|Ex-Patriot Pio Sagapolutele dead at 39||06.08.09 at 5:09 pm ET|
According to this story in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, former Patriots defensive lineman Pio Sagapolutele has died at the age of 39.
Sagapolutele played a single season at right defensive tackle for New England, and started 13 games during a 1996 season that saw the Patriots lose Super Bowl XXXI to Green Bay. Believed to be a favorite of Bill Belichick, Sagapolutele was a fourth-round draft pick of Belichick in Cleveland in 1991, and joined Belichick when he became an assistant in New England. In all, he played in 63 games in five seasons for Belichick in Cleveland, starting 34.
Sagapolutele died in Arizona, where he just moved his family a few months ago. He is survived by his wife and three children, ages 13, 9 and 7.
|Bruschi the big winner in long-drive contest||06.08.09 at 4:48 pm ET|
BOLTON — In the annual long-drive contest at the Patriots Charitable Foundation Golf Tournament at the International Monday, linebacker Tedy Bruschi took home the title, driving it 287 yards. Quarterback Tom Brady’s top drive traveled 281 yards, which landed him in second. Wide receiver Wes Welker took third at 275 yards.
For what it’s worth, Welker is ALL business on the golf course. While a lot of the guys were just out there knocking the ball around and having a laid-back afternoon, Welker looked like a man on a mission. He clearly loves the game.
The rest of the long-drive competitors were: Sammy Morris, Dan Koppen, Wesley Britt, Terrence Wheatley, Chris Hanson, and Stephen Gostkowski. Hanson and Koppen have game, as both blasted impressive drives off the tee, while Britt looked like he should be sent back to the putt-putt course.
|Some quotes of note from Monday’s golf outing||06.08.09 at 4:29 pm ET|
BOLTON — Here are a smattering from quotes from a variety of players from Monday’s Patriots Charitable Foundation Golf Tournament at the International in Bolton.
Read the rest of this entry »
|Mankins, Wilfork discuss their deals||06.08.09 at 1:30 pm ET|
BOLTON — Two players with rapidly expiring contracts were front and center at Monday’s Patriots Charitable Foundation Golf Tournament at the International. Offensive lineman Logan Mankins and nose tackle Vince Wilfork both have deals that are up at the end of the 2009 season, and prior to hitting the course, both were talking about their situations.
Back in 2004, Wilfork signed a six-year deal as a rookie, which expires at the end of the upcoming season. The 6-foot-2, 325-pound nose tackle didn’t show for the most recent round of organized team activities (OTAs), sparking concern that the Pro Bowler was looking for a new deal similar to the $100 million contract that Albert Haynesworth signed with Washington in the offseason.
But he told WEEI’s “Dale & Holley” Monday morning (click here to listen to the interview) that contrary to rumors, he isn’t looking to “sign this big-time, going-down-in-history, the best contract there is.” Instead, he simply wants to be “comfortable.”
“It’s nothing personal towards the organization, it’s nothing personal towards my coaches or anything like that,” said the 27-year-old Wilfork. “It’s just basically what made the most sense to me at this point in time.
“It’s not the first time a player has gone through a contract negotiation problem. So I try to stay positive and at the same time do what’s best for me and my family. At the end of the day, that’s what matters to me.”
“I’m a big fan of Vince Wilfork, and unfortunately, the business part of this game is something that goes on every year with most teams,” said Patriots owner Robert Kraft. “We’re lucky to have Vince. I hope he’s here for the long term. These things usually have a way of working themselves out.
“There’s a lot of things factoring in here. In the end, everyone should know the Patriots are always trying to make decisions to put our franchise and team in the best position to win consistently. And that’s what our mantra is.”
Mankins, whose contract is also up after the 2009 season, said he would like to sign a long-term deal and stay in New England, but the 6-foot-4, 310-pound offensive lineman understands the situation is not up to him right now.
“Of course, you always wish you have everything taken care of early, but it’s up to the Patriots to do what they want,” said the 26-year-old left guard. “It’s out of my hands. It’s up to whatever they want to do.”
