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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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Patriots sign Deaderick

07.09.10 at 3:12 pm ET
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Multiple reports indicate the Patriots have signed seventh-round pick Brandon Deaderick to a four-year contract. (UPDATE, 4:44 pm: Sources have confirmed that Deaderick has indeed signed a four-year deal with New England.) In his four-year career with Alabama, the 6-foot-4, 287-pound Deaderick started 31 of 44 career games, and accumulated 82 total tackles and 8.0 sacks.

Deaderick was taken 247th overall, one of three seventh-round picks by the Patriots. His deal is reportedly worth $1.83 million dollars, and included a signing bonus of just over $40,000. He is the sixth member of New England’s 2010 draft class to sign a contract.

The news was first reported by Mac’s Football Blog.

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Sources: Pats one of 20 teams at workout for BYU’s Unga

07.08.10 at 5:49 pm ET
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Harvey Unga is the leading rusher in BYU history. (AP)

Multiple sources tell us the Patriots were one of the teams in attendance today in Provo, Utah for the workout of BYU’s Harvey Unga. Unga, BYU’s all-time leading rusher, withdrew from the school in the spring, citing an honor code violation, and decided to enter the NFL’s supplemental draft, scheduled for July 15.

The 6-foot, 237-pound Unga 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.

According to reports, Unga ran a 4.63 handheld 40-yard dash on artificial turf. He did 19 reps of 225 pounds, and had a standing vertical jump of 35 inches and a 9-foot-6 standing broad jump. His vertical and broad jump were personal bests, according to his personal trainer, Dave Stroshine, while 19 reps equaled a personal best.

Unga remains the biggest name available in this year’s 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.

According to reports, Unga drew the attention of 20 teams, while six others who were not in attendance have requested tape of his workout.

“He has met with several NFL general managers. There were 20 NFL teams represented here in person today and six more called and inquired details,” Unga’s agent Eric Metz told reporters. “I think he will be drafted next week. It’s not a matter of when, but which team and how good of a fit he’ll be in their system.”

It has been quite a couple of weeks for Unga. He told reporters on Thursday he flew into Chicago last week for the birth of his son Jackson, and he and Keiliani Moeaki — his girlfriend and mother of his child who also withdrew from BYU because of a infraction of the schools’ honor code — could be married as early as next week.

When it comes to the supplementary draft, the Patriots have not been active participants. They have 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. Notable supplementary draftees include linebacker Brian Bosworth, quarterback Bernie Kosar and left tackle Jared Gaither.

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Sammy Morris gearing up for new season by giving back

07.08.10 at 12:50 pm ET
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Sammy Morris will hold the New England portion of his football camp next weekend in Foxboro. (AP)

Sammy Morris is going camping.

The veteran running back, who is preparing for his fourth season with the Patriots, will be running the second stage of his annual football camp at Army Field in Foxboro from July 15 through the 17. (For more information, check out morrislemons.net.)

Morris, who grew up in San Antonio, said he always wished there was a football camp he could have attended as a young football player.

“There was never an NFL team or player in the area when I was growing up,” he said on a Thursday morning conference call. “Looking back, I wish there was something else I could have done to improve my skills early on. There’s always room to improve and people you can learn from. I wanted to do that in areas that are special to me.”

That led him to create a dual camp — the first series was held in June in Lubbock, Texas (home of Texas Tech, his alma mater). The New England portion is set for next weekend. He runs the camp with good friend and former Texas Tech teammate Devin Lemons, a former NFL linebacker who is now coaching high school football.

“It’s a passion of ours. It’s big in Lubbock for us, and this [New England] area is special to me,” said Morris.

Morris, who has expressed an interest in entering Dallas Theological Seminary to work as a counselor when his playing days are done, said he could also see the camps as a springboard into a nice post-playing career.

“I think so,” he said. “I’ve always had the desire to coach high school and potentially college football. We’ll see how that goes. Yeah, definitely I can see it in some form or fashion. I don’t know if it’s as a coach or if I help put on clinics and camps and that stuff, [but] it’ll definitely be on my radar for my post-career goals.”

Not that he’s thinking of retiring, however. The 33-year-old, who gained 319 yards on 73 carries in 12 games last season, was working in the Gillette Stadium facility at 10:45 Wednesday night, getting his work in as part of preparing for his 11th training camp as a professional football player.

