Linebacker Dane Fletcher, who has spent the past four seasons in New England, will visit with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tuesday night, according to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora.
Bucs remain very active, LB Dane Fletcher will start his visit with them tonight— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 11, 2014
As the Patriots' backup middle linebacker, Fletcher played sparsely through the past two seasons after recovering from an ACL tear. He missed the entire 2012 season and was a core special teams member in 2013 while contributing on dime and nickel packages on defense. He totaled 26 tackles, 2 sacks, and a forced fumble in 2013.
amicably. (Bob Leverone / AP photo)
Brandon Spikes knew he wasn't long for New England.
The veteran linebacker had seen his snaps decrease on passing downs and had bumped heads with management, especially after he was placed on injured reserve this past season with a knee injury. That move, Spikes and his agent have said, was debatable.
But his issues went further with the Patriots. He was often seen as one of the Patriots players that were muzzled, unable to speak freely, so he avoided reporters as much as possible for fear of retribution. He had a gift of gab, which often led to trouble on Twitter with the organization.
On Tuesday, as the NFL free agency period opened, Spikes gave his thanks to the team on the social network. But he also hinted at the underlying issues he had that kept him from enjoying himself.March 11, 2014
In 16 games for the Patriots in 2013, Spikes tallied 86 tackles, good for third on the team.
The Patriots let their top wide receiver leave in free agency last offseason, and may do the same this year, too.
Julian Edelman has not been able to reach a deal on a new contract and will shop his services to other teams when free agency begins at 4 p.m. today, a league source told the Globe.
Edelman, entering his sixth NFL season, is coming off a breakout year in which he led the Patriots with 105 catches for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns in 2013. The source said that Edelman has had extensive talks with the Patriots through Tuesday and will continue to negotiate with the team, but he will test the market, as well. It is believed that Cleveland, Baltimore and Houston also have interest in Edelman, who could be looking to better the $10 million guaranteed that the Patriots gave Danny Amendola last season.
Edelman would like to return to the Patriots, but doesnít seem intent on giving them a hometown discount. Last year, he barely received any interest in free agency and he returned to the Patriots on a 1-year, league-minimum contract with incentives.
After establishing himself as the teamís top receiver, Edelman wants to cash in this time, especially since big NFL pay days only come once or twice in a career.
ďItís just business,Ē the source said.
The Patriots were unable to reach an agreement with wide receiver Julian Edelman, according to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Edelman, in his sixth NFL season, will test the market.
Patriots and WR Julian Edelman were unable to reach a deal today and he will test the market.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2014
The Patriots had reportedly offered Edelman a 3-year deal that they wanted him to accept by 4 p.m., when free agency opened. But apparently the terms of that deal weren't enticing enough for Edelman to bite.
The Patriots may seek to replace middle linebacker Brandon Spikes with one of the more prominent linebackers in free agency, soon-to-be former Denver Bronco Wesley Woodyard.
Woodyard told the Denver Post's Brandon Krisztal that he would visit New England among other places.
Despite interest from DAL, source close to Wesley Woodyard told me his 1st trip is to NE, with another team visit planned after— Brandon Krisztal (@BKDenverSports) March 11, 2014
Woodyard, a seven-year pro, recorded 84 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and an interception for the Broncos last season.
Hat tip to Doug Kyed at NESN for spotting this first.
It probably brings up the question why Aaron Dobson didnít address his foot injury in the month-plus since the New England Patriots last took action, but the rookie wide receiver will miss the next 2-3 months after undergoing surgery for a stress fracture.
Multiple reports confirmed the injury this week. The setback will put Dobson behind during the spring workout schedule, but should be ready for training camp come July.
Dobson, a second-round pick out of Marshall University, had 37 catches for 519 yards and four touchdowns in his 2013 rookie season. The injury to his foot came in Week 12.
Julian Edelman is most certainly still in the Patriots' plans going forward. The team offered the sixth-year wide receiver a 3-year deal, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.
#Patriots offered WR Julian Edelman a three-year deal, per source. Would like an answer by the start of free agency. They want to keep him— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 11, 2014
The kicker, of course, is that they want him to accept before the free agency period opens today at 4 p.m. The team has reportedly been negotiating with Edelman for a couple of weeks now. For news of a proposed deal to come five hours before free agency opens leads us to believe that the Patriots are trying to put pressure on Edelman.
