes to lead the Patriots into the AFC championship game. Tebow finished the game 9 -or-26 passing for 136 yards passing.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper chimed in, saying he hoped Tebow wasn't going anywhere.

"He's a young man, right? And a year or two of working under John Elway and Peyton Manning, you know, I'm not sure any other quarterbacks around the country get that opportunity," Hickenlooper said.

Material from The Boston Globe and The Associated Press was used in this report.

Give Rob Gronkowski a break

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff February 10, 2012 05:44 PM

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Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has caught a lot of flak for his post Super Bowl activities. (Stan Grossfeld / Globe Staff)

After the Patriots lost to the New York Giants 21-17 in the Super Bowl, it's more than conceivable that fans would want to blow off some steam.

Whether that was on message boards, blogs and elsewhere, there were a number of rants to be made on the demise of Tom Brady and company. One would only have to turn to their left and then to their right to get varying opinions on the outcome. And frankly, blaming it on Brady, Wes Welker or whoever else is your choosing. But in the aftermath of a loss with this magnitude, it appears that some venting is entirely without merit. Particularly, how the Patriots deal with a loss.

For Brady, it meant draping his heads in a towel for minutes on end to digest the previous 60. For Welker, it meant borderline crying in front of strangers when having to explain what his drop meant for his team. For Brandon Spikes, it meant walking into a room full of reporters with shades over his eyes, desperately trying to hide his emotions. For others, it meant ducking the media.

But for Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots tight end who for two weeks had the most famous ankle in the world, it meant going dancing shirtless.

Context, please!

After finishing his second NFL season with the most dominant display a tight end has ever put forth (90 catches, 1,327 yards, 18 touchdowns), Gronkowski went out partying post XLVI. Without hesitation, he was ripped mercilessly by former players (Rodney Harrison) and pundits alike. The general consensus of the folks in the "Gronk can't party because he lost crowd" is pretty simple. Partying after a loss gives off the perception that an athlete does not take the loss as seriously as, say, Brady. But this isn't grounded in anything other than spite. Not one person can lay claim to know how Gronkowski feels. Not you, not I. And yet, the perception remains despite overbearing evidence to explain Gronkowski's actions post-Super Sunday.

Gronkowski was out doing exactly what most 22-year-olds would do after bitterly going on vacation for six months. Given the nature of the video, the way he sloppily grooved back and forth, and, yes, his lack of clothing, there is some probable cause to believe that Gronkowski was imbibing. (Is anybody even arguing it?)

Forget the setting and circumstance for a moment. The real question for Gronkowski is why get hammered? Why, for generations of young men, do they turn to alcohol to cope with something depressing like a Super Bowl loss?

Before this starts to sound like a pamphlet for your local AA, remember the circumstances of the professional athlete. There's the public persona, the voluntary and involuntary privacy, the pressure of playing in the National Football League, and then the responsibility that comes with it all. Now understand, sans camera, that no one would question how Gronkowski felt about losing to the Giants. Instead, you and I would point to his postgame interview, judge his demeanor in answering those questions (he was sullen) and then conclude what most in Indianapolis observed long before any video leaked, that No. 87 was upset like the rest of the Patriots.

Is it all the more salacious that he was out and about shirtless? Yes. Of course it is. Does it matter? No, not in the least bit. In seeing Gronk bop back and forth, slaphappy, one could see the reigns being loosened on the 6-foot-6 tight end. He looked like a guy who hadn't had a drink in months. And being of his age, he looked at home on stage with LMFAO, relaxed for once. Cut him some slack. After his surgery, he's going to be on the sofa for awhile.

I'm more worried about his dance moves.

Chad Ochocinco changing name back to Chad Johnson

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff February 9, 2012 04:54 PM

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Chad Ochocinco speaks to the media before the Super Bowl. Ochicinco plans to change his name back to Chad Johnson, according to reports. (Mark Humphrey / AP photo)

Is it love, or is the joke not funny any more? Either way, this summer expect Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco to drop his ubiquitous surname and revert to Chad Johnson, according to a report from TMZ.com.

Ochocinco intends to marry "Basketball Wives" girlfriend Evelyn Lozada. Whether she can stand being Evelyn Ochocinco is a matter up for debate, according to the report, but the receiver has told friends he'll change his name back to Johnson to avoid any issues.

He changed his name in 2008 while a member of the Cincinnati Bengals much to the chagrin of the league. It was his attempt to poke fun at the humorless NFL while equally branding himself as star wide receiver that could simply be known by his jersey number in Spanish. (Yes, this despite 85 translates to ochenta y cinco in Español.)

Report: Patriots assistant Bill O'Brien a head coaching candidate

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff December 29, 2011 06:43 PM

Patriots offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bill O'Brien is a candidate for a head "coach in waiting" position with the Kansas City Chiefs, according to a report from NFL.com's Jason La Conforna.

The Chiefs, according to the report, are looking at removing Romeo Crennel's interim head coaching title and bringing along an offensive coach to his staff that could possibly replace him. Former Patriots assistant Josh McDaniels is also a candidate.

O'Brien's contract is up at the end of this season.

Jets coach Rex Ryan to play a Patriots fan in Adam Sandler movie

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff November 4, 2011 12:22 PM

Sean Gardner/Getty Images

No one will confuse Rex Ryan with Ryan Reynolds, but the Jets coach will be appearing on a silver screen near you in the future.

Ryan will play a Boston lawyer and Patriots fan in the upcoming Adam Sandler flick "Donny's Boy," which filmed in Massachusetts over the summer. The film was originally titled "I Hate You, Dad."

"I'm not going to make a guarantee that there's an Oscar coming, but [Robert] De Niro, Ryan, I don't know, you'll have to see the movie and see what you think," Ryan said today according to The Star-Ledger.

"I do respect (New England) but that was what was so fun about (the movie)," Ryan said. "When I read (the script) I was like 'Oh my gosh,' it was great, it was a lot of fun being on that set. I will say this: it's way more work than I thought it would be. I thought you would go in there and rattle off a few lines and that would be it... I felt like a player just run that play again, run that play again."

On the Rich Eisen podcast Thursday, Sandler said Ryan was "loose and funny" about playing "a mammoth Patriots fan" who talks about Bill Belichick and Tom Brady -- a detail that was written into the script for the Jets coach.

The New Hampshire-bred Sandler is set to play Andy Samberg’s grouchy father in the film, which co-stars Leighton Meester, Vanilla Ice, and Susan Sarandon.