Mankins is entering the final year of a five-year deal he signed as a rookie in 2005, but in contrast to Wilfork, said Monday there are no concerns about his contract right now. Instead, sounding remarkably pragmatic about the whole situation, Mankins proclaimed that the focus is on football and the 2009 season.
“I figure my contract will take care of itself, whether they give me a new one or move on next year,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Mankins, who has never missed a practice in his four seasons with the Patriots, said he understood where Wilfork was coming from, but would never think of skipping out on a practice himself.
“I signed a contract. I was the one who signed it, and so I feel obligated to be here and practicing, so when my contract is up, that’s when I’ll move on,” said Mankins, who made the Pro Bowl in 2007. “If you’re hurt, you’re hurt. You can’t practice. But if you’re not injured and you can practice, you should be out there.
“Vince’s situation is different than mine. He’s a year older, he’s played one more year than I have, so he’s looking at it from a different angle than I am. Everything is different for each person — I don’t blame Vince for doing what he’s doing. Vince, he’s a good guy, a good teammate. He’s always been good to this franchise. He has to do what he has to do.”
|Robert Kraft and Roger Goodell on Dale & Holley||06.08.09 at 12:12 pm ET|
Patriots owner Robert Kraft joined the Dale & Holley Show from the Patriots Foundation Charitable Golf Tournament. Now in his 16th year as the owner of the football team, Kraft admitted that the team business model continues to evolve, and that it remains challenging to evolve with it.
“It’s a real head trip to own an NFL team in your hometown,” said Kraft. “I think we’ve evolved this like how we run our other businesses.”
Kraft visited a number of subjects, including the contract negotiations with Vince Wilfork, the economic situation of the NFL and the Patriots in light of the national downturn, and the team’s philosophy about player acquisition. Kraft was later joined by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the Dale & Holley Show.
Here are some highlights from both Kraft and Goodell’s comments, as compiled by Greg Cameron.
On ex-Pats coach Bill Parcells: “Parcells would say that he would coach year-to-year. We learned that we’d rather find people and player not with fancy names, but who are committed to playing with us.”
On adversity following the Super Bowl loss: “You learn from both adversity and success. The Super Bowl was a devastating loss, we were on the verge of history. The bar’s been set a little high by our fans. But our product is doing well, we have had season ticket renewals in the high 90’s. It’s very important that we are a once-a-week thing. We hope to be a way for our fans to escape the economic downturn.”
On the team’s recent personnel changeover: “It’s the sick part of the business. The NFL is set up to bring things to parity. To be good year in, and year out and then dismember it, is hard to do. They’re taking a bit of our product elsewhere, it’s hard to take. Hopefully we’ll be a little bit better than all of them this year.”
On the recently brokered NFL TV deal: “We had great leadership from commissioner Goodell. The leadership he’s brought in is off the charts. In the end, our product is the only one that can attract a mass audience each week: 115-120 million people watch NFL football each week. We are the only league where every game is on free television in every market.”
On the construction of Patriot Place, despite the economy: “In life, you make decisions with the best information you have at the time. I hosted my 50th reunion from Brookline High School at the Hall [at Patriot Place], and people had no idea what we have down there.”
On “luck” the Patriots have had, especially with Brady: “I think a lot about that. He was the 199thpick in the draft and 12 quarterbacks were taken before him. Despite all of the ‘gurus’ around, it’s not an exact science. You want to avoid falling in love with players in the salary cap era. Brady’s brilliance is in processing things quickly.”
On the Vince Wilfork situation: “I’ve gone through a learning curve with falling in love with players, because they’re all good guys. We want guys who are committed to playing with us and winning with us. Winning is all that matters.”
On how long Bill Belichick will be with the team: I don’t see anything in the way of what we are planning to do with our franchise.”
On signing players with questionable character: “It’s a very big part of it. I told both Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick that the only important thing is that we don’t have thugs and hoodlums on this team. If we need them to win, then I’m out of this business. We want to win but not so badly that we’re willing to compromise our values.”
