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New England Patriots Links 4/18/11 - Drew Bledsoe 'Honored' By Nomination

Karen Guregian catches up with Patriots alum Jermaine Wiggins, one of the heroes of the legendary Snow Bowl game, who worries other undrafted prospects like him won't have the same opportunities he did with the lockout in place.

"Back then, all I wanted was an opportunity to prove that I could play at that level," Wiggins said last week, after an appearance at the Daley Middle School in Lowell. "That’s all I wanted. And right now, with the lockout, it’s tough. Kids that don’t get drafted can’t sign. They can’t be undrafted rookie free agents. That’s a lot of guys that could potentially be impact players down the road who won’t get the chance."

"With teams like the Patriots and the Jets, they always seem to find those diamonds in the rough," Wiggins said. "They might not be those physical specimens. But they’re smart guys who are always in the right spot. That’s what they look for."

"These kids have to be wondering if they’re going to get that opportunity," Wiggins said of the UFAs. "It’s going to be that much harder for them to prove themselves without (organized team activities). There’s no minicamp for them to show they deserve to be at this level. Look at Danny Woodhead. He was undrafted. In this climate, a (prospect) like him isn’t going to know where he stands."

Ian Rapoport talks with Matt Light about what it's like for a free agent living in lockout limbo.

"I always forget the number, I know it’s around 400 (pending free agents), maybe more, 400, 500 free agents, but there’s a lot of guys, a lot of guys sitting in limbo. Now, for guys who’ve been around for a while, it’s not as tough for me — and I’m just speaking for myself — but there’s a lot of guys who are looking at their second deal, which is usually when you really realize the best opportunity for you to earn in this profession," said Light. "And for those guys, man, this is extremely aggravating. I mean, it’s aggravating for me, to a degree, but I’m more worried about, what we do we have to do to get a deal done? Just an overall deal, because quite frankly, even if we could talk, you’re not going to be able to sign a deal. You’re not going to be able to do anything until you actually have a CBA in place so we can get back to work, right?

"It’s frustrating, it’s difficult, there’s nothing happening to this point, and I think for most of these teams, they’re focused on the draft, anything they can control, because they know all the parameters, they know everything that’s in the place to make that happen, to make that go off, and unfortunately, I think the free agents just kind of have to fit in somewhere after that fact." ...