"He's really cool," Sandler, a longtime Jets fan, said of Ryan.

"I saw (Rex) in the hotel in the morning going to the set, and I saw coach [Ryan] running lines with two nice girls that work for the Jets," Sandler said. "Just seeing the coach in the lobby, doing his lines, memorizing, closing his eyes, getting them right.

"Then he put on a suit, kind of a goofy suit, and he did great... he did nail it."

Sounds like quite a feat for Ryan.

Columnist suggests a Giant revival for Randy Moss

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff September 23, 2011 01:44 PM

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Would Randy Moss work with the New York Giants? (Jim Davis / Globe file)

With the decimated state of the New York Giants receiving corps, Randy Moss seems like a viable option to play catch with Eli Manning, writes New York Daily News columnist Tim Smith.

"Yes, it's a desperation call," writes Smith. "But those are the kind that the Giants are going to have to start making if they're interested in salvaging a season that has been ravaged by injuries."

The Giants lost Dominik Hixon to an ACL tear this past week and teammate Mario Manningham is suffering from concussion symptoms.

Smith was unable to reach Moss' agent for comment.

Do you think Moss has a comeback in mind? With the Giants? Is this columnist reaching? Would Moss even work with the Giants? Eli Manning? Let us know below.

Read Smith's column for the Daily News here.

Video: Tom Brady stars in UGG boots commercial

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff September 8, 2011 07:31 AM

We've known for some time that Tom Brady is the spokesman for a male line of UGG boots, but the long-awaited commercial has finally dropped. What do you think? Watch the clip apove and leave a comment in the comments section.

Eli Manning says he's in the same class as Tom Brady

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff August 17, 2011 01:32 PM

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Eli Manning talks to the media during NFL football training camp, Monday, Aug. 15 in East Rutherford, N.J. (Julio Cortez / AP Photo)

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning said he's a top-flight signal-caller in the same class as the Patriots' own Tom Brady.

In an interview with ESPN New York 1050, Manning was asked if he's as good as Brady.

"I consider myself in that class," said Manning, the MVP of Super Bowl XLII. "Tom Brady is a great quarterback, he's a great player and what you've seen with him is he's gotten better every year. He started off winning championships and I think he's a better quarterback now than what he was, in all honesty, when he was winning those championships.

"I think now he's grown up and gotten better every year and that's what I'm trying to do. I kind of hope these next seven years of my quarterback days are my best."

Read more of Manning's comments here.

Mangini joins ESPN as NFL analyst

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff August 4, 2011 01:56 PM

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Former Jets and Browns head coach and Patriots assistant coach Eric Mangini has taken a job with ESPN, the company said today in a press release. Mangini will be added to the analyst lineup on programs such as "NFL Live" and "Sportscenter".

"Eric is one of the smartest football people I've ever been around," said Seth Markman, ESPN senior coordinating producer for NFL studio shows. "Adding him to our roster will enhance our ability to give viewers the best available analysis on the NFL from all angles."

Mangini is a steady presence on camera, having appeared on NBC's "The Today Show" to help break down last season's Super Bowl.

Patriots fans will of course remember Mangini for his role as an assistant on three Patriots Super Bowl teams. A protege of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick in both Cleveland and New England, the relationship between the two coaches publicly soured.

Mangini became the youngest head coach in the NFL when he took over the Jets in 2006, earning the nickname "The Man-Genius" after leading New York to a 10-6 season. He was fired after two more seasons in New York, then fired again after two 5-11 seasons as coach of the Browns.

Rex Ryan explains new tattoo

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff August 2, 2011 02:42 PM

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New York Jets coach Rex Ryan took some time (six seconds) to explain his new tattoo in a video posted on the Jets' Facebook page today.

"The tat means 'Believe in yourself', which I've got no problem doing," said Ryan.

Clearly.

Report: Randy Moss won't return to Titans

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff May 6, 2011 07:35 PM

Randy Moss will probably be looking for his fourth NFL team in two years if this lockout is ever resolved.

Tennessee Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt told the Tennessean he would likely not re-sign the mercurial receiver for the 2011 season.

"I honestly don’t think we’ll try to re-sign him," Reinfeldt said. "We’ve got some young guys we like and I think at this point in his career he will probably go elsewhere."

Moss caught six passes for 80 yards without scoring a touchdown for the Titans in seven games after being cut from the Minnesota Vikings.

The Patriots traded Moss to Minnesota after four games of the 2010 season.

2001 Patriots Super Bowl ring on sale

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff April 27, 2011 12:50 PM

patriotsring.jpgWant to own a piece of Patriots history? It'll cost you an arm -- and more than likely a leg -- but it looks legit.

A 2001 Patriots staff Super Bowl ring (meaning it's not the property of a player or coach) is listed on eBay for $63,000.

The ring comes with an authentication of appraisal, which surprisingly is listed at $15,000. It ships out of Fall River, Mass.

New deal for Felger and Massarotti

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff April 6, 2011 11:25 AM

Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti have built a strong following and strong ratings in their 18 months as 98.5 The Sports Hub's afternoon drive tandem.

Today, they have one more acknowledgment of their success, agreeing to a three-year contract extension to remain with The Sports Hub.

“In the last 18 months, Mike and Tony have built a very compelling show that speaks to an enormously devoted and passionate listener-following,” said Mark Hannon, CBS Radio's senior vice president and market manager. “We are thrilled they will be part of 98.5 The Sports Hub for years to come.”

Said Felger: "This job is a blast. I don't know what I'd do without it. I think this station has been good for Boston. We needed another voice, another perspective. I consider myself lucky to be included among the group that helps provide it."

Not long after its debut in August 2009, the Sports Hub emerged as a legitimate competitor to WEEI (850), which long had a sports-radio monopoly in the market.

Felger and Massarotti have been at the forefront of the Sports Hub's ascent, challenging WEEI's long-established and recently revamped "The Big Show" in the 2-6 p.m. window and frequently winning the battle between the stations in the Arbitron ratings in the crucial men 25-54 demo.

Statement from Florida sheriff's office regarding Meriweather

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 10, 2011 06:04 PM

Here is the statement from Orange County Florida's sheriff's office, in regards to Brandon Meriweather's presence at a shooting in Apopka, Fla.:

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the circumstances of a reported shooting which occurred during the early morning hours on February 28th, 2011, resulting in serious facial/head injuries to Quentin Taylor (24yoa), when he suffered a gunshot to the face and Nico Stanley (23yoa), who was grazed by a fired round.

