Ian Rapoport catches up with LB Shawn Crable. After sitting out his first two seasons with injuries to his leg, groin and back, here's hoping his third year's the charm.
"People always tell you, ‘Look at the bright side, now you might not see it, but there’s a blessing in it somewhere," Crable told me after a workout today. "Now, I’ve seen guys who came in with me that weren’t injured, and they’re gone. Then, you sit and you look at me, I’ve been injured for two years, and I’m still here. They’re still talking to me, giving me an opportunity. I could’ve easily been gone. For me, that’s a blessing to still be sitting here three years later and two injuries, like hey, I still have an opportunity to have a job coming into this year."
"Well, this year’s everything to me," Crable said. "Everything. I have no intentions to shy away from anything this year. This year’s everything. I’m taking it very serious. I’m trying to get my body right and training hard and doing what they’re asking me to do. And at the same time, keep my mind right, keep focused. As soon as we’re allowed to get onto the field, I’m going to start working on my craft and just trying to build some things, so when the season started, it doesn’t feel like I’m two years removed from playing football."
Christopher Price writes about Dan Koppen's experience on his own nerve-wracking Draft Day weekend.
The Boston College offensive lineman didn’t hear his name called until the fifth round of the 2003 draft — the second day of the draft — and when he did, he was all by himself, upstairs at his family’s house in Pennsylvania "because nobody wanted to be by me that day."
"It was kind of crazy," he recalled Thursday. "I saw my name on the bottom line at first — actually, I was upstairs and we had a satellite upstairs and cable downstairs and there was a delay, so I heard my family go crazy downstairs, because I was upstairs alone, because nobody wanted to be by me that day. I heard them yell and then I saw it, and then the phone rang. So it was kind of a crazy day."
For Koppen, it was a "nerve-wracking" process.
"I had a chance to play golf that morning, so I got done with the round and my name still wasn’t called, so that wasn’t the greatest," he said. "It’s a long process, but really, it doesn’t matter where you’re drafted. It’s what you do when you get here and how you’re able to contribute to the team.
"For guys that are going through it, just take it for what it is. Enjoy it. It’s the only time you’re going to go through it."
Albert Breer details the next step in the Pre-Draft process for the .
Over the next few weeks, the Patriots will begin hosting prospects and we've nailed down one of the first on his way.
TCU pass-rushing demon Jerry Hughes will visit Gillette Stadium on Monday. The club is allowed to bring 30 prospects into Foxborough for visits. They can indicate legitimate interest. They can be smokescreens. They can be done to check out a guy's medicals. They can be done to tie up a loose end in a guy's file.
The hosting team isn't allowed to work the player out, but can conduct interviews and a physical, and do board work with a player.
- Erik Scalavino says we can add center Dan Koppen to the growing list of Patriots veterans who’ve expressed interest in becoming more vocal leaders on this squad.
- NFL Network: Patriots on the clock. Path to the Draft debates with Patriots Football Weekly writer Andy Hart. (4.26 min. video)
- Press Conference (10.50 min. audio)
- Patriots Today - Hannah's offseason hits. (5.27 min. video)
The NFL wants you to Vote for the 75 most valuable draft picks of all time.
- Monique Walker spends a few minutes with Dan Koppen as he talks about Logan Mankins, being a more vocal leader, and Brady's Earth Hour spot (which had a general 'make fun of this' kind of feel'.)
- Christopher Price notes Dan Koppen remains the consistent center of a fairly stable O-Line, and gets his thoughts on the uncertain status of Logan Mankins and the return of Stephen Neal.
- Robert Lee reports the Patriots O-Line hopes to build on last season's success, surrendering the fewest sacks (18) in franchise history.
- Ian Rapoport reminds us how Shawn Crable made scouts’ eyes pop as a Wolverine, ranking second in the nation with 28.5 tackles for a loss as a senior. With a 6-foot-5, 243-pound frame and freakish athleticism, Crable is the prototype for an outside linebacker in the 3-4.
- Albert Breer discusses the occurance of Brady and Manning both entering contract years for the first time in their respective careers.
- Mike Reiss notes Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. identified QB Mike Kafka (Northwestern) as a possible late option for the Patriots.
- Christopher Price notes veteran free agent WR Kevin Curtis, cut loose by the Eagles, hasn't heard from the Patriots.
- Albert Breer takes a look at who's gone in New England's Draft slots over the last three years.
- Albert Breer looks at another aspect of the Seymour trade and says there's little question it was quite a gamble, even more so than most believed it was at the time.
- Ian Rapoport reports Leigh Bodden spent his afternoon doing a promo shoot with Hot Shot Branch of the Harlem Globetrotters, after which they visited the Spalding Rehab Hospital to meet some children. Way cool.
- Monique Walker writes Patriots defensive line coach Pepper Johnson said working more closely with Bill Belichick this season will be a plus.
- Ian Rapoport caught up with Patriots DL coach Pepper Johnson who was supporting Jerod Mayo at a charity event. Johnson would like to be a coordinator eventually, but remains an unfailingly loyal Belichick backer.
- Ian Rapoport points out the dozens of Patriots teammates who attended Jerod Mayo's inaugural Mayo bowl charity event. A telling indicator of what they think of their captain.
- Tom E. Curran reports that the NFL head coaches who believed the owners rammed the OT vote through while they were on the golf course were right. That's exactly what happened.
- Patriots president Jonathan Kraft made an appearance on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning and discussed the team’s recent maneuverings.
- Mike Reiss is in Florida helping out a colleague cover Red Sox Spring Training, and talks about player access as the biggest difference between covering football and baseball.
- Mike Reiss offers the transcript of his weekly online chat. Some terrific insight here as usual.
- Gregg Rosenthal (ProFootballTalk) Irsay mentions connection between Manning and Brady deals.
- Kerry J. Byrne (Cold Hard Football Facts) Tale of six college quarterbacks.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Jets' playoff miracle not NFL's preference.
- NFL Players Association Ten questions NFL players want the league to answer.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Union poses 10 questions to NFL. The questions with Florio's observations after each one.
- Gary Mihoces (USA Today) Analyst: 'Just no way to prosecute' Ben Roethlisberger's case.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) The so-called 'analyst' above represents one of the two off-duty police officers who moonlight as Ben's bodyguards.