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Quick-hit thoughts on the NFL combine and Patriots, and some non-football ramblings

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The King continues to push through the NFL offseason with some football thoughts, and a few non-football thoughts...

Super Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Some thoughts for the first week of March ...

-- It appears that Shaquem Griffin, a linebacker from UCF, is stealing the show at the 2018 NFL Combine. He ran a 4.38 40-yard dash on Sunday, which is the fastest time for a linebacker since 2003. AND he’s missing his left hand! He benched 20 reps of 225 pounds with a prosthetic, which is incredible. I probably couldn’t even bench press 100 pounds and I have two hands. I’m not sure if I’ve been pronouncing Shaquem’s first name correctly, but best of luck to him in his upcoming NFL career. He’ll make history as the first one-handed player modern-NFL player, and he’ll make a nice addition to whatever team ends up taking him.

-- Non-football note: Since I had some downtime on Sunday afternoon, I decided to tune into a little Spring Training action. The Red Sox played the Orioles, and Andrew Benintendi drilled a two-run bomb to right field early in the game. The only thing was … the kid is almost unrecognizable without his long locks that we’ve become so accustomed to. I like to think of Benintendi as a good friend (even though I’ve never met him in my life and he doesn’t know I exist), but I felt like I was watching a stranger at the plate. He needs to bring the thick, wavy locks back ASAP. On the bright side, however, Benintendi has bulked up quite a bit over the offseason. We might see him crush a handful of baseballs over the wall this season.

-- One thing I’m really intrigued about heading into the NFL Draft next month will be to see if the Patriots draft a quarterback, just so that he can get the thoughts in his head that the Pats want him to be the guy to succeed Tom Brady, then slowly come to realize that Brady’s mindset is “I’m actually going to keep playing until I’m 50 and this team will never be yours, kid.” Whoever this poor kid is, he’s never going to see it coming.

-- Non-football note: Saturday night’s Celtics-Rockets game might be in the running for Game of the Year … and the Celtics blew it. They had a six-point lead in the final minutes, but couldn’t hold off the Rockets (a real threat to upend Golden State in the playoffs) and their 15-2 run to steal the win. After coughing up the lead, they might’ve had a chance to send the game to overtime if Kyrie Irving was better at missing free throws. And yes, you read that correctly. At the foul line and down by three, Kyrie made one free throw, then tried to miss the second free throw in hopes of a rebound and a put-back. He pretty much just flung the ball at the backboard, but it still banked in, and Kyrie was furious at himself immediately afterward. Want to hear something funny? I could shoot 50 free throw attempts and wouldn’t make a single one of them, but Kyrie, can’t miss even when he wants to. It’s not very often that you let your team down my making shots.

-- It’s going to be a bummer when Dion Lewis most likely leaves the Patriots in free agency. I really liked the guy. He was amazing to watch over the last few seasons; the dude could really run. However, Bill Belichick isn’t going to overpay to keep him in New England, because Belichick doesn’t overpay for anybody, and he’s especially not going to do it for a potential injury risk. It’s just not in his nature. But Lewis had a heck of a year in 2017, leading the Patriots with 180 rushing attempts, 896 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. If he ends up walking away for more money this offseason, I will definitely miss No. 33. Wearing that number, he was in pretty good company in Boston sports. Larry Bird, Jason Varitek, Zdeno Chara … only the greats wear 33 in Boston. Of course, in 20 years, we won’t remember Lewis quite like we remember those other guys, but he was still an awesome Patriot during his short tenure. He’ll be missed.

That’s all for now, but I’ll be back with some more ramblings in the near future. Hope you all enjoyed the Oscars.