“When I first got in the league, I said, ‘If I played 10 years, that would be the best possible scenario.’ Now that I’ve past that, I don’t look at it like, ‘I want to play until Year 13 or whatever,’” he said. “Each year is its’ own entity.

“As long as I still feel good and as long as the team will still have me, I’m playing as long as I can. I feel as good going into this training camp, this upcoming training camp, as I felt going into any other.”

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How the Vladimir Ducasse signing will affect the Patriots

07.08.10 at 12:48 am ET
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brandon-spikes

Now that Vladimir Ducasse has his deal done, look for Patriots' linebacker Brandon Spikes (pictured) to follow in a similar fashion shortly. (AP)

The Jets signing of UMass offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse Wednesday should have an impact on the Patriots on a couple of levels:

First, eagle-eyed Tweeter @Rich_The_Hill made an excellent point as soon as the deal was announced — with Ducasse going at No. 61 overall and the Patriots taking linebacker Brandon Spikes one spot later, it looks like the market has been set for New England’s negotiations with the former Florida linebacker. “That sets [Brandon] Spikes’ contract (1 pick later) at $3.189M,” he Tweeted. “Bank on it.” Given the history and the way contracts are uniformly slotted, that feels about right. While the reports on the signing bonus vary (I’ve seen everything from $1.46 million to just over $1 million guaranteed reported), it’s a safe bet that Spikes’ guaranteed money should exceed $1 million.

Second, Ducasse was the first second-round pick of the 2010 draft who has agreed to a deal. Keeping in mind the Patriots have three second-rounders (Spikes, Rob Gronkowski and Jermaine Cunningham), this will likely start the run on second-round signings, which means the trio could be in the fold sooner rather than later.

(On that same point, I have spoken with several people around the league over the last week or two — including agents — and they all anticipate that the Patriots will have all 12 of their draft picks in the fold before the end of July.)

•Randy Moss was back in his home state of West Virginia over the weekend as a part of the Feed the Children Caravan. “That’s something I’ve always stood for,” the Patriots receiver told reporters who spoke with him at a stop in Huntington, West Virginia. “For us to team up and feed the children, it says a lot.

“I always said you really don’t see what’s going on behind closed doors,” added Moss, who was taking part along with fellow West Virginian and NBA star O.J. Mayo. “When I pulled up and saw all those boxes … that’s a lot of families and children that need food and good nutrition. Hopefully, we can do more for his community and my community and the state of West Virginia.”

•Look for Patriots coach Bill Belichick in a new film about Alabama coach Nick Saban. Called “The Gamechanger,” the film promises what this story calls “an unpredented, behind-the-scenes look into the life of Saban as a coach, friend and husband.” Belichick, a close friend of Saban, worked with him when the two were in Cleveland, and is one of several people interviewed for the film, which is set to open Aug. 24.

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UMass product Ducasse inks deal with Jets

07.07.10 at 3:29 pm ET
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UMass product Vladimir Ducasse was signed to a four-year, $3.25 million deal by the Jets on Wednesday, a package that includes a $1,025,000 signing bonus, according to NFL.com. The second-round pick was a three-year starter with Massachusetts, and the 6-foot-4, 332-pounder earned first-team All-Colonial Athletic Association honors in 2008 and 2009. He is likely going to start at guard this year for New York.

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Pats’ safety Bret Lockett joins Brady and Welker in workouts out West

07.06.10 at 10:42 pm ET
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Looks like Tom Brady and Wes Welker have a running partner.

Patriots safety Bret Lockett, a California native, Tweeted from his verified account on Tuesday night: “Just got done running [with] Tom Brady and Wes Welker at UCLA. Almost just passed out lol. Time to go hard now!!”

Lockett, who was signed as an undrafted free agent by Cleveland but cut by the Browns last September, was claimed off waivers by the Patriots on Sept. 7, 2009. He was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 9, and finished the season with seven tackles over 10 games.

Brady’s West Coast workouts have drawn plenty of interest — the quarterback has been at UCLA on several occasions this offseason, doing plenty of work with Welker. In addition, Brady’s personal passing guru Tom Martinez (who hails from the Bay Area) recently told ESPN he was tutoring Brady last weekend in the Los Angeles area.

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