Vince Wilfork tackles a craft project at Children's Hospital in Boston.
Erik Scalavino reports Darius Butler sees his role expanding further as he enters his second season in New England.
In his rookie campaign, the 5-10, 185-pound cornerback made significant contributions, both on defense and special teams. He appeared in 14 regular-season games, five of which he started (three at left corner, the other two as a nickel back), and finished the year with 28 solo tackles, three interceptions and eight passes defensed.
"It’s a dream come true to be in the NFL," he remarked. "I’m learning something new every day, every week, every game, going against a lot of the players that I kind of looked up to and watched growing up. That’s been exciting. It’s had its ups and downs, long season, started some games, sat some games. It’s just been an experience."
"As a rookie, you come in and you’re coming straight from the college season, then you got the all-star game, the Combine, the draft, and you kind of get thrown right into it," he explained. "Now I’ve got a professional season to reflect on and be a pro and learn how to study the game and apply it to what I’m doing on the field. I definitely want to build on it. This is my first offseason and I have to work hard and prepare well and build on it."
"I think Darius has learned a lot," Belichick said. "He’s been healthy. He’s gotten a lot of reps, a lot of practice time. I think he’s learned a lot about the game, as a returner, as a defender — both in the passing game and in the running game. He’s got a real good future. I’m glad we have him. I think he’s learned a lot. I think he’s got a lot to learn, but he works hard at it and he’s a smart kid."
- Andy Hart compares the big-money contract given to Saints All-Pro guard Jahri Evans to what might happen with Patriots All-Pro RFA guard Logan Mankins.
- Patriots Today - Ventrone a familiar name among the rookies. (2.32 min. video)
- Ian Rapoport talks about Andy Benoit's snub of Welker and Moss on his top ten receivers list. Welker was left off because "let's see how he recovers from knee surgery." Bogus.
- Albert Breer notes the deal signed by Saints guard Jahri Evans breaks the bank. And you can bet Logan Mankins and the Patriots were watching.
- Mike Reiss takes a closer look at the Patriots' age.
- Albert Breer looks at a Patriots offense in transition.
- Ian Rapoport refutes the story that the Patriots were a no-show at a school in Connecticut. The New England Dairy Council "never promised a player," the school made assumptions and kids were disappointed.
- Christopher Price says rookie WR Taylor Price could be in the mix for the third receiver job.
- Mike Reiss offers a few leftovers while cleaning out the Patriots' notebook from over the last few weeks.
- Shalise Manza Young offers the transcript of her weekly online chat.
- Mike Reiss notes former NFL head coach Brian Billick likes the tight ends in the Patriots Draft.
- Jeff Howe reports the no. 1 priority for Patriots DL Damione Lewis is learning the 3-4.
- Jeff Howe notes the undrafted free agents have many role models to look to on the Patriots roster.
- NESN reveals Tom Brady was drafted by the Montreal Expos, and 31 other things you might not know about Boston sports legends.
- Chase Stuart (NY Times) How to measure team age in the NFL and what it means for 2010. The oldest team? The New England Patriots.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Five thoughts for Cinco de Mayo. One is the Patriots peculiar approach to running back that could haunt them.
- Wes Bunting (Nat'l Football Post) 2010 All-Rookie Team. Patriots' Aaron Hernandez, Jermaine Cunningham and Devin McCourty make it.
- Andy Benoit (NY Times) Best receivers in the NFL: The top 10 list. This is bogus - neither Randy Moss nor Wes Welker make his list.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Miscommunication created mistaken assumption that Pats player would appear at school. Patriots bear no blame on this one.
- Gregg Rosenthal (ProFootballTalk) Market is slow to develop for Adalius Thomas.
- Frank Tadych (NFL.com) Who is interested in Adalius Thomas?
- Tim Graham (ESPN) A look at the AFC East's post-draft voids.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Rookie of the year from the AFC East?
- Throat grabs and spitting: Why NFL is unlike most other companies (SI)
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) SI story on Roethlisberger features several new details.
- Jack McCallum (SI) The Hangover: Roethlisberger. An NFL superstar's repulsive behavior, the ultimate expression of athletic entitlement run amok, has forced even the most diehard fans to question their team and their football faith--and made a small town in Georgia wish he'd never paid a visit.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) How long can Jets afford to stay intact?
- Peter Schrager (Fox Sports) Top 10 players searching for Super Bowl rings.