The Sheriff’s Office responded to the reported scene, but no activity, suspects or scene could be established or located with any certainty at the time of the calls. Shortly thereafter, the Apopka Police Department was advised and responded to a call of two shooting victims at Florida Hospital Apopka, launching our criminal investigation.

While I cannot divulge all of the investigative details, I can advise that the OCSO detectives responded to the hospital and were unable to obtain any identifying information from the victims; one of which was heavily sedated, due to his injuries.

Investigators have been following up on the limited information that has been received since the date of the shooting and were only able to obtain both victims statements, one on Monday and the other yesterday, Wednesday, March 9, 2011 as to the circumstances that led to the shooting and who was present.

Based on this information and investigative follow-up obtained yesterday we can state, based on the confidence of those victim statements, that William Brandon Meriweather, among others, has been identified as being present during the shooting, which resulted in injuries to the two victims and occurred in the area of 17th St. and Marvin C. Sanders, during the early morning hours of February 28th, 2011.

We are not prepared at this time to characterize or disclose Mr. Meriweather’s status in this case, though we do seek to interview him. This past Wednesday investigators received a call from an attorney identifying himself as representing Mr. Meriweather, who stated he was looking to facilitate an interview with his client. We are receptive to this overture (opportunity) and detectives are seeking to further this interview if it can be arranged.

We do want to reach out to anyone who may have witness information in this case to contact our office and offer a statement. I would also caution that investigators are following up on any reports of anyone assisting the shooter in this case or is aware of the location of any evidence or firearm.

I do want to add that as late as this afternoon, detectives have been able to locate a crime scene and have requested the assistance of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit to gather any evidence that can be located.

This case is ongoing and active as we close this afternoon. Once we have any significant developments, we will advise accordingly. I will take a few questions, but will not offer any speculation.

Thank you.


Relative says Brandon Meriweather was trying to break up fight

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff March 10, 2011 05:43 PM
One of Brandon Meriweather's relatives who witnessed the incident at which the Patriots safety is accused of shooting two men said Meriweather was trying to break up a fight between two of his cousins when a gunman opened fire.

The gunshots narrowly missed Meriweather, one bullet striking his cousin, Quentin Taylor, near his mouth and another grazing the head of Taylor's friend, Nico Stanley.

bluejeanslounge.jpgThe witness, who requested anonymity for fear of retribution, said the incident began at the Blue Jeans Lounge in Meriweather's hometown of Apopka, Fla. As a melee erupted around closing time, Stanley's sister became involved in a physical confrontation with another of Meriweather's cousins, Cedric Payne, their relative said.

After the melee, a number of patrons, including Meriweather, rode to Payne's residence in Orlando to continue the party. In the meantime, Nico Stanley went elsewhere to pick up Taylor, then rode to Payne's house to confront him over the incident with Stanley's sister, according to the witness.

"When Quentin came full force at Cedric, Brandon jumped in the middle to try to break up the fight," their relative said. "Brandon had no influence on the fight and didn't have a gun on him."

As Meriweather jostled between his two cousins, one of Taylor's friends, whom the witness identified at Anton Massey, drew a handgun and fired at Payne, mistakenly striking Taylor and Stanley. The witness said Meriweather played no other role in the incident but peacemaker.

"It was very scary," Meriweather's relative said. "Once the gunshots went off, everybody took off running. I was the only person still there because Quentin fell directly at my feet."

The witness recalled screaming, "Help him, help him, pick him up."

"That's when another guy came over and threw Quentin in the car and rushed him to the hospital," the witness said.

By then, Meriweather was gone, having headed for home, his relative said. The alleged gunman was not a friend of Meriweather, according to the witness.

A Florida lawyer was the source of a story this morning that accused Meriweather of being involved in a shooting in Florida, but despite initial reports to the contrary, the lawyer said he did not know if Meriweather was the shooter.

The Orange County sheriff's department this afternoon confirmed that Meriweather was present during the shooting.

"William Brandon Meriweather, among others, has been identified as being present during a shooting... being investigated by this office," Capt. Angelo Nieves said in part of a written statement.

The sheriff's department has stated it is not ready to "characterize" Meriweather's status in the case, but would like to interview him. According to the sheriff's department, a lawyer claiming to represent Meriweather called the department on Wednesday to facilitate an interview.

According to the Sentinel, Meriweather has retained south Florida lawyer Adam Swickle, who told the Orlando newspaper this afternoon that he is aware of the circumstances involving his client.

"I am aware of the investigation," Swickle said. "We are doing our own investigation."

Swickle said would have no other comment because a criminal investigation is ongoing.

John Morgan, who claims he represents the two victims, was asked by sports radio WEEI this morning if he had any doubt that Meriweather was the shooter of his clients.

“I have a lot of doubt about that,” Morgan said. “That’s what these fellas told me, but I don’t assume that to be true at all. I assume nothing to be true until we get an investigation completed. Their allegation to me is … one of the fellas was in a fight with someone else out there and their allegation is that Meriweather shot him. That bullet grazed that fellas head and hit the second client, went through the cheek and head… the cops have had this case for two weeks.”

The Globe's Greg A. Bedard reported via Twitter that a source close to Meriweather said it "wasn't him."

The Patriots released a statement on the matter: “We are aware of the reported allegation, but do not have any additional information." NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league is aware of the report and "looking into it to determine the facts."

According to the Sentinel report, Orange County Sheriff's Office records list Nico Stanley, 23, and Quentin Taylor, 24, as victims in the Feb. 28 shooting on W. 17th Street and S. Central Avenue in Apopka. WESH TV in Orlando reported on Feb. 28 that two men showed up at an Apopka Hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds but that they did not want to press charges and would not cooperate with a police investigation.

The story began to spread when reports on the shooting surfaced Wednesday on the Twitter page of Florida radio personality Dan Sileo, who, like Meriweather, is a former University of Miami football player.

A report on the website Deadspin this morning attributed the details of the case, including naming Meriweather as the shooter, to Morgan.

“I became involved when two clients came to our firm, referred to me, who had been shot at a party two Sundays ago outside a home in Apopka,” Morgan said on WEEI this morning. “There’s an ongoing investigation. The only thing that I can tell you today that’s indisputable is that our clients were shot.”

Morgan was asked if his clients knew Meriweather.

