Christopher Price tells us five things we learned this week. Here are two of them:
The rookies who showed up for the players-only practices at Boston College built up some currency with their veteran counterparts. This rookie class was put into an unenviable position: even though you’re unsigned, show up for the players’ workouts and run the risk of an injury, which could threaten your professional career before it even got started. Or, don’t show and take a chance alienating your veteran brethren. It’s not known why some of the first-year players showed and some didn’t, but the ones who were in attendance not only got a brief taste of NFL life, they also managed to impress the veterans. Based on everything they have already missed out on, there should be diminished expectations for this year’s rookie class, at least early on. But the fact they were there (and the fact that top pick Nate Solder showed up on Friday at Brady’s charity game) will go a long way in the locker room when/if training camp rolls around in July.
This is shaping up to be quite a year for Jerod Mayo. The transformation of Jerod Mayo has been fascinating to watch since he arrived in the spring of 2008. In three seasons, Mayo has gone from deferential rookie to absolutely irreplaceable veteran, and based on his growth, it's clear he is now poised to enter that rarified air inhabited by middle/inside linebackers like Ray Lewis. (In fact, the only thing that might hold him back from making him a true household name across the NFL is the fact that he has zero interest in anything other than football — and that includes things like off-the-field endorsement opportunities.) But it's not just the on-field numbers that will make Mayo a truly special talent. He has served as captain before, but now it appears that now his transformation into full-on leader is complete, at least from what we witnessed this week. He was the guy running the show when the players were getting together in the area for the last month for workouts, and peeking between the bars this week at Boston College, there was no doubt as to who was running the defensive drills — Mayo was calling out signals, telling people where to be and unafraid to shout out directions. Veterans like Vince Wilfork were deferential to the linebacker. At one point, when there was a defensive breakdown, he instructed some teammates to drop down to the ground for pushups. It’s early in the process, but it certainly appears that Mayo has evolved into the lead voice for the New England defense in 2011.
Mike Reiss highlights Tom Brady's interview after his Best Buddies Charity Flag Football Game at Harvard Friday night.
His participation as host: "It’s a great event. We have much more support this year than we did last year. This is something very close to me. Katie Meade is my buddy. She is a great person, a great woman, and I think she is a great representative of Best Buddies. It’s good to be here with her."
Team workouts the last three days at BC: "It’s been fun; it’s been fun to see a lot of the guys. I think there was a lot of good work. You see a lot of the guys who came out to support this, with Wes [Welker] and Julian [Edelman] and Nate Solder, who is a rookie. This is a great event. Tedy [Bruschi] is out here. His new nickname is Kilimanja-Bru [in reference to his climb of Mount Kilimanjaro]. It’s been a lot of fun this week. This is a great way to cap it off."
His health in recovering from January foot surgery: "I feel good, good enough to run around here and have fun. I’m excited for football season." How long he thinks it will be before returning to football: "Nobody knows. Hopefully soon. There has been a lot of positive news from both sides. Everyone is working hard for a great outcome. I’m confident that a lot of reasonable people will come to a very reasonable agreement."
If he feels obligated as a leader of the team to bring players together: "No, there were a lot of people that were instrumental in getting everybody together. We have a lot of great leaders on our team. I’ve been here for a long time, so as a veteran on the team, not just a quarterback, there are a lot of guys who are really working hard. That’s what we need."
Could lack of CBA progress reach a point where the football quality might be affected: "I hope not. Everyone is just dealing with it – the players are dealing with it as best we know how and the owners are. Like I said, hopefully there is a great outcome. I’m relatively confident that there will be."
On the Bruins in the Stanley Cup: "It was exciting the other night. I wish we would have pulled it out. It was a bummer about the Celtics. The Red Sox had a tough four days. We have a pretty good thing going in Boston right now with our sports teams. We get such great support from our fans and from you guys who cover us and care so much about what we’re doing. I think it’s really a pleasure to play in front of people who really care."
On having his name on NFL lawsuit and being a leader in that regard: "The players, we all stick together. We realize how important each one of us are to each other. A lot of guys really care about the game. The guys that have been around for a while understand what it takes for us to grow the league, to be a part of the business of the NFL, to be great representatives for the NFL, and to leave the NFL in better shape than when we came into it. I think that’s the responsibility of all players – young or old. A lot of guys really do a great job of that. So, like I said, I’ve seen a lot of things. I’m not as young as I used to be, but I also feel like the veteran players are really the ones that need to support what’s going on right now. Everyone does a great job of that."
On if he got a haircut: "A little one, a little one."
- AP Report (NFL.com) Brady leads workouts for third day.
- Paul Perillo and Erik Scalavino debate if this week's player-only practices were of any use to the Patriots.
- Paul Perillo discusses Tom Brady's charity football game to benefit the Best Buddies International, a big hit with players, teammates and the crowd on hand.
- Paul Perillo offers some more quotes from Tom Brady.
- Patriots Today - Brady and Best Buddies. (1.51 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Brady interview (6.03 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Something's Bruin! (2.04 min. video)
- Mike Reiss offers his observations from Day 3 of the Tom Brady-led workouts at BC.
- Jeff Howe wraps up Day 3 of the Patriots workouts at BC, and tells us who was there.
- Ian Rapoport notes Jerod Mayo is pleased and impressed with the players' workouts.
- Mike Reiss reports Tom Brady stopped by the Boston College Campus School to meet the special education kids and hang out for a bit after his workout. Here's a twitpic.
- Mike Rodak shot a video Friday night when Tom Brady spoke with reporters at the Best Buddies event at Harvard.
- Jeff Howe reports Tom Brady and Wes Welker connected on a Hail Mary during the charity football game.
- The Boston Herald posts a photo gallery of the Best Buddies event.
- Ian Rapoport posts some picks of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady riding with their buddies.
- Christopher Price reports Tom Brady is 'relatively confident' both sides can reach a labor deal.
- Shalise Manza Young reports Tom Brady feels good after his foot surgery and positive about a labor deal getting done.
- Ian Rapoport recaps the busy weekend workouts for around 40 or so Patriots players, beginning with three practices at BC and ending with Tom Brady's Best Buddies event.
- Karen Guregian catches up with punter Zoltan Mesko, who just finished an internship with a Philadelphia-based private equity firm.
- Jeff Howe reports Ron Brace's childhood home was damaged during the Springfield tornadoes, but his family stayed safe.
- Christopher Price reports Wes Welker was listed at No. 50 on NFLN's list of 'Top 100' players.
- Mike Reiss highlights Darius Butler's guest appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Saturday afternoon.
- Mike Reiss offers some quick-hit thoughts from the Patriots and around the league.
- NFL Network (NFL.com) Top 100: Wes Welker. Chan Gailey presents the 50th-best player in the NFL as voted on by the players, Patriots WR Wes Welker. (3.04 min. video)
- Gregg Rosenthal (ProFootballTalk) Patriots ramp up efforts to block reporters.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Parcells: Team leaders vital during lockout.
- Peter King (SI) MMQB: The next 30 days are crucial in the squabble between owners, players.
- Gregg Rosenthal (ProFootballTalk) Oral arguments end, judge encourages sides to negotiate.
- Clark Judge (CBS Sports) Judge makes court's case clear -- talk among yourselves.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) How the Eighth Circuit could issue a ruling neither side will like.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Time to strike a deal is before, not after, Eighth Circuit rules.
- Outside the Lines (ESPN) Where the lockout stands today, Andrew Brandt reports. (5 min. video)
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Report: Owners made concessions during recent talks.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Curious ties between NFLCA, NFLPA.
- Alex Marvez (Fox Sports) Lawyers slow progress in NFL labor fight.