On the London game: “We are very excited. We read somewhere that we are the No. 1 team in the UK in terms of popularity. For us we’re taking an away game to London with a homefield advantage. There’s even a big Patriots fan club over there and we are looking to hold a big rally in Trafalgar Square sometime that week.”
On increasing number of regular season games: “I don’t think it’s inevitable. We want high quality. Our fans have shown us that the preseason is not up to standard and that we no longer need four preseason games to get ready. It’s not a sure thing, but something we are giving thought to.”
On the rumor of the Super Bowl would be in London: “When we recently named New Orleans the site for 2012, London was not a part of the consideration.”
On the television deal: “This wouldn’t have happened without Robert. His knowledge had us motivated to get it done.”
Vision for TV deal: “We are the only league to be successful on free TV. It says something about the quality of our product.”
On the Personal Conduct Policy and Michael Vick: “No meeting has been set up, but I will meet with him when everything is squared away and before I make a decision. It’s not just how you play the game, it’s how you conduct yourself on and off the field. In a league with 2,000 young men, you’re going to have some mistakes.”
On the Collective Bargaining Agreement: “We want to continue to grow the game. We need a system to ensure that. Things will work itself out, and it’s all about the common goal.”
|Wilfork discusses contract on Dale & Holley||06.08.09 at 11:40 am ET|
Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, speaking on the Dale & Holley Show, confirmed that he skipped Organized Team Activities (OTAs) due to a contract dispute with the Patriots. Wilfork, who is due to make $2.2 million in 2009 in the sixth and final season of a contract he signed before his rookie season, said that he is looking forward to playing the 2009 season with the Patriots, but that he feels that he needs to negotiate a contract that more accurately represents his value.
“OTA’s were voluntary. I chose to sit out with the situation I’m in,” said Wilfork. “It’s nothing personal, it’s just what makes sense to me at this time, with that said I’m looking forward with the season. I could care less about what people think…I don’t want to leave. We’re doing everything in our power to get (a contract) done. I try not to talk about it, I’m trying to stay positive. I want to be a Patriot, but there’s a business part of it. It hurt me to sit out OTA’s but that’s the business part to it. I’m going to give 100%. I’ll be ready to play this season.”
Wilfork denied that he is seeking a contract based upon the deal that Albert Haynesworth inked with the Redskins. Haynesworth signed a seven-year, $100 million deal that included $41 million in guaranteed salary. But Wilfork said that he is not looking to such contractual landmarks.
“I’m looking for something comfortable with my situation,” Wilfork said. “I’m not looking at anybody else.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft declined to go into details about the contract situation, though he did suggest that the team is always ready to move on from any player.
“I’ve gone through a learning curve with falling in love with players, because they’re all good guys,” said Kraft. “We want guys who are committed to playing with us and winning with us. Winning is all that matters.”
For the full interview with Vince Wilfork on Dale and Holley, click here.
|Secondary is primary focus for Bodden||06.07.09 at 6:45 pm ET|
FOXBOROUGH – Anytime you’re covering Randy Moss in practice, you’re bound to pick up a few things and sharpen your game at the same time.
Maybe that’s what the Patriots coaching staff had in mind when they had Leigh Bodden cover the all-world receiver this past week during OTAs outside Gillette Stadium.
“He’s long, he has long strides and he’s fast,” Bodden said with a subtle but noticeable grin. “He’ll get up the field in a hurry. You have to play him different ways sometimes so I can’t give away my secrets. He might be reading.” Read the rest of this entry »
2013 PATRIOTS DRAFT PICKS
2013 NFL DRAFT
- Dwight Freeney Signs With Chargers; Pats Showed 'Last Minute Interest'
- USA Today: Gronkowski Dealing With Back Issue, Could Face (Another)...
- Patriots Sign Second-Round Pick Jamie Collins
- New England Patriots Links 5/17/13 - Hightower Understands Work Ethic...
- Rapoport: Gronkowski Forearm Surgery 'Imminent'; Likely To Be Monday
- Kyle Love Claimed By Jaguars; Joins Brandon Deaderick
- On Kyle Love