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Patriots sign 3 players to practice squad

12.03.14 at 1:43 pm ET
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As the Patriots are in San Diego preparing for Sunday’s game with the Chargers, the team departed with three openings on its practice squad. They filled out the practice squad on Wednesday by signing three players — cornerbacks Daxton Swanson and Justin Green, as well as linebacker Deontae Skinner.

Here is a portion of the release from the team:

Green was released by the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 1, 2014 after being traded from New England to Dallas on Aug. 15, 2014 for defensive tackle Ben Bass. Skinner and Swanson were released from the New England practice squad on Nov. 26.

Green, 23, originally signed with the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Illinois on July 21, 2013, and was released at the end of training camp before being re-signed to the practice squad. The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder played in two regular-season games with the Patriots last year after spending most of the season on the practice squad.

Skinner, 24, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Mississippi State on May 12, 2014. The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder, was released by the Patriots on Aug. 26 and signed to the practice squad on Sept. 1. He was signed to the 53-man roster from the practice squad on Sept. 13 and played in seven games with one start, accumulating 10 total tackles and three special teams tackles. He was released on Oct. 29 and signed back to the practice squad on Oct. 31.

Swanson, 23, was signed to the Patriots practice squad on Sept 1, 2014 and then released from the practice squad on Sept. 3, 2014 before being re-signed on Sept. 17. He was originally signed by the Patriots as a free agent on May 22, 2014. Swanson entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Indianapolis Colts on April 30, 2013, out of Sam Houston State. The 5-foot-11, 191-pounder was released by the Colts on Oct. 29, 2013 and was signed to the San Francisco 49ers practice squad on Nov. 18, 2013. He was released by San Francisco on May 12, 2014.

Read More: Daxton Swanson, Deontae Skinner, Justin Green,

Donte’ Stallworth on D&C: Ray Rice ready to ‘prove to society that he deserves a second chance’

12.03.14 at 10:22 am ET
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Donte' Stallworth

Donte’ Stallworth

Former Patriots wide receiver and current Huffington Post writer Donte’ Stallworth joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss various topics around the NFL, including the latest on the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson situations. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Since Rice won his appeal with the league in late November and was allowed to return to football, it has been a mystery whether a team will sign the running back to play again.

“I think he’ll get a second chance,” said Stallworth, who himself got a second chance in the NFL after being suspended for the 2009 season due to his DUI manslaughter conviction. “I think there will be something out there that will give him a second chance. He made a horrible decision and he’s acknowledged it. It’s something similar to my situation, I think that he’s got a lot of work to do, and he knows that. Naturally, he wants to get back to playing football. He’s a really good player, still young. He’ll be turning 28 I think next month. … He’s still young, he’s still got some juice left in his tank, and I think he’s ready to get back and prove to society that he deserves a second chance as well.”

Peterson is suspended for the rest of this season, but Stallworth said he believes Peterson will return to the league at some point in the future.

Said Stallworth: “I think it’s going to take some time. The NFL and obviously the players, but the NFL as whole has taken some hits this year with the domestic violence cases and some other issues. I think at the end of the day, I can’t speak personally to Adrian Peterson‘s case because I don’t know him personally, but I do know Ray and his wife. And I know that they’re working to get back to trying their best to live a normal life as a family, as a couple, as mother and father and husband and wife. Ray’s a good man. And I say that without caution because of something of one instance that he did in his life doesn’t make him a horrible person. But he did make a horrible decision and I think he acknowledges that and he understands that it was a horrible decision. He was always a model citizen in Baltimore, that one of the things that he was always praised for in the community.

“He’s got a little ways to go to earn back the trust of the community and earn back the trust of the NFL fans. And if he gets the trust of an NFL team, then he’ll be playing.”

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Read More: Adrian Peterson, Bill Belichick, donte stallworth, ray rice

Why you should never, ever think you can beat Tom Brady in fantasy football

12.03.14 at 9:44 am ET
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Thanks to DailyMVP, even a telemarketer named Gary can feel like Tom Brady. This video shows a certain future Hall of Fame quarterback trash talking for the daily fantasy sports site, DailyMVP.com.

Love that hair, Tom, er Gary.

Read More: DailyMVP, DailyMVP.com, New England Patriots, Tom Brady

Packers rookie Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Tweets about his respect for Rob Gronkowski

12.02.14 at 10:16 pm ET
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Green Bay rookie defensive back Ha Ha Clinton-Dix made a huge play in Sunday’s game against the Patriots, knocking the ball away from tight end Rob Gronkowski on a fourth-quarter pass play in the end zone to help the Packers come away with the win. When compared to many of the defenders Gronkowski has gone against this year, Clinton-Dix did as well as could be expected. Following the game, he gave a shout-out to Gronkowski.

Read More: Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, Rob Gronkowski,

Josh McDaniels on why the Patriots use so many running backs

12.02.14 at 8:26 pm ET
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Brandon Bolden was the latest running back to be featured in a game, with his first touchdown of the season on Sunday. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Brandon Bolden was the latest Patriots running back to be featured in a game, scoring his first touchdown of the season on Sunday. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

It’s been a revolving door at the running back position over the last several weeks for the Patriots, with seemingly a different player being featured every week.

Shane Vereen, Jonas Gray, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden have all received at least three carries over the last three games, including three of them scoring touchdowns.

Against Indianapolis it was Gray rushing for 201 yards and four touchdowns, against the Lions it was Blount rushing for two touchdowns in his first game back as a Patriot and this past Sunday Bolden scored his first touchdown of the season against the Packers — all while Vereen has continued to be a dependable third-down back out of the backfield.