“Yes, they went to high school together,” Morgan said. “One played football there, and one knew him there. I spent a lot of time speaking to them about that, they said, ‘Yeah, that’s who pulled the gun. That’s who shot us.' ”

Morgan was asked about the progress of his firm’s internal investigation in terms of confirming Meriweather’s whereabouts on the night of the shooting.

“We have a lot of things that we believe happened, about where he [Meriweather] was then, and when he left, and when maybe he even came back,” Morgan said. “So, I don’t want to comment on that, but we’re working on that.”

Morgan was asked if he would back out if he found out his clients were lying to him.

"Hell yes. If my clients are lying? Hell yes," he responded. "That's why if I was representing Meriweather, I would get out in front of this and if I'm innocent I'd get out in front of this [Thursday] morning."

In 2006, the summer before his senior year at Miami, Meriweather was involved in a gun controversy when he and teammate Willie Cooper went to check out a suspicious car parked outside their residence when a man next to the house shot at them, hitting Cooper. Meriweather returned the gun fire and the shooter ran away. No one was seriously injured in the exchange.

Meriweather, who had a permit for the gun, was not charged as it was determined he was acting in self defense.

As a senior at Miami, Meriweather was part of a group of Hurricane players who were seen stomping on several Florida International players that were on the ground during an on-field fight. Meriweather was suspended by Miami and the ACC for his participation in the melee.

Meriweather was the Patriots' first-round draft choice in 2007. He is currently the team leader with 12 career interceptions and is a two-time Pro Bowl selection.

Jets' Sanchez allegedly dated 17-year-old

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff February 9, 2011 08:54 AM
For the New York Jets, there apparently is no offseason when it comes to salacious stories.

The latest Jets foolishness to make the headline writers at New York's tabloid newspapers giddy with possibilities broke yesterday, when a post on Deadspin revealed details of quarterback Mark Sanchez's fling with a 17-year-old Greenwich, Conn. high school student whom he met at a bar on New Year's Eve.

(This is the part where we note the age of consent in New Jersey, where Sanchez lives and where the high school senior, identified by Deadspin as "E.K.," admitted they "hooked up," is 16. While Sanchez's common sense may be called into question, he is in no legal trouble. We suspect she may be grounded, however.)

As for the merits of the story. . . well, there really aren't any, beyond whatever gossipy appeal it might have, the relatively interesting details of how Deadspin actually ended up with the story, and the realization that this was taking place during the playoffs, during which Sanchez and the Jets eliminated the Patriots.

It's also sort of funny to note that Sanchez's apparent bedroom -- yes, she provided pictures -- looks like it belongs to a teenaged sports nut, right down to the mini helmets on display and the picture of a football stadium (presumably the New Meadowlands) hanging over the bed. We're going to assume Sanchez's Nerf hoop and his favorite Megan Fox poster were just outside of the frame.

The two lessons to be learned here as far as we can tell:

1) Don't tell Deadspin or post on Facebook that you're hanging out and hooking up with a high-profile NFL quarterback unless you want your world turned upside down.

2) Don't date 17-year-olds if you're an NFL quarterback unless you're really hoping to go to the senior prom this year.

Hey, at least there was no mention of feet.

Is Ochocinco's name game a sign to Patriots?

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff January 26, 2011 11:47 AM

ochocincofinnbrady.jpgGiven his recently stated desire on Twitter to play for the Patriots, we conspiracy theorists here at The Buzz can't help but wonder:

Is Chad Johnson's Ochocinco's Johnson's latest name change part of his plan to hopefully change teams?

The Bengals receiver told host Trey Wingo on ESPN's "NFL Live" last night that he plans on changing his name back to Johnson, three years after he legally changed his surname to Ochocinco in 2008 so he could wear his self-awarded nickname above the No. 85 on his jersey.

(This is the part where our four years of C-plus grades in high school Spanish requires us to note that 85 in Spanish is actually ochenta y cinco. We're pretty sure Johnson couldn't care less, since Ochocinco does sound much cooler.)

Johnson/Ochocinco told Wingo that the name change isn't official yet and he hasn't filed the paper work, but he plans to follow through on it.

"I've done enough with the Ocho thing," he said.

So how does this have anything to do with the Patriots? Simple. The receiver has expressed a desire to play for the Patriots and Bill Belichick a couple of times this offseason, most recently when he sent a message on Twitter to the Herald's Ian Rapoport saying, “PePe and Bill #EPIC.” (FYI, PePe is another nickname Johnson/Ochocinco has for himself.)

At least in a symbolic sense, the name change could signify Johnson/Ochocinco/PePe's desire for a fresh start as well as him sending a signal to Belichick that he's willing to immerse himself in the no-nonsense Patriot Way, where no one changes their last name on a whim and daring to make subversive foot jokes in a press conference is a punishable offense.

While this might be the most obvious case ever of opposites attracting (save for maybe Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett), the reality is that Belichick and Johnson are simpatico.

The coach's admiration of Johnson/Ochocinco/PePe is mutual and genuine. It dates back to a pre-draft workout in 2001 at Southern Cal when Johnson boldly showed up with an Oregon State flag waving atop his car.

They bonded further when Belichick coached him at the 2006 Pro Bowl. When the Patriots played the Bengals in their season opener this year, Belichick sought out the receiver after the game and gave him the kind of friendly embrace Eric Mangini probably always dreamed of.

Belichick spoke fondly of the day after the Patriots lost to the Bengals during the 2009 exhibition season while acknowledging that they are a bit of an odd pairing.

“I don’t know if you can say Chad and I are a lot alike,” said Belichick. “Maybe in some ways we are. But yeah, I respect that about Chad. His enthusiasm for the game and the competitive level that he brings. Though, I don’t like playing against him because he’s a good player, he’s hard to defend.

"I remember when I worked Chad out on the USC campus when he came out for the draft a few years ago. We had a great visit and workout and kind of stayed in touch with him in situations like last night when we play them, before the game and that type of thing, and also at the Pro Bowl a few years ago. We had a chance to spend a week together, along with a lot of other players. He’s a fun-loving guy, very competitive. When he’s on the field, he loves to compete and he works very hard, practices hard. He challenges guys in every situation. I respect that, I think he’s a terrific player. I love his competitiveness. He’s a hard guy to compete against. He’s very good.”

So would Belichick consider bringing him to the Patriots now? Sure, but we're betting it doesn't happen in the end. The Patriots coach is nothing if not prudent, and while the Johnson/Ochocinco/PePe of three or four years ago he would have been a perfect fit, he's lost a step or two at age 30. And the Patriots' biggest need at receiver is someone who can stretch the field.

