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Tiquan Underwood, Ross Ventrone, 5 others signed to future contracts

02.07.12 at 6:04 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots have signed seven players to future contracts, including Tiquan Underwood and Ross Ventrone.

Underwood was released last Saturday, on the eve of Super Bowl XLVI, to make room for the signing of defensive end Alex Silvestro off the practice squad.

Ventrone was the human yo-yo this season for the Patriots, with over 20 transactions from the waiver wire to the practice squad to the active squad.

Underwood played in five games for New England in 2011 and caught three passes for 30 yards. Underwood, 6-1, 183 pounds, originally entered the NFL as a seventh round draft choice (253rd overall) by Jacksonville in 2009 out of Rutgers. After beginning his rookie season on the practice squad, he joined the 53-man roster and appeared in three games, mainly on special teams. In 2010, he played in 10 games and caught eight passes for 111 yards and returned 24 kicks for 561 yards, including a career-long of 53 yards in the season-opener vs. Denver (Sept. 12). He was released by Jacksonville on Aug. 25, 2011 and was signed by the Patriots on Aug. 29. Underwood was released by the Patriots on Sept. 3 before being signed back on Nov. 24.

Ventrone, 5-8, 190 pounds, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Villanova on April 29, 2010. He was waived by the Patriots on Sept. 4 and then signed to the practice squad on Oct. 19 where he spent the rest of his rookie season. Ventrone spent time on the 53-man roster and the practice squad this past season. He played in eight games and finished with 1 tackle and 2 special teams tackles.

Also signed to future deals were linebackers Markell Carter and Mike Rivera, defensive end Aaron Lavarias, wide receiver Britt Davis and offensive lineman Dan Kopa.
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Read More: Markell Carter, New England Patriots, nfl, Ross Ventrone

Publicity stunt takes shot at Wes Welker after missed connection in Super Bowl XLVI

02.07.12 at 1:51 pm ET
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You knew it was coming — it was only a matter of when.

After Wes Welker‘s failed connection with quarterback Tom Brady on a fourth-quarter pass play in Sunday’s Super Bowl, an online pawnshop called “Pawngo” delivered 900 pounds of Butterfingers on Tuesday to Wes Welker. Of course, they didn’t bring them to Welker’s house — instead, they dropped them in the middle of Copley Square, and encouraged “everyone in the area stop to take pictures, grab a bar, and have a laugh.”

Click here for a few pics of the relatively classless stunt.

Read More: Tom Brady, Wes Welker,

Man who won bet on Super Bowl safety reportedly plans to donate winnings to charity

02.07.12 at 11:09 am ET
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A typical prop bet turned unusual Sunday evening when the bet on which team would score first and how deviated from the usual touchdown or field goal. Instead, the Giants earned the first lead of the game when Tom Brady was flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone, a call that resulted in a Giants safety.

But people sometimes make odd bets, and Giants fan Jona Rechnitz became the beneficiary off an atypical guess when he bet $1,000 that the Giants would score first on a safety. At 50:1 odds, Rechnitz is now owed $50,000 as a result of the freak play.

But according to a TMZ report, Rechnitz wants to donate every cent of his winnings to charity. Rechnitz told TMZ he would donate $5,000 to a charity of quarterback Tom Brady’s choice in the hopes that Brady will match Rechnitz’s donation. Rechnitz also said he would donate $5,000 to the charities of the choosing of all the defensive linemen on the play. Any money remaining will be donated to charities for the less fortunate. In return, Rechnitz said, he simply wants to take Brady out for a falafel dinner.

Read More: Jona Rechnitz, Tom Brady,

At least the Patriots got on a David Letterman Top 10 list

02.06.12 at 9:41 pm ET
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CBS released a Top 10 list on its website, titled, “Top 10 Things Overheard In The New England Patriots Locker Room After the Super Bowl.” (The network cut the list from Monday night’s ‘Late Show’ with David Letterman) Here it is:

10. “Did we win?”

9. “What matters most is we had fun.”

8. “We should have Tebowed.”

7. “When’s Game 2?”

6. “President Bush is on the phone.”

5. “We still get paid, right?”

4. “On the bright side, we still get to shower together.”

3. “Why is Bill Belichick naked?”

2. “Who cares that we lost — I’m married to a supermodel.” (Tom Brady only.)

1. “Well, at least we don’t have to go on Letterman.”