It's up to him whether or not he'll be back, at least on these terms, at this point.
The NFL free agency period officially opens at 4 p.m. today, but the rumor mill is already running on all cylinders.
NFL teams have been able to begin negotiations with players from other teams since Sunday, while other teams have assessed their own salary cap space and have made cost-cutting decisions in order to make a play in the market. The New York Jets, for instance, have already cut wide receiver Santonio Holmes ($8.25 million cap savings) and cornerback Antonio Cromartie ($9.5 million cap savings), while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking to trade or possibly cut Darrelle Revis ($16 million cap savings).
For the Patriots, talks of negotiations with free agents Julian Edelman and Aqib Talib continue to permeate the blogosphere.
But at the end of the day, it's all really about the money. There's a ton of talent in the free agency pool that wants to get paid. And with only four players tagged as franchise players, you can be certain that the argument being made by each player's agent is that they deserve a top deal for their position.
The NFL actually tweeted a very compelling reason for the mad, money scramble that's going to occur today.March 11, 2014
With all that money out there in Oakland, Jacksonville, and Cleveland, you gotta figure some of these teams will get better in 2014 with the talented players on the market now.
See a list of the Patriots possible free agent targets here.
The Patriots announced they have released four players: defensive lineman Cory Grissom, running back Sam McGuffie, wide receiver T.J. Moe, and linebacker Taylor Reed.
All of them, going into their second year in the NFL, went undrafted last season.
Grissom and Moe were rookie free agent pickups by the Patriots. McGuffie, 24, finished the 2013 season on the Patriots practice squad after spending time with the Oakland Raiders. Reed spent part of the 2013 season with the Dallas Cowboys before finding his way to New England.
In addition, Patriots running back Quentin Hines and offensive tackle Elvis Fisher failed physicals, according to the NFL's transaction wire, and were waived.
Offensive tackle Brice Schwab was also listed among the team's waived players on the transaction wire.
Free agency doesnít officially start until 4 p.m. Tuesday, but the Patriots made a move Monday morning by agreeing to a two-year contract with tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, a league source confirmed.
Hoomanawanui, 25, is a blocking tight end and special teams contributor who played a larger-than-expected role last year after Aaron Hernandez was cut and Rob Gronkowski missed 11 total games with injury.
Hoomanawanui, entering his fifth NFL season, played more than 58 percent of snaps in the regular season, catching 12 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown in 13 games.
Terms of the contract were undisclosed, but Hoomanawanui played last year for the minimum $630,000 plus incentives. He spent two years with the Rams before coming to New England for the 2012 season.
The Patriots can still sign their own free agents ó Julian Edelman, Aqib Talib, Brandon Spikes, Ryan Wendell, and others ó at any time, and can officially sign free agents from other teams Tuesday afternoon.
The Patriots also released injured receiver T.J. Moe, his agent said on Twitter. Moe, an undrafted free agent rookie slot receiver out of Missouri last year, missed the entire season after tearing his Achillesí tendon in an offseason workout in May.
The Patriots have begun the process of addressing their 12 free agents, re-signing long snapper Danny Aiken, according to a report by ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss.
Aiken will be on a one-year deal, according to the report, securing his place on the team with kicker Stephen Gostkowski and punter Ryan Allen as the specialists.
Aiken has been with the Patriots since 2011 after being claimed off waivers from the Buffalo Bills. He has snapped in every single game for the Patriots since that time. He had been slated to become a restricted free agent March 11.
The Patriots still have to address a number of position players who are set to hit the market. Linebacker Brandon Spikes, appearing on NFL Network's "NFL AM" Friday morning, has said it's time for him to move on. Meanwhile, the team has reportedly reached out to wide receiver Julian Edelman to strike a deal and has had continued negotiations with cornerback Aqib Talib.
The Patriots have declined to use the franchise- and transition-tag options for any of their 12 free agents, including cornerback Aqib Talib and wide receiver Julian Edelman.
Had the Patriots opted to use the popular franchise tag, Talib would've cost them $11.834 million this upcoming season. Had Edelman been franchised, the Patriots would've had to pay the six-year veteran $12.312 million.
Those kind of gaudy numbers probably scared off the Patriots, even after an almost 10 percent increase in the salary cap to $133 million.