Of course, if he shows up at Gillette this offseason with a Jets flag waving off his car, who knows what could happen . . .

Brady among GQ's 25 coolest athletes

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff January 25, 2011 04:49 PM

cover-brady.jpgWhen you win three Super Bowls, set a NFL record for touchdown passes, look like you could be on the cover of GQ even if you couldn't spot a football in a sporting goods store, and, oh yeah, marry arguably the world's most famous supermodel, it probably comes as no surprise that you'd make a list of the 25 coolest athletes of all time.

Even if you have been known to cuddle the occasional goat.

So it is that Tom Brady is one of the 25 athletes to make the cut for GQ's list of the coolest athletes of all time. A photo gallery of covers can be found here, while USA Today's breakdown of the list is here.

The Patriots quarterback is one of four football players and three quarterbacks on the list. There are just two baseball players, while basketball is the most represented sport with five players, none of whom answer to Magic or Larry.

For the rest of Brady's cool cohorts, let's break down the magazine's list by sport:

Football: Brady, Jim Brown, Joe Namath, Ken Stabler

Baseball: Bob Gibson, Tim Lincecum

Football and baseball: Bo Jackson

Basketball: Julius Erving, Walt Frazier, Allan Iverson, Michael Jordan, Pete Maravich

Tennis: Arthur Ashe, Bjorn Borg

Auto racing: Mario Andretti

Boxing: Muhammad Ali

Golf: Arnold Palmer, Gary Player

Hockey: Derek Sanderson

Soccer: George Best, Pele

Skiing: Jean-Claude Killy

Surfing: Kelly Slater

Yachting/Media moguling: Ted Turner

Crashing while trying to jump over stuff on a motorcycle: Evel Knievel

Possible oversights (with a Boston slant): Magic Johnson, Rickey Henderson, Bill Russell, Bobby Orr, Mark Messier, David Ortiz, Bode Miller, Earl Monroe, George Gervin, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., Dennis Eckersley, Barry Sanders, Shaq, Andre Agassi, Pedro Martinez.

We could accept Mariano Rivera if meant the continued exclusion of Derek Jeter and A-Rod. As much as we adore Larry Bird, it would be stretching it to call him cool given the short-shorts and wispy mustache.

And Joe Montana, while perhaps not the most charismatic athlete, did win four Super Bowls and probably deserves at least an honorable mention.

After all, he was known as Joe Cool.

Hillis takes a different kind of trash talk

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff January 20, 2011 11:46 AM

peytonhillis609.jpg

Bill Belichick sought out Cleveland running back Peyton Hillis (40) to congratulate him after Browns beat the Patriots 34-14 in Week 8. (Barry Chin / Globe Staff)

Eschewed from the Denver Broncos before his talents were ever identified by Josh McDaniels, Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis is better off. There's no doubt about that.

(Not even before the completion of the 2010-11 season, Hillis's former coach, and Bill Belichick understudy, had been fired from his head coaching position and hired by the St. Louis Rams as an offensive coordinator. Talk about karma.)

Hillis's breakout season was none more apparent than when the Browns faced the Patriots in Week 8, a 34-14 win in which he bulldozed his way to a career-high 184 yards. His team would go on to win only five games this year. But while the Browns continued to disappoint their fan base, Hillis provided a glimmer of pride to the despondent franchise. He finished the year with 1,177 rushing yards, 61 catches for 477 yards and 13 total touchdowns. No Cleveland Brown has created more excitement for the franchise since Brady Quinn was drafted. (Yup, the same guy he was traded for.)

So when it comes to Hillis, there's a lot to talk about. Like, whether or not he can keep it going. Whether or not he can put the franchise on his back. If he hates McDaniels. And for those of us nationally, who barely know him, who exactly he is.

In an interview with Dan Patrick, Hillis dropped a whopper on us after being asked if he understood the whole "novelty of being a white running back." Unfortunately, it harkens back to a week ago with all of the trash talk going on between the Patriots and New York Jets. One wonders whether there is a fine line about what is and isn't acceptable. I'm going to assume that everybody believes the following is unacceptable.

“Yes sir. Well you know since the season is over I haven’t heard too much about it, but you know during the season people would come to me and tell me how exciting it was to see that. It made me happy to know that first and foremost the good lord put me in the position to do it. Secondly, that I could give people hope. Just having that and hearing peoples mind and what they really think is huge to me.”

Dan Patrick: You face a lot of grief and trash-talking in the NFL. What do the players say to you on teams like the New York Jets? Pittsburgh Steelers?

“Yes every team did. You know they’ll say 'You white boy you ain’t gonna run on us today. This is ridiculous why are you giving offensive lineman the ball?' You know all kinds of stuff like that you hear on the field, but I use that to my advantage. I kind of soaked it in, ate it up a little bit because I enjoyed it.”

I'm all for friendly jabber. Even some unfriendly jabber. But this kind of stuff makes me sick.

Forget the fact that Dan Patrick asked the question. (It's a good question.) Forget the fact that he is the only starting white running back in the league. Forget the fact that we were having this conversation about black quarterbacks only a generation ago. This is just stupid. Hillis rushed for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. And I'd go as far as saying he's tops in the league for stiff-arms too. That's all that should matter. However, despite this, he's gotta go to work and deal with being the white running back. I didn't even know that was a label in the NFL. Somebody hide Danny Woodhead.

Maybe Bart Scott's comment about "ending" Wes Welker's career did do some good. With the league telling player's to cool off the rhetoric, it'll hopefully bring the spotlight onto some of the more outrageous things that are actually being said. And if the quips Hillis has received doesn't rank up there, I don't know what does.

Patriots lose to Jets: Oh, barllskdjf

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff January 18, 2011 08:47 PM

New York and Boston newspapers have some of the best headline writers in the country, but not even they could convey the magnitude of the Patriots' loss to the New York Jets as concisely and eloquently as the New Orleans Times-Picayune did Monday.

In what appears to be a placeholder headline that was never replaced, the Times-Picayune used the headline below on the jump page of their story about the Patriots' loss to the Jets in the AFC Divisional playoffs.

Times-Picayune.jpg

It happens. Mistakes slip through the cracks. But you've got to wonder whether this headline didn't just capture the mood of Patriots fans pretty darn perfectly.

