A .500 Bill due in Foxborough
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What's the deal with releasing Larry Centers? I thought he has looked pretty good so far, and has actually looked good running the ball, not just receiving. Could this be a one week thing, a la Fred McCrary two weeks ago?
-- Bill Wilkinson, Colchester, Vt.
A: Knee injury. They can't afford to keep players at the end of the roster who can't perform for a few weeks. Centers struck a two-week settlement. He's eligible to return to the Pats in Week 15, or he can re-sign with another team.
Will the Patriots ever get a running back like every team in the NFL seems to have?
-- Norm, Flagler, Fla.
A: Well, if the "committee" keeps playing like this, why bother?
Thank you for offering the mailbag, Nick. It allows us out-of-towners to feel like we are still home in New England during the football season. After 7 games now, what type of grades are Tebucky Jones and Lawyer Milloy getting on their respective teams? Also, I don't know about you, but I feel our receiving corps has unusual depth and is nationally under-rated.
-- John Aliapoulios, Palm Desert, Calif.
A: The Saints are happy with Tebucky. It's the rest of the guys they have a problem with. Tebucky has given them good leadership and good performance. He's been hurt the last couple of weeks. Lawyer, as I said, has been a good leader, but just isn't making the big plays or getting off the big hit like he used to. The receiving corp does OK. It would be nice to see Givens emerge because he's bigger and little tougher than the rest of them.
Nick, There are still days when I stop myself and say, "Holy cow, the Patriots actually won the Super Bowl!" Unfortunately, I think for years to come, I'll also be saying, "Holy cow, Little actually kept Pedro in the game after the seventh inning!" Anyway, I wanted to ask you about the special teams corps. (Great job picking the upset, by the way.) The special teams play was excellent all game long; Vinatieri even had some nice, long kickoffs. I know there was some concern earlier in the season with all the injuries to starters that some people would be taken off special teams duty for fear of losing them to injury. So is this a rag-tag group that's beginning to gel, or are we throwing caution to the wind and playing the A-list special teams guys? Aside from the kickers and the returners, they don't usually announce who's on the field so I don't have a good sense of the players who comprise the special teams units these days. Hats off to 'em, whoever they are!
-- Jason Rubin, Melrose Continued...