The Patriots reportedly were already in negotiations with Talib at the NFL Scouting Combine, and continued negotiations would work in the team's favor for long-term cap space. Talib is largely considered one of the top free agents on the market after his first full season with New England.
The NFL set its 2014 salary cap at $133 million, almost $10 million more than 2013.
Along with determining the salary cap, franchise tag numbers for individual positions have also been determined, according to NFL.com analyst Albert Breer.
Official franchise tag numbers for '14 (Offense): QB $16.912M; RB $9.54M; WR $12.312M; TE $7.035M; OL $11.654M.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 28, 2014
Official franchise tag numbers for '14 (Defense/ST): DE $13.116M; DT $9.654M; LB $11.455M; CB $11.834M; S $8.433M; K/P $3.556M.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 28, 2014
So if the Patriots want to tag free agent cornerback Aqib Talib, it would cost the team $11.834 million. If the Patriots were to tag free agent wide receiver Julian Edelman, it would cost the team $12.312 million.
Patriots president Jonathan Kraft told a sprawling crowd of sports statistic aficionados that if Tom Brady were to go through the NFL draft gauntlet now, even with a healthy amount of new analytics to analyze the now veteran quarterback, he still would've likely been a late-round draft pick.
Kraft was participating in the "Building a Dynasty" panel session with former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at the Hynes Convention Center.
Brady was famously drafted 199th overall in the sixth round of the 2000 draft. Six other quarterbacks were taken in front of him. Kraft said Brady had caught Belichick's eye as someone with tons of value in the 2000 draft despite the Patriots being wedded to Drew Bledsoe.
"I gotta go back and give Bill and Scott Pioli, who were running our personnel department at the time here, a little bit of credit here because we had Drew Bledsoe on our team and we had just given him a large contract," Kraft said. "It was Billís first draft and we had a lot of needs. Brady was rated pretty highly on the board and in the fifth round ó we took Brady in the sixth ó Bill walked over to the board and picked up Bradyís card, looked at Scott, and said 'whatís Brady still doing here? Thereís too much value to be sitting here. This kidís a winner.í
"Basically, Iím paraphrasing, and Pioliís like, Ďyeah,í " Kraft said. "And Iím remembering Iím standing there with my dad and we were staring at each other like Ďwhy would we take another quarterback when we have all these other needs.í In the sixth round, when it was about eight picks away, 10 picks away, Bill started to get very focused on drafting Brady because I think he thought the value was just way too great."
Kraft goes on and explains that there was a different set of metrics that Belichick and Pioli were using to evaluate players.
"I think it came down to the intangibles," he said. "I think each team has its own way of evaluating players. I betcha for a lot of people because Tom ran a 5.2 or 5.3 [40-yard dash] and didnít appear that athletic, he would be off the board. I think his coachability and his passion for the game and his record as a starter ó when he starts, he wins ó I think that might even carry more weight other places.
"But I wouldnít see people thinking about him as a raw talent, as a first, second, or third round draft pick. In the first, second rounds you need to take your best guess at statistical sure things because those players, in a salary cap world, if they can come in and play like good, starting veterans but under the rookie wage scale, you have a competitive advantage. And people are always weighing the cost-benefits of that.
"So the same Brady weíve seen, I would argue, he deserves to be the first pick, but I donít know that it would happen today."
Kraft also talked about the Patriots' acrimonious split with wide receiver Wes Welker, who signed with the Denver Broncos on a 2-year contract for $12 million. The panel's moderator, ESPN Boston columnist Jackie MacMullan, asked him to explain the process of declining to re-sign Welker and sign Danny Amendola so quickly afterward.
"I think the [issue with] Wes Welker goes back to the start of the season before," he said. "We had franchised him the season before. The idea was to try to work to a long-term deal. We had actually offered Wes a deal the summer before that on a three-year basis wouldíve left him in a financially better place than what heís gonna end up having been in over those three years. But we were willing to do that at a certain time when his production was at a certain level, his age was at a certain level, and he was performing as a player. When we went another year into the process, we still in our head had a value that we were able to place on the player. The player and his agent thought that their value in the open market was going to be greater.
"Going back to the consistency theme, Wes wouldíve been our first choice," Kraft said. "There was a dollar figure at that point that we werenít willing to go beyond. And you put insurance in place by knowing what youíll do if you canít make a deal with that player. That involves going out and looking at the other guys in the league.