'Footgate' update: Weighing in on Welker

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff January 18, 2011 11:11 AM

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's decision to bench starting wide receiver Wes Welker for the opening drive on Sunday continues to be dissected in coffee shops, on the airways, and across the Interweb and Twitterville.

As you know by now, Welker was benched for the Patriots' opening possession after mocking New York Jets coach Rex Ryan during the week. Welker was on the field to receive a punt when the Jets' first offensive series stalled, but Julian Edelman came out for the first series, replacing the now-benched wideout. Welker was back in the game for the Patriots' second possession and finished with seven catches for 57 yards.

This morning, CBS analyst Phil Simms, making an appearance on WEEI's "Dale and Holley Show," was asked how the CBS broadcast team became aware of the news that Belichick would sit Welker for the first series of downs.

CBS said during the game broadcast that Welker was being punished for his remarks during Thursday's press conference in which he made 11 references to feet and toes, a not-so-subtle jab at the recent reports that Ryan's wife has appeared in foot-fetish videos.

"We found out probably about a minute or two minutes before we went on the air that he was gonna be [benched]," Simms said. "It was kind of by accident how we found out. Somebody, you know, heard somebody talking on the field, and we looked into it, and it was verified, so that's why we said it, that they were going to hold him out."

Simms, the former New York Giants quarterback who has known Belichick since 1979 when Belichick began his 12-year stint with the Giants, said he wasn't surprised by the benching. "No it didn't surprise me once I heard they were going to hold him out for the first series. I thought, when Wes Welker did his tongue-and-cheek thing about Rex Ryan this past week, I thought, 'Well, OK, he must have got the OK to go out and kind of attack the Jets a little bit, but apparently he did not have that OK, and he paid the price by missing the first series.' "

The folklore from footgate is growing, according to Simms: "I love the take I've been hearing today as I've done a few interviews, 'Well Rex Ryan ran down the tunnel with Antonio Cromartie, he supported his guy and Bill Belichick did the opposite. That's what really... ' and I went 'Oh, my God,' we are digging too much, searching too much. It's truly absurd. It had nothing to do with the outcome of the game and I promise you players on the Patriots were not sitting over there going, 'Oh my gosh, he did that to Wes, I can't believe it.' Hey man, players play. They go out there and they're worried about themselves. They're not worried about the other guy, and it had nothing to do with the performance of the Patriots."

When asked after the game why Welker didn't start, Belichick said, "I don't have any comment on that."

During his weekly appearance on WEEI's "Dennis and Callahan Show" on Monday, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady discounted any benching factored into the outcome of the game.

"That has no bearing on the way that we played as a team," Brady said. "I think that's just, I don't know, I don't think it had any effect on the game. What has the most effect on the game is the way that we played."

Brady went on to say that Welker's sense of humor came into play during his press conference performance.

"That's Wes' personality. Wes is a very fun, positive, energetic person," Brady said. "With all the things that were coming out of New York, I think Wes just thought it would be funny to combat it in his own way."

"I don't think that's any reason why we lost the game," he said

During his weekly interview on WEEI later on Monday, Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork said he didn't didn't even know Welker had been benched for the first offensive series until after the game was over.

Wilfork did not think the Welker benching had an effect on the loss, but he disagreed with Belichick on the decision to sit the wide receiver for the first series.

"I don't think it was a big deal, the comments Wes said or the benching. People have opinions and in my opinion, I wouldn't have done it because of what the game meant," Wilfork said. "To each his own. I'm not questioning the head man's judgment at all, it's just my opinion."

Jets cornerback Bart Scott, who took offense to the foot-and-toe remarks, said on Friday that Welker's "days in a uniform are numbered" and, when asked to clarify, said: "I meant that I was going to try and take my helmet and try to ram it through his chest."

An NFL official warned both teams about the trash-talking. But after the game, Scott was unapologetic.

"I can take comments however I choose to," said Scott, who also played for Ryan in Baltimore. "That's my privilege. I took offense to it. I handled it that way and I stand behind my words. ... And if I get another opportunity, let him come through the middle and I'm going try to put him through the ground."

Scott had more to say to NFL Network's Albert Breer about Welker's comments. "It was out of character," Scott said. "That's not what he [Welker] does. It takes a lot of balls to put that out there. What happens is you put a bull's eye on yourself, everyone wants to see you put your foot in your mouth.

"And now he gets the opportunity to step out of character, tries to be us. There's enough New York Jets in the world, we don't need anyone else trying to copy our blueprint."

Former NFL linebacker and local media personality Steve DeOssie, who played for Belichick, offered an interesting take on the Welker benching situation on Channel 4's "Sports Final" on Sunday night.

Host Steve Burton asked DeOssie if he thought the Welker benching was a little harsh.

"No, as a matter of fact I don't," DeOssie said. "I expected some repercussions. I'm hearing, and this is unconfirmed, that Belichick called Welker into his office, after initially denying it, [Welker] admitted that it was something that was done on purpose.

"From what I understand is he denied it initially, after talking to Bill [Belichick], came clean about it. There's no choice at that point. If you run a team a certain way, you have to be consistent. It doesn't matter if it's the 53d guy on your roster or if it's the star wide receiver, you're going to have to be consistent and he benched him to start that game. Neither of them commented on it, but we saw Wes Welker not in there for the first series.

"That was a direct repercussion for him going out of the box and doing something that the Patriots A.) don't usually do, or hardly ever do, and B.) is expressly forbidden by Bill Belichick. He runs the show. It doesn't matter who you are in that situation."

"There was probably a bet in the locker room that you couldn't make 10 foot references in one press conference and keep a straight face. He got his money. He didn't get to start the game, but he got his money. It's just talk in the locker room, guys are goofing on things, and this evolved to something that quite frankly, was not that great an idea."

After Sunday's loss to the Jets, Welker would neither confirm nor deny that he was benched.

"I [was] just waiting for the opportunity to go out there and play," he said after the Jets beat the Patriots 28-21 to advance to the AFC title game. "At the end of the day, I respect the Jets. I respect Rex Ryan. They played better than us, and they won."

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Video: 'Sounds of the year' NFL 2010 remix

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff December 28, 2010 01:16 PM

Venerable DJ Steve Porter from PorterHouse Media in Holyoke and creator of "One Clap featuring Randy Moss," has done it again.

ESPN has just debuted the above video "Sounds of the year," which features appearances by Moss, Tom Brady, Jets coach Rex Ryan, and other NFL notables.

