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Ex-Pats’ WR selected by Hartford in UFL Draft

06.03.10 at 1:19 am ET
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Robert Ortiz had two brief stints with the Patriots.

A landing spot for several former Patriots, including Jermaine Wiggins and Todd Sauerbrun, the United Football League added another former New Englander to its ranks on Wednesday when wide receiver Robert Ortiz was taken in the seventh round of the annual UFL Draft by the Hartford Colonials.

Ortiz, who turned 27 last week, is a 6-foot-1, 188-pounder out of San Diego State who has bounced around the NFL, a journey that’s twice found him with the Patriots. Initially, he was signed by the Patriots as a free agent on May 13, 2008, but was released by New England on July 26 of that same year. After a brief stint with San Francisco, he was signed a second time by the Patriots as a free agent on May 4, 2009, and made it all the way to the final cuts before being released on Sept. 4, 2009. (In addition to stops in San Francisco and New England, he’s also spent time in training camp with San Diego and Seattle.)

The Hartford franchise also has another connection to the Patriots — former New England tight ends coach Shane Waldron joined the Colonials coaching staff in March. A graduate of Tufts, Waldron spent one year with the Patriots as tight ends coach (2009) after one season as a coaching assistant. In addition, from 2002-2004, he had spent three seasons as a football operations intern/operations assistant with the Patriots.

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Report: ‘Disconnect’ between Brady and Pats on new deal

06.02.10 at 2:50 pm ET
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When it comes to a new deal for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports! writes today “there’s a growing sense of disconnect” between the quarterback and the franchise.

Silver says, “three months before the start of the 2010 campaign, and less than two months before training camp, there have been no substantial talks between his agents (Don Yee and Steve Dubin) and the Pats’ front office, and there’s a growing sense of disconnect between the two camps.”

Both sides have maintained mostly radio silence on this issue. Brady, who is in the final year of a five-year contract he signed in 2005, has politely declined to comment when he’s been asked about the contract, and did not address the media after Wednesday’s OTA at Gillette Stadium. Meanwhile, Patriots owner Robert Kraft was vague last week when he was asked about the contract situations that surround Brady and Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins.

“I’m not the one doing it, so I can’t answer that,” Kraft said. “They are two young men who will be on this team and two important people to us for the future.”

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Randy Moss transcript, 6/2

06.02.10 at 1:58 pm ET
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FOXBORO — “Straight cash, homie” may be getting old, so “Y’all got three!” just may be Randy Moss’ new catch-phrase. Here is the transcript of the trio of questions the Patriots receiver answered Wednesday after the team’s session of organized team activities.

Any first impressions?

“Everything is good. It’s a fresh start, it’s a new year. Everybody’s coming in very enthusiastic and ready to get this thing going. The only thing I can say is that I’m ready to come to work.”

How do you like the balance of veterans and rookies brought in?

“I like everything. I like all the additions. The younger guys look good, the older vets looked good. I think that [coach] Bill [Belichick] has really emphasized that this is a new year so we’re going to get back to basics and do the things the right way. I’m very excited for this season, not just for me but for the whole team, just to see how far we can go.”

Were you excited to see Wes Welker back on the field?

“It’s very impressive to me. I’m a big fan of Welker’s [from] way before he came here, back when he was in Miami, so I can’t wait to have him back on the field whenever that day comes. The sky’s the limit, so we’ll see what happens.”

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Moss speaks

06.02.10 at 1:39 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Patriots receiver Randy Moss spoke to the media Wednesday after the day’s session of organized team activities. The receiver has been in the news lately for letting go of longtime agent Tim DiPiero, but Moss’ excitement to get back in the swing of things was the headline Wednesday.

Randy Moss likes the new talent -- young and old -- on the Patriots. (AP)

Randy Moss likes the new talent -- young and old -- on the Patriots. (AP)

“Everything is good,” Moss said with a smile to the sea of reporters during the 64-second session. “It’s a fresh start, it’s a new year. Everybody’s coming in very enthusiastic and ready to get this thing going. The only thing I can say is that I’m ready to come to work.”

The stink of the team’s 33-14 playoff loss at home to the Ravens in the Wild Card round of the playoffs seemingly gone, Moss feels he can look at the landscape of the roster and see significant promise.