"We look at their age, we look at their physical measurables, and we place a dollar value to all of that.
"We still offered Wes before free agency started, more than he ended up getting in the open market. But once free agency started, we went out and signed Danny [Amendola] because he fit a construct that worked within our system and we couldnít take the risk of losing both Wes and Danny. So it really wasnít as much about the money, it was about trying to do a deal with Wes before free agency started. His agent had a view of the world that we didnít think was realistic. Thereís definitely a lot of analysis that play that position in the league at that point in time."
Also of note:
- Kraft said the Patriots have a "qualitative" way of determining coachability, leadership, and instincts of prospective players that gives them a numerical grade in evaluations.
- "We were in a meeting the other day, Bill, Robert and myself, there was a lot of pushing and questioning and back and forth," Kraft said of Belichick being pushed in the organization. "The more credibility and track record you have of doing things, he'll listen to you. You're allowed to push back. Bill takes it all right."
- Kraft also said the salary cap was a large reason why his family bought the team, which helped level the playing field. The cap made evaluating talent and coaching that much more important than money, he said, taking away from the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys at the time.
- "Weíll be launching a cloud based scouting app that I think is light years ahead of anything else in the league," Kraft said. "That was something that was pushed by us that I think will allow us to collect more data real time in the field, have the draft evaluation process done quicker and sooner, and allow the coaches, if they want to in season, because theyíre trying to evaluate a position now and thinking about the next year, [find out] are there going to be guys in the draft? In the old days, youíd have to pick up the phone and call upstairs and talk to somebody upstairs. Now, if Bill is interested, heíll be able to go to his tablet or go to his desktop and in a very efficient and very multimedia way and get real data instantly but within a minute or two be very smart on somebody."
- "Bill [Belichick] is somebody who I think will check out when he's not there" anymore trying and driven to win, Kraft said. "And I think for us, I think we'll check out if the family isn't driven that way, we'll check out of the business too. Because it's a lousy business to be in if you're not winning. In this business, it's all about winning. If you're not winning, there's plenty of other ways to make money."
Power brokers in the NFL, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, and soccer are all present for this weekís MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at the Hynes Convention Center.
Among the topics of emphasis so far for the two-day conference has been wearable technology and how the technology and data being poured into each respective sport is helping to determine an athleteís peak performance as well as health and safety.
Basically, an article is either inserted or attached on player uniforms to measure heart rate, explosiveness, or simply movement.
Take for instance Zebra Technologies International, which has a display set up at the conference to promote itís service to teams. The Illinois based company just got in the sports tech business a little more than a year ago and currently has two NFL clients and numerous college football teams. (They wonít disclose who these clients are citing competitive disadvantage.) Zebra inserts little stickers onto players to measure the force of each activity, helping to better define player movement, hits, and, essentially, trauma.
ďIn college, whatís really fascinating about using wearable technologies on players is there is a lot of emphasis on health and safety,Ē said Jill Stelfox, vice president and general manager for Location Solutions at Zebra. ďSo if youíre a linebacker, I think traditionally what we want is big guys on that front line. Well that comes with a lot of force. So force is mass and speed. So the bigger you are, the more force you bring and the more force is brought on you. When you look at health and safety in linemen, for example on injuries, we can tell you on every play what the force is on any given player.Ē
NFL teams, using this kind of advanced technology, can better learn whether a player has suffered an injury or may even be experiencing the symptoms of a concussion.
ďAnd the interesting thing about concussions is certainly we all know one good hit can cause a concussion,Ē Stelfox said. ďBut so can 10 medium hits. Itís the succession of movement that can cause the concussion. So we wonít say you have one, but we can say look, this is an indicator.Ē
For adidas, their MiCoach wearable technology (also on display) is more geared to determining the optimal player explosiveness. MLS teams like the New England Revolution use MiCoach, which is like a battery cell inserted into the top back portion of a playerís kit.
The problem, as Max Reckers of adidas points out, is that sometimes this kind of technology can be used as a hammer on players.
ďIf youíre using the tool like a stick, and you hit him with it, you will lose him,Ē Reckers said.
The goal, Stelfox explains, is to give coaches, trainers, and doctors better information.
