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New England Patriots Links 4/16/12 - Patriots Offseason Program Begins on Patriots Day

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Peter King speculates on how much longer Bill Belichick has on the sideline, after 17 years as a head coach.

Finally, it's fitting that, on Patriots Day in Massachusetts, Bill Belichick celebrates his 60th birthday. Time to wonder how much longer the 17-year head coach has on the sidelines.

Belichick doesn't seem to age in dog years the way some coaches do. He has said he won't be coaching until he's 70, but no one with the Patriots thinks he's in his final year or two either.

He starts 2012 ninth on the all-time win list, with a 192-104 record, including playoffs. Next to pass: Chuck Knox (193), Dan Reeves (201), Marty Schottenheimer (205). All of those men could be passed this season, if the Patriots excel in the regular season again.

Then we get to the top five: Chuck Noll 209, Curly Lambeau 229, Tom Landry 270, George Halas 324 and Don Shula 347. I can see him passing Noll and Lambeau, but the siren song of his life outside football might be too great for him to coach the seven or eight more years he'd need, realistically, to catch Landry, particularly with Tom Brady getting up there in age. But sometime in the next two seasons, we should see Belichick enter the hallowed ground of the five winningest coaches ever.

Mark Daniels notes that for the first time in his NFL career, Danny Woodhead will walk into today's offseason training session as the most experienced RB on the team.

"I don’t think it really means anything’s changed — the way I train, the way I get ready or my mindset," Woodhead said. "I think I need to go in and do whatever I can to get better and whatever I can to help the team out."

"I feel good going in and excited to get back with my teammates and working out."

Karen Guregian reports Vince Wilfork will again be hosting his annual draft day fundraiser benefiting the Joslin Diabetes Center, at Pinz in Milford;

"One thing I want to get out of this, I want the fans to be happy. That’s my main thing. I want them to get a chance to interact with me. To see me as Vince Wilfork [stats] the father, Vince Wilfork the husband, Vince Wilfork the friend. Not Vince Wilfork the football player," he said. "I think sometimes people see me on TV and automatically assume something. Then, when they meet me, they see I’m a regular person. I go to the grocery store. I shop. I don’t need nobody to shop for me; I do all that myself. That’s what I want people to get out of this. I think that’s why every year (the event) grows. I want them to see me as a person. That way, they’ll really get to understand who I am."

TEAM TALK

LOCAL LINKS

  • Karen Guregian reports the Pats offseason program starts today - two weeks of only strength and conditioning, so it's no big deal that Wes Welker is not likely to show.
  • Mike Rodak notes Danny Woodhead is now one of the veteran running backs on the roster.
  • Matt Pepin finds Danny Woodhead eager to get back to work.
  • Karen Guregian reports Dan Koppen explored his options on the outside, talked with several teams, even visited one - but wanted to stay in New England.
  • Christopher Price tells us what the return of Dan Koppen means for the Patriots offensive line.
  • Mike Reiss notes the Patriots signed kicker Chris Koepplin again for a second camp leg. Koepplin kicked at UMass before joining the Patriots last offseason.
  • Christopher Price offers 10 things we learned this week about the Patriots and the NFL. Worth a peek.
  • Mike Reiss shares some quick-hit weekend thoughts from the Pats and around the NFL.
  • Karen Guregian Sunday NFL Notes: Patriots officially begin their offseason program today, with the first phase of workouts being two weeks limited to strength and conditioning. Strength coaches are the only ones permitted on the field with the players per the new CBA; Welker has alluded that he will sign his tender at some point; James Sanders thought he "might get a little love" from the Patriots in free agency and was a "little" surprised they didn't call; Tedy Bruschi is running the Boston Marathon for the first time Monday.
  • Jeff Howe believes Dre Kirkpatrick's talent might be too good to pass up if he falls to the Patriots in the Draft.
  • Jeff Howe says Mohamed Sanu would add a powerful dynamic to the Patriots' aging group of wide receivers.
  • Jeff Howe thinks Courtney Upshaw's big-game ability would help Patriots' pass rush if concerns cause Draft-day slide.
  • Greg A. Bedard takes an early stab at a mock draft. Patriots select S Harrison Smith (Notre Dame) and trade away their 31st pick to the Browns for a first round pick in 2013. If they don't trade, they take DT Devon Still (Penn State).
  • Karen Guregian tells us who the experts are picking in the draft for the Pats. 12 experts, 24 first-round picks, all defense.

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