How much longer is the Super Bowl window open for Tom Brady?

02.06.12 at 6:00 pm ET
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Tom Brady will turn 35 in August, still a young age in virtually every walk of life.

But not in professional sports. Even at a position like quarterback, a position that receives more protection in the NFL rules than any other, it is impossible to overlook the inherent vulnerability of a football star. One need look no further than the uncertain future facing 35-year-old Peyton Manning, or the fact that Joe Montana won his fourth and final Super Bowl at age 33, to receive a reminder of that fact.

Despite being on the losing end of Super Bowl XLVI, Brady remains near the top of the mountain. He was the NFL MVP for the 2010 season, and while he did not reclaim that honor in 2011, he was still tremendously effective in guiding his team to a 15-4 season.

Even so, Brady is reaching an age where it becomes increasingly unusual for quarterbacks to lead their teams to titles. Of the 92 quarterbacks to start a Super Bowl, just eight (8.7 percent) have been 35 years old or older. No Super Bowl-winning QB has been 35 or older since John Elway became the oldest quarterback to win a championship at age 38 in 1999.

Here is the complete list of quarterbacks who are 35 or older (Brady’s age for the forthcoming 2012 season) and appeared in the Super Bowl:

Kurt Warner (37, 2009 – lost)
Rich Gannon (37, 2003 – lost)
John Elway (38, 1999 – won)
John Elway (37, 1998 – won)
Jim Plunkett (36, 1984 – won)
Roger Staubach (35, 1978 – won)
Frank Tarkenton (36, 1977 – lost)
Johnny Unitas (37, 1971 – won)

Brady remains under contract with the Patriots through the 2014 season, when he’ll be 37 years old. He has made clear a desire to continue playing for several more years, and the consistency of his success to date has been little short of startling. All of that being the case, what do you think the future holds for Brady?

How many more Super Bowls will Tom Brady play in?

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Read More: Peyton Manning, Super Bowl, Tom Brady,

James Ihedigbo: Patriots can’t blame Wes Welker for loss

02.06.12 at 4:45 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots arrived Monday at Gillette Stadium and promptly left, though defensive backs Antwuan Molden and James Ihedigbo were available to the media Monday afternoon.

Much has been made about Wes Welker‘s drop with the Patriots leading and use over four minutes to go in the Super Bowl. Even Tom Brady‘s wife, Gisele Bundchen, ripped the team’s receivers for not being able to hold onto passes. While many likely have that line of thinking, Ihedibgo said none of the Patriots do.

“You can never point fingers at anyone,” Ihedigbo said. “You look at the plays that [Welker]’s made all year long to put us in this position an dhow he played that game, how hard he prepared that game, and across the board. Look, we wanted it just as bad as they did. They just made some key plays there at the end and came out on top, so hats off to them.”

Added Ihedigbo: “You win as a team. You win and lose as a team. We lost to a good football team.”

Ihedigbo just wrapped up his first season as a Patriot. A native of Northampton and a graduate of UMass, the local product said that the 21-17 loss didn’t take any time to sink in.

“It hit us last night,” Ihedigbo said. “It’s a tough loss against a very good opponent. They made some plays there and put them in position to win the game, and they did that.”

While the loss was disheartening for the Pats, Ihedigbo said that the experience of playing the Super Bowl and coming so close to winning has only increased the team’s desire to win.

Said Ihedigbo: “God willing, we can get back, but it definitely makes have that hunger and desire to get back and really bring the Lombardi trophy where it belongs.”

Read More: Wes Welker,

Bill Belichick confirms Josh McDaniels will succeed Bill O’Brien as Patriots offensive coordinator

02.06.12 at 4:07 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday at Gillette Stadium that Josh McDaniels will succeed Bill O’Brien as the team’s offensive coordinator. McDaniels, who held the position with the Patriots from 2006-2008, and after stops in Denver and St. Louis, was brought back as an offensive assistant prior to the playoffs, as the Rams did not intend to keep him.

“Josh,” Belichick said when asked about the position.

O’Brien was hired last month as head coach at Penn State. He had been with the Patriots since 2007.

Now 35, McDaniels first came to the Patriots in 2001 as a personnel assistant. He left following the 2008 season to become the head coach of the Broncos, but was fired midway through his second season on the job. He became the Rams’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach last season.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill O'Brien, Josh McDaniels,
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