So, how exactly is it determined who will be the featured back that particular game?

“We have confidence in all of our backs, and they can all do a lot of the things we do in our offense,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said on Wednesday’s conference call. “And then there are some things that we do with them that are a little bit more specific. I think there are so many variables that go into how we use them on a weekly basis — the style, the game plan, the personnel groupings we’€™re using, what we anticipate getting from the defense and the types of things that we choose to do during the course of the game.

“They are all ready to go, and sometimes, we kind of know what their role is heading into the game, and then however the game unfolds and the way we’€™re being played and what we choose to do as the game goes on sometimes will certainly impact who ends up playing in different situations or who plays more or what have you. They’€™re all ready to go. We have a lot of confidence in all of them, and we would anticipate all of them playing that go to the game.”

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Read More: Green Bay Packers, Josh McDaniels, Tom Brady,

Bill Belichick explains ‘team-building’ going on in Southern California before a big game

12.02.14 at 7:32 pm ET
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Bill Belichick. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

With several players showing up at Monday night’s Clippers game in L.A., we’ve already seen some of the bonding that’s gone on in SoCal since the Patriots arrived there late, late Sunday night/early Monday morning.

And while this is strictly a business trip to San Diego (with some rather large late-season implications at stake), Bill Belichick shed some light Tuesday on what he sees as some added side benefits to a week together in the stretch run of the season.

“I think it is a good opportunity to be together as a team: players, coaches, young players, veteran players, offense, defense, so forth,” Belichick said in a conference call. “I think it’€™s a good environment for us to prepare for the game and a good opportunity to spend a little bit of extra time together, however that exactly works out. Hopefully, it will be all in a positive way for our team and that we have a great week of preparation for the Chargers, which is what we’€™re here for and that’€™s what our focus is. But as a byproduct of that, if it’€™s team-building and opportunities to build relationships within the team, I think that’€™s good, too.”

Of course, this happened to a lesser extent in training camp in Richmond, Va., when the Patriots practiced all week against the Redskins and then had their preseason game at FedEx Field.

The decision to head out to San Diego early was made weeks ago as the Patriots’ coaching staff, led by Belichick, tried to minimize the impact of going cross-country to play the Chargers, a week after playing in Green Bay. It became obvious to the staff that heading out West a week early would accomplish a number of objectives.

“It’€™s kind of a two-combination thing there. One was the travel, going from Green Bay back to Foxboro and then to turn around and come back here probably on Friday [is] just a lot of travel for the team at this time of year,” Belichick said. “We were able to get in here Sunday night and really have kind of a pretty normal day yesterday and a normal Tuesday today without too much ‘€“ any more than normal type of fatigue. And just being acclimated to the conditions that we’€™re going to be playing in, so [we’€™ll] get in the conditions out here and go through it for a few days and play on Sunday as close as we can get.”

A Navy brat, Belichick is more than aware that San Diego is a huge Navy town, with one of the largest installations of its kind located there. Will Belichick take some time to appreciate the Naval history?

“Right now, we’€™re just kind of trying to get going here on the Chargers,” Belichick said. “It is a big Navy town and I’€™m proud of that. So, I don’€™t know, we’€™ll see how it goes. But right now, our focus is just on San Diego, nothing else really but that.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Navy, New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers

Bill Belichick explains why Doc Rivers can pump up the Patriots anytime he wants

12.02.14 at 6:18 pm ET
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Doc Rivers (left) and Bill Belichick chat before a 2012 Patriots game against Houston. (Getty Images)

Doc Rivers (left) and Bill Belichick chat before a 2012 Patriots game against Houston. (Getty Images)

In the Boston coaching fraternity, there were few as close as the bond between Bill Belichick and Doc Rivers. Turns out, that bond is as close as ever.

The two often invited the other to speak to their teams, hang out at games and practice.

Two seasons ago, on a Monday night, Belichick invited Rivers onto the sideline before a game with the Texans.

On Tuesday, during a conference call, Belichick was asked about Rivers’ invitation to several Patriots’ players, including Rob Gronkowski. Gronk hung out with Justin Bieber before the Clippers routed the Minnesota Timberwolves, 127-101, at Staples Center. Before the game, Rivers called the Patriots a “real football team.”

“I love Doc,” Belichick said. “We have a great relationship. I think he’€™s obviously done a tremendous job in Boston and now with the Clippers, so always pulling for Doc personally.”

Belichick acknowledged just how close he considers Rivers to his own football team.

“He talked to our team, has a relationship with players on our team,” Belichick said. ‘€œI have tremendous respect for him. He is so well-respected on this team — the players, the coaches and all of us who have interacted with him and the way he handles himself, his team and his passion for his sport of basketball.

‘€œBut, also his appreciation for our team, professional athletes, football players, what we do through the relationships and the challenges of playing and competing at this level. So, it’€™s all great with Doc.”

Belichick said Rivers still has the cache to speak to the Patriots, like he did in 2012 before the Patriots dispatched the Texans, 42-14, on Monday night football.

“I think all of the times he talked with the team and the messages that he has delivered were outstanding,” Belichick said. “Nobody understands sports — especially someone who is not in football — better than he does. He has a great ability to relate to our athletes our team.

“I am very appreciative of the friendship that I have with him. I have the utmost respect for Doc. Everything that he has done for us, can do and any support he gives us is very appreciated.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Doc Rivers, Justin Bieber, Los Angeles Clippers
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