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Wilfork on D&H: Mankins ‘the best’ OL out there

07.15.10 at 12:56 pm ET
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Vince Wilfork (AP)

Vince Wilfork (AP)

Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork made an appearance on the Dale & Holley show Thursday (to listen click here), calling in from his home in Florida, where he’s been working out to get ready for preseason camp. “I’m going to be in tip-top shape come July 28, when I’ve got to report and get to work,” he said. “I’m on schedule, I’m on track, I’m looking good, I feel good.”

Talking about his contract negotiations leading up to his five-year, $40 million deal in early March, Wilfork said it was tough at times, but he always remained confident things would work out. “We kept a level head,” he said. “We knew it was going to clear up.”

Asked about Logan Mankins‘ contract dispute with the team, Wilfork said he respects the way the Patriots run their business, making sure the team is competitive every year. “You have to look at it from both sides,” he said. “That’s how I looked at it. I can’t say Logan is wrong or right. That’s not my judgment for him. Everybody’s situation is different. … Hopefully, that will get worked out soon. Hopefully, he’s still a teammate of mine, because I think he is the best offensive linemen out there. … He’s the real deal.”

Wilfork said he will remain a diehard Celtics fan despite his hometown team, the Miami Heat, loading up with stars for a run at a championship. “I’m one of the biggest [Celtics] fans there is, and I’m still with them,” he said. “It’s all good.”

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NFL supplemental draft set for today

07.15.10 at 11:57 am ET
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The NFL’s supplemental draft is scheduled for today, and there are four players eligible — BYU running back Harvey Unga, Illinois defensive tackle Josh Price-Brent, Northwestern State running back Quentin Castille and Truman State wide receiver Vanness Emokpae.

The Patriots have never been active in the supplemental draft — they’ve taken only taken two players since it began in 1977, wide receiver Chy Davidson from URI in 1981 and cornerback J’Juan Cherry from Arizona State in 1999. But if they do jump in this year, chances are good they’ll go after Unga — New England was one of 20 teams at his workout last week in Provo.

The 6-foot, 237-pounder, who withdrew from BYU for a violation of the honor code, rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons with the Cougars. For his collegiate career, he gained 3,455 yards and scored 36 touchdowns. Here’s some film on Unga:

The supplemental draft, an opportunity for players who missed the filing deadline for the NFL draft or because issues developed which affected their eligibility (such as athletic or disciplinary matters). Teams can bid on players, and the player is awarded to the team who bids the highest pick. As a result, you lose your pick in that same round in the draft the following year. Notable supplementary draftees include linebacker Brian Bosworth, quarterback Bernie Kosar and left tackle Jared Gaither.

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‘Help Vince’ finally revealed

07.15.10 at 9:38 am ET
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A month or so ago, a shirt with “Help Vince” arrived on my doorstep with no explanation — it only had those words, along with “7/15/10″ and “Patriots.com” on the front. (High quality T-shirt, for what it’s worth.) The plea began popping up all over in places like here and here. Anyway, the reason was revealed this morning at Patriots.com — the team is hosting a scavenger hunt as part of a promotion with SCVNGR, the location-based iPhone and Android app, and Wilfork is the face of the campaign. (You can try and find his Super Bowl ring, which has been “stolen” by a Jets fan.) Check out the video below for an “explanation.”

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TO: I’d ‘definitely be open’ to playing for Patriots

07.14.10 at 11:30 am ET
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Terrell Owens said he'd "definitely be open" to the idea of playing for the Patriots. (AP)

Wide receiver Terrell Owens said Wednesday morning he’d “definitely be open” to playing for the Patriots. The 36-year-old wide receiver, currently a free agent, told WJMN Radio he’d welcome an opportunity to play in New England.

“I’d definitely be open to that,” said Owens, who played with the Bills last season and caught 55 passes for 829 yards and five touchdowns.

Owens addressed his critics who believe he’d need to catch a certain amount of passes to be satisfied, saying he’d be like LeBron James and take a lesser role and less money in an attempt to make it work with the Patriots.

“People think that they have that perception about me. Of course. Any receiver … what receiver that’s out there that’s had great stats, great careers that didn’t want the ball? I’m no different,” Owens said. “But of course — I mean, you’ve got Brady there. You’ve got the great mind, coach Belichick.

“I’m like LeBron. I can go there and take less of a role, take less money and put everything aside and make it work.”

In his 14-year career, Owens has been a lightning rod for controversy, seemingly making an annual habit of calling out teammates, ex-teammates and coaches alike. But playing for San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas and Buffalo, he’s been a six-time Pro Bowler who’s managed to catch 1,006 career passes for 14,951 yards and 144 touchdowns.

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Kraft: Steinbrenner ‘moved the needle’

07.14.10 at 1:01 am ET
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steinbrenner

George Steinbrenner sent a note to Patriots' owner Robert Kraft when New England won its first Super Bowl back in 2002. (AP)

Patriots owner Robert Kraft said that George Steinbrenner “moved the needle” when it came to getting creative in attempts to elevate the Yankees whenever possible, but acknowledged that Steinbrenner, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 80, may have overdone it at times.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Kraft and a handful of other professional owners recalled Steinbrenner as a trailblazer who created a terrific business model with the Yankees, and advanced his teams’ brand in ways other franchises only dream about.

“In some ways, George Steinbrenner moved the needle,” Kraft said of Steinbrenner, a former college football coach. “But he also crossed the border at times. There’s a fine line there.”

Kraft spoke about a note he received from Steinbrenner back in 2002 when the Patriots won their first Super Bowl.

“It was the nicest letter, praising us for the turnaround and making the right personnel decisions, even when they weren’t the most popular decisions at the time,” Kraft said. “We both want to win. We do things different, stylistically, but the bottom line is we want winners running the show.”

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Darius Butler chats with the guys from ESPN’s “First Take”

07.12.10 at 4:44 pm ET
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Patriots cornerback (and prolific Tweeter) Darius Butler spent some time with the guys from ESPN’s “First Take” this morning, and touched on a variety of topics. Check out the video below:

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LeBron’s departure sparks Twitter trash talk between Bodden, Ochocinco

07.10.10 at 1:20 am ET
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It’s less than two months before the Patriots-Bengals regular-season opener — Sept. 12, to be exact — but it’s never too early for Chad Ochocinco.

In the wake of LeBron James’ decision to sign with the Miami Heat on Thursday night, the Cincinnati wide receiver took a shot at Patriots’ cornerback Leigh Bodden, tweeting: “Lebron went to the #HEAT, now its football time, @leighbodden its you and the #Patriots ass week 1.” Bodden, who has previously exchanged in a little back-and-forth with Ochocinco, replied: “Lebron had to Leave Cleveland to win and so did I so Week 1 #23 will #HEATITUP so @OGOchoCinco u better be ready.”

It marks the second time in less than a month that Bodden and Ochocinco have engaged in a little Twitter trash talk. On July 1, the two had a Twitter conversation that culminated with Ochocinco asking Bodden: “Does it frustrate to train so hard and still #fail when trying to stop me, even with safety help every play #justaskin.” Bodden responded: “It frustrates me when I work so hard & #succeed vs U. Sometimes I feel bad cuz ur such a great guy. #Itsjustbusinesstho.”

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