Is that Mrs. Rex Ryan in online foot-fetish videos?

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff December 22, 2010 10:47 AM

Right about now, Rex Ryan is probably longing for the days when any questions about feet had to do with kicker Nick Folk.

The Jets coach, already a favorite of the New York tabloids for his openness, quotability, and bombastic proclamations, finds his name in the news for an entirely unexpected reason, though the word "foot" is rather prominent.

As you may have heard, Deadspin.com posted a series of videos yesterday featuring a woman bearing a striking resemblance to Ryan's wife, Michelle Ryan.

In the clips, the woman, whom Deadspin reported goes by "ihaveprettyfeet" on YouTube, talks to a man off-screen who sounds remarkably similar to Ryan. The topic: The attractiveness of her feet.

"I know you have to ask, it's a personal matter," Ryan told reporters during a conference call today.

Earlier this morning, the Jets issued at statement that said: "This is personal matter and Rex will have no comment."

There does seem to be at least some circumstantial evidence beyond the extremely similar physical appearance that suggests it is Michelle Ryan in the foot-fetish videos. Deadspin reported that the user "ihaveprettyfeet" listed her location as on a foot fetish site as Ellicott City, Maryland. That is reportedly where the Ryans lived when Rex Ryan was the Baltimore Ravens' defensive coordinator. Deadspin also noted that in another profile, a user's birthday is an exact match to Rex Ryan's.

In one of several clips on Deadspin, the woman is sitting in an SUV with her bare feet hanging out the window. The approaching camera man tells her, in a very Rex-ish voice, that she has beautiful feet. She thanks him in so many words, and he responds by asking two questions.

"You mind if I touch them?"

And: "Can I smell them?"

It should be noted that the man does not say "Now let's go have a ---- snack" in the video, which is perhaps Rex Ryan's most famous one-liner.

Think Patriots fans may have some fun with this? Almost makes one hope they face the Jets in the playoffs. At the very least, they'll keep Ryan on his toes. (Sorry.)

Danny Woodhead sells his own Patriots jersey posing as Modell's store employee

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff December 17, 2010 11:32 PM

Danny Woodhead, the powerful pocket-sized running back for the New England Patriots, attempted to go unrecognized by shoppers at Modell's Sporting Goods where he posed as an employee and worked to sell his own No. 39 Patriots jerseys and t-shirts.

"I'm working today," Woodhead says during the behind-the-scenes intro prior to hitting the sales floor. "My name is 'Dan' today. We're gonna rock and roll and try to sell some jerseys."

In the video above, Woodhead, who's generously listed at 5-feet-9-inches by the Patriots, was called "too little" by one shopper and his identity was almost revealed by a woman who ended up buying a jersey.

"Trying to help sell these, 'cause they're new," Woodhead says in a sales pitch to a potential customer. "I think he's a... I don't know him personally, but I think he's a likable guy, I think this would be a good buy, don't you? Maybe?"

At Modell's stores, Woodhead t-shirts are outselling even those of uberpopular quarterback Tom Brady. According to Modell's executive Jed Berger in the Herald, Woodhead’s popularity is due to the fact that "the Patriots haven’t had a new hero in a long time," so Woodhead’s emergence provided "someone fresh to cheer about."

Woodhead said he sold seven jerseys and seven t-shirts in an hour's time on the sales floor. "Fourteen things in an hour isn't too bad," Woodhead said in closing after the hilarious spoof.

Seymour lays smackdown on Roethlisberger

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff November 22, 2010 08:23 AM

In case you missed it yesterday (see video above), old friend Richard Seymour was ejected from the Steelers-Raiders game after the defensive end hit Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the face.

Seymour, who won three Super Bowls with the Patriots, turned and struck Roethlisberger as the quarterback ran up behind him while celebrating a 22-yard touchdown pass that put the Steelers ahead 21-3 late in the second quarter.

Seymour, who may also face a heavy fine and/or suspension by the NFL, said the smack on Big Ben was a "natural reaction."

"I apologize to my teammates," Seymour said after the Raiders lost to the Steelers, 35-3. "I never want to do anything to hurt the team. You always want to protect yourself, but there's no excuse. ... I'm not sure why he [Roethlisberger] ran up on me. I just turned around and it was a natural reaction."

Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who has already been fined $100,000 for hard hits this season, wants the NFL to discipline Seymour harshly for the smackdown.

"I would hope he [Seymour] would hear from the league a lot worse than I did," Harrison said. "I'm playing the game within the whistle. What he did was way outside of it. Tell me what the next step is for a guy who blatantly outside of the play, a guy's celebrating with his teammates and you punch him in his face?"

Steelers guard Chris Kemoeatu voiced his displeasure with the hit on his quarterback. "I thought that was cheap," Kemoeatu said. "Real cheap. He's been in the league long enough and I thought it was uncalled for and selfish on his part."

Roethlisberger did not sound particularly upset about the incident after the game. "It is what it is," the Steelers quarterback said after the game. "I wasn't expecting that from him."

Roethlisberger was suspended for the first four games of the season under the NFL’s personal conduct policy relating to sexual assault allegations against him earlier in the year.

Man leaves New England to be closer to Cleveland Browns

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff October 16, 2010 03:02 PM

The Patriots just weren't good enough. Not for this Browns fan.

The Cleveland Plain-Dealer had a story yesterday about Eric Barr, a East Hartford, Conn., resident up until about a month ago who threw it all away to follow his precious Cleveland Browns.

His is a story of dedication.

Last month, Barr showed up to work at the Kichler Lighting warehouse in East Hartford, Conn., and sat down with his boss.

"He came to me and said, 'Listen, I'm going to live my dream,' " remembers Michael Flanagan, Barr's supervisor. " 'I'm going to move to Cleveland, and I'm going to follow the Browns, and that's it.' "

Flanagan and the other guys around the warehouse had harassed Barr for years because of his devotion to a team in a city more than 500 miles west, a city where Barr had never even lived. They had heard him talk about moving for years.

This reminds me of .... well, nothing. It's the first time we've heard of a fan going to this extreme, for a team and city in which he has never lived. Read the full story here.

Report: Moss, Brady had words

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff October 10, 2010 01:34 PM

File this one into the "juicy-details-we hope-are-true" folder.

CBS analyst Charley Casserly reported on today's NFL pregame show that Tom Brady and Randy Moss "had to be separated" recently following an altercation in the Patriots locker room. Moss was traded from the Patriots to the Vikings last week, a surprising move considering the team's on-field success (3-1) so far this season.