“I like everything. I like all the additions. The younger guys look good, the older vets looked good. I think that [coach] Bill [Belichick] has really emphasized that this is a new year so we’re going to get back to basics and do the things the right way.

“I’m very excited for this season, not just for me but for the whole team, just to see how far we can go.”

Moss is entering the final year of the three-year, $27 million contract he signed with the Patriots following the 2007 season. The Marshall product has 47 receiving touchdowns since joining the Patriots in a trade with the Raiders during the 2007 NFL Draft.

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Welker limited on the field at OTAs

06.02.10 at 12:52 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Patriots receiver Wes Welker, still working on coming back from ACL surgery after injuring his knee in Week 17 of the 2009-2010 season against the Texans, was on the field to begin Wednesday’s session of organized team activities at Gillette Stadium. Welker participated in stretching and caught a few passes before leaving the field less than halfway into the session.

“It’s very impressive to me,” fellow receiver Randy Moss of seeing Welker on the field. “I’m a big fan of Welker’s [from] way before he came here, back when he was in Miami, so I can’t wait to have him back on the field whenever that day comes. The sky’s the limit, so we’ll see what happens.”

Welker wore a brace on the left knee that kept him out the team’s 33-14 first-round playoff loss to the Ravens. In the limited action he saw, Welker’ signature shiftiness was absent, though it is uncertain whether he was slowed by the knee or cautiously easing back into drills.

Though many members of the team, including running back Laurence Maroney, expressed excitement towards seeing their leader in receptions from last year (123) back on the field, the fifth-year back noted that any anxiousness over the Welker situation shouldn’t distract the team from their preparations for the season.

“I really wasn’t paying attention to Wes,” Maroney said. “I was really more focused on learning my stuff and getting all my little problems and kinks and bugs out of my system. I was really just focused on what assignments I had to do and just getting better for myself but I did glance and see him moving and running.”

Welker has led the NFL in receptions in two of his three years in New England. His 123 were tops last year and his 112 tied him with T.J. Houshmandezdeh, then of the Bengals, in 2007. He finished second to Andre Johnson in 2008 with 111. His participation this early on in OTAs is clearly a god sign for a player who was expected by many to potentially see time on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

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Two ex-Patriots get picked up by new teams

06.02.10 at 12:23 am ET
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A pair of former Patriots who were recently cut loose ended up being picked up off waivers on Tuesday evening. Quarterback/wide receiver Isaiah Stanback was claimed by Seattle, while linebacker Bruce Davis was claimed by Denver.

The 6-foot-2, 208-pound Stanback appeared in six games for the Patriots last season catching three passes for 22 yards, while the 6-foot-3, 252 pound Davis is a second-year player who has played in five career games, and spent most of the 2009 season on New England’s practice squad.

It is something of a homecoming for Stanback, who played quarterback at University of Washington. He was a fourth-round pick of Dallas in 2007, played two seasons with the Cowboys, was cut last season and went to New England. He told the Seattle Times he’s thrilled at the idea of returning to Washington State.

“It feels great,” Stanback said. “It feels great to be coming home, knowing all the people I’ve got behind me.”

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A great way to follow Pats’ draft pick contract info

06.01.10 at 2:52 pm ET
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We’ve posted a few blog entries on the Patriots’ rookie class and its contract situation (check out the latest one here), and we’ve taken a look at the two deals that have been signed (third-round pick Taylor Price and sixth-round choice Ted Larsen) while taking an educated guess as to what the rest of the draft picks could expect this year in the way of contracts.

But Miguel Benzan has managed to put together an impressive breakdown of what each of the 12 draft picks should be expecting. Benzan is the genius behind patscap.com (a site that should be a bookmark for any self-respecting Patriots’ fan), so his numbers are worth taking a look at.

“I have done the same chart the past several years,” Benzan said in an e-mail. “The impetus this year was reading that [Taylor] Price’s contract was worth $3.35 million. I am willing to bet that it is only true if he reaches the escalator that will increase his 2013 salary to the low RFA tender level.”

Benzan breaks down several salary elements, including base salary, signing bonus and the overall cap hit. In addition, there’s a list of the players taken at that same slot last year and what they received. As more and more players’ get closer to signing, it’s a great resource that’s well-worth keeping an eye on. (You can also follow Miguel on Twitter at twitter.com/patscap.)

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