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New England Patriots Links 6/14/11 - Dane Fletcher Bulking Up For Bigger Role

Ian Rapoport notes Dane Fletcher has been taking this offseason seriously, bulking up with "good weight" and hoping for a bigger role.

"I put on a few pounds," Fletcher told me. "Good weight. Cut a little bit of fat, put on some good weight. I weigh about 248."

"I wanted to put on some more weight and I wanted to keep my speed and agility," he said. "I got here and I trained and really got critical about my nutrition, more than anything. So, I’d say I take the NFL a lot more seriously in the offseason. Just pay attention to my nutrition and I lift every day like crazy. That’s what you get."

"My role compared to last year at this point has changed completely," Fletcher said. "Now, I’m trying to fit myself into a position at inside linebacker and I know I’ve played there quite a bit in the past season. Now, I’m just trying to get in as much as possible and also stay true with my special teams work."

Mike Reiss highlights first-year DL Marcus Stroud's guest appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio, joined by Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan on the "Movin' the Chains" program.

On the NFL’s labor front: "I think everybody is going to get back to work on time. I think both sides have realized that you have to put the egos aside and do what’s going to be best for both sides of the game. I definitely don’t think we’d miss any regular-season games."

Bill Belichick’s sales job on joining the Patriots: "He told me they’d like to have to have me up there and he felt I could come in and help in the role I was going to play. I felt it will be a good fit for me and I definitely think I could fit in and do the things they want me to do."

How much is left in those legs after 10 seasons: "I think I have some gas left in the legs. I’m a pretty young guy [32] who takes pretty good care of himself. I think I have a lot of gas left in the tank. I’m not going to be one of those guys who keeps holding on and kicking the tires until they’re bald-headed. I still feel like I have some [tread] left on these."

On playing with Tom Brady: "That’s the excitement I have. I know how it’s like to prepare for this guy; we were playing against him twice a year. To have a quarterback of that caliber on your team, week in and week out, that gives you the chance … There is like a 70 percent chance, you give this guy the ball, he’s going to put points on the board. You want to go out and play, and do well on this type of team."

Thoughts on joining the Patriots: "I’m just happy to kind of be back up under some of that tough, in-your-face, kick-you-in-the-butt type of coaching. Something like I had my rookie year with Coach [Tom] Coughlin. I think it’s going to be something like that. I’m kind of prepared for it. I’m definitely excited and want to do things the ‘Patriots Way’, and to see how the ‘Patriots Way’ works, because there has to be something about it. It’s been successful for this long."

With the Patriots averaging 28 points per game, the opportunity to rush the passer: "Hopefully ‘Streamlined’ Stroud can get a few sacks [laughing]."