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Brand new Patriots ramblings for the month of April

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It’s a new month, and The King is ready to ramble.

Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards 2017 - Show
Everybody loves Julian Edelman.
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Get ready for endless Justin Timberlake memes, because the month of April is upon us.

Just like you, I’m dumbfounded by the fact that it’s already April. Parents and grandparents weren’t kidding when they said time goes faster as you get older. I’m only about halfway through my 20s and I feel like I’m going on 40. I’m afraid to blink, because after I do, it’s going to be the year 2035. This is a serious problem.

You know what calms me down when I’m stressing out about time moving too quickly? Sitting down in front of my laptop with a beverage nearby, putting a TV show or a movie on in the background, and typing until I’m tired of typing. Or, we can just call it rambling.

So without further ado, here are a few rambling thoughts pertaining to the NFL and/or the Patriots, and a few ramblings thoughts NOT pertaining to the NFL and/or the Patriots. Enjoy.

1) Julian Edelman has probably worked his way on to “The King’s Top 10 Favorite Human Beings” list. Forget about him catching the go-ahead touchdown for the Patriots in Super Bowl 49, or his Just-Barely-Scraped-It-Off-The-Ground miracle catch in Super Bowl 51. This past week, while he was back visiting his native land in the Bay Area to be inducted into the Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame, Edelman made a surprise visit to his sister’s fifth grade class.

He shared the experience on his Instagram story (Julian is a tremendous Instagrammer, by the way, just in case you weren’t already following him). He mentioned how his sister’s students always write him letters and cheer on the Patriots from the West Coast, so he had to stop by and show them some love. The second he walked through the classroom door, jaws dropped in shock. Edelman spent the day talking to the kids, signing autographs, and playing football with them.

If something like this had happened to me when I was in fifth grade, I would’ve absolutely lost my mind. Someday, when I’ve brainwashed my future kids to love sports, I hope something like this can happen for them. I can’t wait to see my future son run through the door while screaming, “Daddy! Daddy! Andrew Benintendi came to our classroom today! I got his autograph!” It will be one of the best days of my – err, his life.

And no, I don’t plan on living vicariously through my future kids. I just plan on training them to despise the Lakers, the Canadiens, and any team from New York. That’s it. I swear.

2) In my column last week about Johnny Manziel, I probably should’ve added that I’m not actually rooting for Manziel to fail again. He says that he’s gotten his life on the right track, and he’s ready come back to the NFL and prove everybody wrong. I hope he does just that. I just don’t want the Patriots to try to make him into the guy that will succeed Tom Brady.

I think one of the biggest reasons why Manziel’s life spiraled out of control over the last few years was because he had too much media coverage, superstar status, and expectations heaped on him while he was just a freshman in college. Some athletes can handle that kind of superstardom, other athletes can’t. Manziel was clearly one of the ones who couldn’t, and that’s why he’s had a handful of off-the-field problems, and it’s also played a big part in why he failed to live up to expectations in Cleveland.

Cleveland Browns v Kansas City Chiefs
Will Johnny Manziel successfully make an NFL comeback?
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

A fresh start in the NFL is what Manziel needs, and if he’s immediately signed on to be the potential heir apparent to Tom Brady in New England, he’ll be facing more pressure and expectations than ever before. If he couldn’t handle the pressure in Cleveland, how’s he supposed to handle it in New England? It’s a bad idea all around, for both Manziel and the Pats. Let him get a fresh start in a smaller market, where he won’t be expected to fill the shoes of the greatest QB of all time, and where he won’t be scrutinized quite as much (unfortunately, he’ll always be scrutinized a little bit, because he’s Johnny Football). That’s the kind of situation he needs right now, until he can prove himself again.

3) I had a huge fantasy baseball blunder on Monday. I had Hanley Ramirez removed from my fantasy lineup because he didn’t play on Sunday. On Monday morning, I simply forgot to put him back in, and then he proceeded to go 2-for-5 with a home run, two RBIs and a stolen base for the Red Sox that night in Miami. Feel free to drop by my apartment and kick me in the shin. I deserve it.

To top it off, I also started Yadier Molina over Yasmani Grandal (I have a thing for Y-named catchers obviously), and just like Hanley, Grandal had a homer and two RBIs. It’s because of minor screw-ups like this that I’m barely scraping to stay above ground in my first fantasy baseball matchup of the year. Send help if you can, please.

4) Tracy Wolfson reporting that John Beilein wanted to get Moritz Wagner more involved during the second half of Monday’s NCAA National Championship Game seemed like the most obvious key to success of all time. If I’m Beilein, I’m putting the ball in Wagner’s hands just about every possession and letting him go ballistic. And why not? You’re playing in the NCAA title game! Let your most dominant player run the show. Apparently, even I could coach the Michigan Wolverines. Maybe then they would’ve won the title …

Just kidding. All jokes aside, I have great respect for Coach Beilein. He’s an excellent basketball coach. Can’t argue against four Sweet Sixteens and two title game appearances in the last six years. Michigan is just destined to forever be the Close-But-No-Cigar team.

5) Since this is first and foremost a Patriots site, here’s one more Patriots topic to close us out. Trade rumors regarding Rob Gronkowski are beginning to swirl. Supposedly, there are a handful of teams that plan on making calls to Bill Belichick to inquire about a possible Gronk trade. And this is being taken seriously because I guess there is some concern that Gronkowski might not be on the same page as the organization, for whatever reason. We don’t know the details, and I doubt we ever will.

Super Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots
The King expects to see more Gronk Spikes in New England in 2018.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Here’s my honest opinion: I think these are just rumors and speculation (I think, and I hope). I’m sure Belichick will entertain trade offers at the very least, but ultimately, I don’t think Gronkowski is going anywhere any time soon. Belichick’s biggest focus above anything else is winning, and he’s only making a move if he believes it’s going to increase the Pats’ chances of winning in 2018.

Gronk is one of the most dynamic players in the NFL, and hands down the best tight end in the game today, maybe ever. As long as he’s on the field, he’s going to increase New England’s chances of winning. He will only be 29 years old next season – still in the prime of his career. Belichick is going to milk as much football out of Gronkowski as he can while he’s still at the top of his game, so at least for the foreseeable future, the plan is for No. 87 to be back in Foxborough when August rolls around.

Of course, Belichick is also known to be unpredictable at times, so don’t write anything off completely. There’s nothing worse than being caught completely off guard with a punch-to-the-gut trade. Seriously, let’s not relive the summer of Tyler Seguin again.