Morning sports update: Malcolm Mitchell equated learning the Patriots playbook to calculus

"That was like calculus at the highest degree."

Malcolm Mitchell during the 2016 season.
Malcolm Mitchell during the 2016 season. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Malcolm Mitchell’s thoughts on the Patriots playbook: Learning the Patriots’ playbook can be notoriously difficult. Receivers like Chad Johnson have acknowledged in the past that getting a grasp on New England’s complicated system can be tough.

Yet rookie Malcolm Mitchell proved to be the rarest of things in the Tom Brady era: A young receiver who acclimated and contributed. Mitchell became the first rookie to catch a pass from Brady in a Super Bowl (remarkably this didn’t happen until Brady’s seventh appearance). Despite his career being curtailed by injuries, Mitchell will always have Super Bowl LI as a crowning achievement.

As for the Patriots playbook, he equated it to difficult math.

“That was like calculus at the highest degree,” Mitchell said in an episode of “The Michael Holley Podcast.”

Mitchell also said that he wouldn’t have had a chance if he hadn’t improved his reading skills while at the University of Georgia.


“If I had not improved my reading, which improved my way of thinking, it would have taken me a lot longer to pick up their playbook,” Mitchell said. “There’s no doubt. Because through reading, I’ve picked up these residual skills: memory, everything.”

Mitchell improved to the point that he eventually released a children’s book and continues to a youth literacy initiative called “Read With Malcolm.”

Trivia: Identify this NHL player:

  • I am an Olympic gold medalist.
  • I was once on the losing end of an 0-3 playoff comeback.
  • During multiple NHL lockouts, I played for HC Davos in Switzerland, helping them win a league championship in 2005.
  • Before Brad Marchand achieved the feat, I was the last Bruins player to top 100 points in a season.

Who am I? (Answer at the bottom).

More from

“I don’t think they pose a problem for Tampa”:

J.D. Martinez “easily” could have stayed in Arizona: Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez was an integral piece of the team’s World Series win in 2018, but apparently his presence in Boston almost never happened. According to Martinez, the Diamondbacks could have re-signed him.


“I don’t want really get into that [details of the negotiations],” Martinez told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. “But it could have got done. I think so. Easily.”

The minor league rise of Matt Barnes: A standout at the University of Connecticut, Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes had his ups and downs in the minors. Mostly, it was a journey from being a “thrower” to becoming a “pitcher.” [The Athletic]

The Red Sox home opener is Tuesday at 2:05 p.m. against the Blue Jays:

Chris Carter had some thoughts on the post-Brady era:

On this day: On this day in 1972, the Major League Baseball season failed to open due to a strike by the players. It was the first time in league history that such a strike had occurred, spurred by the demand for greater owner contributions to the players’ pension plan. It halted the regular season for nine days, covering 86 games.


Eventually, the dispute was resolved in a compromise. However, the league’s schedule was left unbalanced for the remainder of the season. This impacted the 1972 Red Sox directly. Boston finished the year having played one less game than the A.L. East champion Detroit Tigers, and the Red Sox finished – of all things – one win behind.

Daily highlight: Alex Morgan scored her 100th career goal for the U.S. women’s national team in a 5-3 win over Australia during a Thursday friendly. The Americans begin their World Cup defense on June 11 against Thailand.

Trivia answer: Joe Thornton