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It begins, Patriots rookie mini-camp is in full swing

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I love this picture.  Head Coach Bill Belichick presiding over his many new rookies at the New England Patriots mini-camp.  Belichick will tell you that this is a teaching opportunity, that it's about getting these rookies a first look at the system.  It might be, but always under the watchful eye of Hoodie.

It all starts with dad and mom tossing a football and maybe running through some simple routes in the back yard.  Then they get unleashed on a youth organization like Pop Warner.  High School follows and they work their way through Freshmen, Junior Varsity and then Varsity.  Those with talent will make the leap directly to Varsity.  As young men, they get stronger, bigger, and faster.  Those who work hard and have obvious talent will get noticed by a college and play for a big school, or maybe even a smaller school.  And the pro scouts start watching.  After four years of further honing their skills, they will hope to get drafted by a team or classified as a UFA and picked up through that route.

After all that hard work, a select few get to run drills on the practice field at Gillette Stadium while Bill Belichick trains his watchful eye.  It's quite a feat, making it this far and these "kids" should be commended.  But some will have to go.  As is normal practice during the preseason, a team loads up with players to get the widest possible look at the available talent.  On September 1st, the Patriots, and every other NFL team, must cut their roster down to 75 players.  Shortly thereafter, on September 5th, they must cut down to their final regular season 53 man roster.

I'm pulling for these kids, every one of them.  They've made it this far and I'd like to see them go all the way.  However, that's just not going to happen but for a select few.  I suppose that's the way it should happen; we want to build the best team we can, right?  I mean, winning rings is serious business and we need to field the best team possible.  Some tough choices have to be made.

I just wish all of these kids could make it.  They've worked so hard.