"One of Brady's problems with Moss was his behavior as a Patriot," said Casserly. "One of the things overheard was Brady telling Moss, 'You've got to cut your beard.' And Moss counters, 'You've got to get your hair cut. You look like a girl.'"

The report counters the public statements this week -- by both the Patriots and Moss -- that the team's separation from the player was amicable, and that behavior was not a factor in the deal.

"Some things in New England didn't go according to plan," Moss said in his introductory press conference with the Vikings. "And here I am. What me and coach Belichick talked about, I don't really want to make public."

Brady made a brief public comment about Moss on the Patriots' All Access program this week.

"Randy really knows how I feel about him, you know I love him as a guy, as a person, as a player. He did a lot of great things for this team," Brady said. "At the same time, I think coach Belichick feels that that's what he needs to do for the team, so we as players, we deal with it and we move on. I think I've been around long enough to realize that nothing really surprises me, and the best thing I can do is be the best quarterback I can be for the team."

The report, of course, is much more than you'd ever get out of the Patriots publicly in reference to Moss. And the Patriots -- if they comment at all -- are likely to refute Casserly's he-said, he-said claims. In reference to a report Casserly made last season about Brady playing with broken ribs, Belichick came out fighting.

"Who's been wrong more than Charley Casserly since he left the Redskins? His percentage is like a meteorologist," Belichick said. "He has no relationship to this team. I'd say less than zero. Based on what? He's never at a practice, never at a game… At least he put his name on it which is more than a lot of guys. But, like he usually is, he was 100 percent wrong."

On his relationship with Moss, Belichick told the media this week, "He's been a player I've always had a good relationship with, and he's been very honest when I've asked him questions about football, personnel and things like that. He's been very helpful to me, personally, and very professional, a good teammate, and a good contributing member of this team."

Patriots fan has dinner with Ochocinco

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff September 14, 2010 04:11 PM

Will DiTullio and Chad Ochocinco

(Photo courtesy of Will DiTullio)

Ochocinco steps up to the plate... the dinner plate.

Outspoken Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco made good on his Twitter promise to take a Patriots fan out to dinner while he was in town for the Patriots-Bengals season opener. On Saturday, Ochocinco took season ticket holder Will DiTullio and his wife Julianne out to dinner in Providence.

"I got in touch with Chad via Twitter," DiTullio wrote in an e-mail today. "Eventually we started trading e-mails back and forth. I asked if he was going to meet New England fans when he got into town and I received an e-mail from Chad this past Saturday morning, where he told me to come down to Providence and we could meet up, find a venue, and grab a bite to eat.

"So we went down to Providence and met him. Chad was unbelievable. Very, very, very nice. We talked Patriots, playing with T.O., Celtics/Heat, and life in general. The whole experience was very nice. I was almost embarrassed that he would pay for our dinner. I would have been happy with a picture."

Ochocinco gets slammed in Cincinnati for leaving early

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff September 14, 2010 08:24 AM

Talk about a smackdown.

Bengals wide receiver Ochocinco got one from WWE wrestling champion Mike "The Miz" Mizanin in Cincinnati last night. [In the video above, start at the 4:20 mark to see Ochocinco take the ring]

Ochocinco, who was widely panned for heading to the locker room before halftime at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, was a guest star on the season premiere of WWE Monday Night Raw wrestling show last night and got taken down verbally by the champ.

Fresh off a 38-24 drubbing at the hands of the Patriots, Ochocinco was bragging about the Bengals winning the AFC North championship last season and how they were getting ready to win it all this year. "Not just myself, but I got my boy T.O. and the rest of my teammates," Ochocinco said. " And we getting ready to go get a Super Bowl championship this year."

Ochocinco was then interrupted in the ring by the WWE United States champion.

"That's funny because the only thing I've seen you and T.O. do together is leave the game just before halftime only for your team to throw a Hail Mary pass," The Miz said. "And where are their star wide receivers? In the locker room tweeting."

After the initial verbal hammering by Mizanin, the best response Ochocinco could muster was his signature "Child, please" comeback line.

T.Ocho show debuts tonight

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff September 7, 2010 02:38 PM


Bet you can't wait for Sunday to see what's coming next out of the mouths of the Bengals' spotlight-loving wide receivers, Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, right?

There's no need to wait until the Bengals play the Patriots at Gillette Stadium this weekend. Check out Versus tonight at 11 p.m. for the debut of "The T.Ocho Show." It launches as part of the network's nightly sports show called "The Daily Line" and will run there for five weeks before it gets its own time slot Oct. 12.

The folks at Versus provided some preview videos, and they're posted above and below this text.

Topics promised on the versus.com web site include the best and worst of Twitter, memorable moments from both players' reality shows on VH1, the dating habits of Kim Kardashian and Rex Ryan's eating habits.

Report claims Brady offered three-year contract extension

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff September 7, 2010 10:01 AM

The Boston Herald has reported that the Patriots have offered quarterback Tom Brady a three-year, $58 million contract extension, citing "sources close to the negotiation."

The Globe's Patriots reporters are working to confirm the report. Keep an eye on the Extra Points blog for updates.

According to the Herald, the extension would begin after this season.

Ochocinco wishes Bodden well, makes Week 1 promise

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff September 1, 2010 08:48 AM

ochocinco.jpgFirst reaction upon hearing the news Patriots cornerback Leigh Bodden would miss the season on injured reserve: What does Chad Ochocinco think about that?

That led to the discovery of what the Bengals' receiver is promising to do if he scores a touchdown at Gillette Stadium in Week 1 when the Bengals meet the Patriots Sept. 12.

Ochocinco used Twitter pretty much from the day the NFL schedules were finalized to talk smack about matching up against Bodden in the Patriots' opener

So back to Twitter we go and here's what @OGOchoCinco said after the Bodden news broke yesterday:

@LeighBodden bruh you in my prayers on a speedy recovery, you give me hell when we play and i was looking forward to next weeks game #1luv

@LeighBodden bruh that shh was gonna be #EPIC man, i said it before and i will say it again you give a (expletive) hell, get healthy

So great, he was diplomatic and all. But the next Tweet was the real news of the day.

#promisetweet I f i am able to score week 1 in New England i will be taking the minute men rifle and firing as they do when the PATS score

We'll see what the Minutemen have to say about that.

600chadtweet.jpg

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