ďThe one thing that we definitely know is that this movement of IOT [internet of things] in sports, itís here and itís here to stay,Ē Stelfox said. ďItís not going to replace the gut feeling of coaches, itís going to add to it. Itís just more information to make better decisions.Ē
Matt Hasselbeck, the backup Indianapolis Colts quarterback and graduate of Boston College who attended as a speaker, said there could be some fan experience to be had in wearable technology too.
ďIt would be great to see the heart rate for a kicker like Adam Vinatieri, or Andrew Luck, or a rookie,Ē Hasselbeck said. ďI would love that.Ē
This kind of data, maybe not in-game, could be the future.
The Patriots are cutting ties with safety Steve Gregory, according to his agent, David Canter, who announced the move on Twitter:
Patriots will be releasing starting #TeamDEC client Safety Steve Gregory today.— David Canter (@davidcanter) February 28, 2014
Gregory, 31, signed a three-year free-agent deal with New England in 2012, and was slated to count $3.683 million against the salary cap this season. Releasing him saves the Patriots $2.85 million against the cap; only the remainder of his $2.5 million prorated signing bonus, or $833,334, will remain on the books.
Undrafted out of Syracuse in 2006, Gregory spent six seasons with the Chargers before signing with New England.
While with the Patriots, he played in 26 games (23 starts). He was well-respected by coaches and teammates, with his high football IQ lauded; teammates called him a future head coach.
With Gregory released, the Patriots have Devin McCourty, Adrian Wilson (who missed all of last season due to injury), Duron Harmon, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner, and Kanorris Davis remaining at safety.
At this point, it would seem Harmon is in line to be paired with McCourty as the starters at the position. A third-round pick out of Rutgers last year, Harmon played in 15 games, starting against the Panthers, Broncos, and the Bills (Week 17).
If there is one takeaway from the NFL Scouting Combine that had nothing to do with the action on the field, it was the reports of continued negotiations between the Patriots and cornerback Aqib Talib.
The negotiations are a welcome development given Talibís importance to the teamís secondary. His stock has increased league-wide. His respect is universal. No one forgets how he shut down the Saints' Jimmy Graham and how he saved the Patriots against the Atlanta Falcons.
The six-year veteran, whose brash and quixotic play helped improve the Patriotsí secondary ten-fold (a jump from the 29th-ranked pass defense in 2012 to the 18th-ranked pass defense in 2013), can very well determine the teamís draft strategy and approach in free agency.
Itís also no secret that Talibís bumps and bruises, including those in the AFC Championship two years running, have hurt the Patriots when theyíve needed him most. The Denver Broncos made mince meat of the Patriotsí cornerbacks, Alfonzo Dennard and Logan Ryan in particular, making use of a height advantage that was more than conspicuous with Talib out. He has missed 4 of 27 games since being traded from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while being hobbled in countless others. Finding a big-bodied, durable substitute is likely still in the Patriotsí plans regardless of his return. So while Talib is readily acknowledged as a valuable commodity, his value in terms of other players on the team is arguable, especially given the money that he could cost.
Thatís why these negotiations are so important.If the Patriots use their franchise tag, which player should it be used for? The Patriots still have to address whether 11 other free agents will return, most notably wide receiver Julian Edelman, running back LeGarrette Blount, and center Ryan Wendell, all of whom are candidates for the teamís franchise tag. The deadline to use the franchise tag is 4 p.m. on March 3.
The 2014 projected salary cap will help determine franchise tag numbers. As of Tuesday, ProFootballTalk.com has reported the salary cap could be as high as $132 million. With estimates that the cornerback position could yield 8.9 percent of the cap if tagged, 9.12 percent for a receiver, 8.8 percent for offensive linemen, and 7.17 percent for running backs, the Patriots would have to commit $11.74 million to Talib if he were franchised with those estimations.
Thatís a hefty sum, even if itís a one-year deal.
But it doesnít look much better when considering the other possibilities. Edelman, if the Patriots are so inclined, could garner $12.03 million. Wendell would get $11.61 million and Blount would get $9.46 million if tagged.
You canít tell me that Bill Belichick would pay $12 million a year to a wide receiver. I just donít see that happening. Not with Danny Amendola on the roster making $4.575 million next year.
