New England Patriots Links 3/04/11 - NFL, Union Call A Timeout

Rob Gronkowski impressed the young patients at Children's Hospital with his "huge" size.

Paul Perillo reports the NFL work stoppage didn't prevent five Patriots from spreading some cheer throughout Children's Hospital in Boston yesterday.

Mayo and Ninkovich offered a funny solution to the problem of staying in shape in the event that a lockout prevents them from doing so at Gillette Stadium.

"I’m heading to Jerod’s basement to work on the Bowflex," Ninkovich said with laugh.

When asked if in fact that was the plan, Mayo obliged. "I’m going to work out in my basement," Mayo said. "I got a Bowflex. At the same time, I have a DVD player to set up my film. With the Bowflex, I’ll be all right.  I’m sure those guys will get something done sometime. There’s no telling when, but hopefully get it done. I’ll work out, try to stay in shape, wait for a phone call."

Ninkovich admitted the situation was less than ideal but reiterated the need to take care of things on his end while others handle the negotiating.

"Right now, see what happens and if it happens, it happen. " Ninkovich said. "Get ready for a normal day tomorrow. Get up, go work out, do something, hang out at the house. No different. "I’ll be on my couch watching TV. When it gets past midnight, I’m sure I’ll be flipping the channels. It’s out of my hands. I can’t control it. I’ll just focus on what I can, keep working and get ready for next year. When it comes down, when camp starts — when anything starts — you want to be ready to play."

Ian Rapoport and Karen Guregian report as Stephen Neal discusses his decision to retire.

"Realistically, there’s a shot I can play, but it’s not a very good shot," said Neal, whose 2010 ended on injured reserve. "If I get injured again, it’s not going to be too good. I want to be able to throw a ball better (with his son) with my right hand than my left. I figured this is the best time to do it."

The former NCAA and world champion wrestler spent time reminiscing on his amazing journey. He thanked every person who "believed in me and never doubted my dreams."

"As a wrestler, you never want to back down," said Neal, who didn‘t play football at Cal State-Bakersfield. "So, I’ll always be a wrestler. But football is a true love of mine and I was so fortunate I got to play at the highest level and for a great organization and team. And with coach Belichick — there’s no excuses. It doesn’t matter if you’re a superstar or a wrestler. It’s great being in an environment where it’s fair and everybody wants to win. I’ve been so fortunate to be around here for so long."

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