Erik Scalavino catches up with Patriots' globe-trotting, back-flipping defensive lineman Le Kevin Smith. Terrific article on one of our lesser-known players, who has a world of interests and talent outside of football.
When Le Kevin Smith visited [Finland] last summer, he was pleasantly surprised to meet several hardcore Patriots fans. How hardcore? They actually recognized him, a relatively obscure, reserve defensive lineman (albeit with a unique name) on a three-time Super Bowl champion team with more than its share of superstars.
He also discovered that American football is growing in popularity in Finland. Smith was already intending to visit Finland with former college teammate Seppo Evwaraye, who hails from the coastal town of Vaasa, when he was contacted by a group that runs a football camp for Finnish youngsters.
"So, I went over earlier than I had intended so I could work the football camp," said Smith.
First Take (ESPN) Ben Watson talks with Hannah Storm about the upcoming Patriots season, managing to say absolutely nothing of substance for 2 minutes and 34 seconds. Well-trained in the Belichick school of communication.
"Definitely, Tom has looked great," said Watson. "He works really hard. He's a great leader on our team. He's definitely poised to come back and have a great year. Like we say in New England you got to take it one day at a time, and every day is different, every year is different. I know he's looking forward to being out there. We're looking forward to having him back."
- Paul Perillo is content with the current linebackers and would take a shot at Derrick Burgess if available, but would take a wait-and-see approach with McGinest and/or Seau.
- Jeff Howe counts down the days till Training Camp, offering some nuggets of note from LB Pierre Woods and QB Tom Brady.
- Michael Hurley writes about the Patriots' dynasty that almost wasn't, and notes while the Patriots have gone four seasons without returning to glory, their luck is far from having run out.
- John Beattie talks about the battle Rodney Harrison will have to get into the Hall of Fame, along with some of Rodney's candid comments:
"Look at these stats!" Harrison said. "All you have to do is pull ‘em up and look at ‘em — my interceptions, my tackles, my impact on the game. Everything! What does that tell you? But guess what: Because I’m Rodney Harrison, because everyone wanted to put this ‘dirty player’ stigma on me, no one would vote for me. But if you asked these guys, would they want me on their team, yes they would."
- Nancy Gay (NFL Fanhouse) Rodney Harrison demands your respect. "Do I believe I'm a Hall of Fame player? Absolutely. Will I make it in there? That's up to you guys. But I know that I did all I could do."
- Peter Schrager (Fox Sports) AFC East: Early summer questions.
- Warren Sapp ranks his Top 5 WRs in the NFL. Super freak Randy Moss is his number 1 and he catches grief for it. (5.22 min. video) (NFL.com) Open for Debate:
- Jamie Dukes (NFL.com) The 3-4 defense isn't as easy as it looks.
- Asking NFL rookies to change position is risky proposition. (SI)
- NFL.com USO Tour Day 3: Sleeping in Saddam's former palace, Day 4: A day to remember, and Some final thoughts.
- AP (ESPN) Roger Goodell and Jim Mora reach summit of Mt. Rainier. (plus a 2 min. video clip)