The circumstances are much different for Wendell and Blount. Wendell played every single snap for the Patriots in 2013 and 99.5 percent of the teamís snaps in 2012. That kind of durability and dogged play has strong value to the team. But itís not representative of the teamís entire financial picture, especially on the offensive line, where $10.5 million of the teamís cap will be attributed to Logan Mankins in 2014, $4.08 million to Dan Connolly, $3.75 million to Sebastian Vollmer, and another $2.71 million to Nate Solder. Franchising Wendell would put him at the top of the pack, and thatís certainly not the best use of that kind of money.
Blount on the other hand can thank Stevan Ridley for likely not getting the franchise tag. Ridley, who will count as $939,750 against the cap in 2014, is talented enough and worthy enough of a long-term investment to avoid committing a large sum to Blount. In a yearís time, the Patriots wonít want both of them coming up for a contract again.
If any one of the Patriotsí top free agents is willing to return, negotiated contracts appear to be the best route for the team. But if there is one player who could spur the Patriots to consider using the tag this year, after avoiding doing so last offseason, itís Talib. Heís considered a game-changer, and with that kind of respect, particularly in the locker room and among his coaches, he could very well break the bank.
But I highly doubt the team will allow itself to be forced into a situation in which the tag is necessary. Thatís why these negotiations are so important. The Patriots would love nothing more than to reel in Talib, at least for a few years. Avoiding the tag, if at all possible, is the name of the game. Otherwise, the options donít look good.
The Patriots announced on Thursday that former Cleveland Browns general manager Michael Lombardi will join the team as an assistant to the coaching staff.
That confirms what had been known for the past week that he had joined the Patriots following his firing in Cleveland. He had consulted with the Patriots prior to his tenure in Cleveland though, advising Patriots coach Bill Belichick on the draft.
Lombardi was spotted with Belichick and Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio on his way to Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine.
The Dolphins fired offensive line coach Jim Turner and head athletic trainer Kevin O'Neil following the release of the Ted Wells report, which investigated allegations of bullying on the team.
The details of Wells's report were explosive, with revelations showing the offensive line coach kept up a disturbing rapport with his players. According to Wells' report, Turner contributed to the Dolphins' abusive atmosphere by sending one player a male blowup doll (after sending others a female blowup doll) and by pressuring Jonathan Martin to make a statement and to defend his teammate, Richie Incgonito. The report mostly painted Turner in a negative light, as someone more likely to add to Martin's and others' verbal abuse than to denounce it.
"The language and behavior as described in the Ted Wells report are against the core values of our organization," said Dolphins owner Stephen Ross in a statement Wednesday evening. "After receiving the report, I conducted my own internal review of the facts to determine the appropriate steps for our organization. Jim Turner and Kevin O'Neill are good people who care a great deal about their profession and the players whom they serve, but both exhibited poor judgment at times which led me to this conclusion.
"As owner, I know firsthand of the high-character and dedicated professionals in our building," Ross said. "I believe in our team and know the hard work and sacrifices they make every day on the field and in the community. However, this is an opportunity and a teaching moment not only for the coaches, staff and players in our locker room, but also for participants throughout sports."
Turner, a graduate of Braintree High and Boston College, previously coached at Northeastern (1994-1998), Harvard (2000-2002), and his alma mater. He was hired by the Dolphins in 2012 to join Joe Philbin's staff, his first professional coaching gig, after spending the prior three years with Texas A&M.
Ross said he has reached out Martin and will meet with him soon. The owner added his team is working with the NYU School of Law and the NYU Center for Sports and Society in hopes to address the issues of this kind of misconduct on a broader level.
"My commitment to our fans, coaches, players and staff is that we will be a stronger organization going forward," Ross said.
File this under fun offseason activities.
Patriots tight end Michael Hoomanawanui will be a guest passenger with the legendary US Navy Blue Angels, the airborne stunt squad that performs shows across the country, in a demonstration to take place March 3 in El Centro, Calif.
"I've been to a lot of places, met a lot of people, and seen a lot of things, but flying in a jet may just top them all," Hoomanawanui said in a press release issued by the Blue Angels. "I am honored to have this opportunity."
Hoomanawanui, who is a free agent, will join another Bloomington, Illinois, native in the air, Blue Angels narrator and VIP pilot Lt. Ryan Chamberlain. Both Hoomanawanui and Chamberlain are graduates of Central Catholic High School in Bloomington.
St. Louis Rams punter Johnny Hekker will also be a celebrity passenger of the Blue Angels.