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Rodney Harrison on D&C: Reported racial issues in Seahawks locker room ‘speaks to the ignorance in our society’

10.24.14 at 10:31 am ET
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NBC NFL analyst Rodney Harrison joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss the big topics around the league. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Earlier this week, reports came out that there is a division the Seahawks locker room. A Bleacher Report story, in particular, reported that some African-American players on the team feel that quarterback Russell Wilson “isn’t black enough.”

“I think that a notion that you’€™re not black enough or you’€™re a sellout because you talk a certain way, because you dress a certain way, if you marry outside your race, I just think it speaks to the ignorance in our society,” Harrison said. “When you look at someone, obviously you have to judge them by spending time with them, how the way he carries himself. But that is a problem, a problem to small section of our community where they think if you’€™re successful, or if you talk a certain way, I mean people come up to me and say, ‘Russell Wilson, is he black?’ Why would you say that? Just because he’€™s a very intelligent guy, he dresses a certain way and maybe because his ex-wife was white. … I think it’€™s just very ignorant and I think it’€™s just a very closed-minded way of looking at people.”

Continued Harrison: “You talk about the Seattle Seahawks in particular, I think that’€™s why it’€™s so hard to repeat as Super Bowl champs because there’€™s a lot of jealousy in an NFL locker room. A lot people won’€™t admit to it, but there’€™s a lot of jealousy. When you have success, some guys get more attention than others. A lot of times, certain guys can’€™t handle that.”

When Harrison played with the Patriots, he said he never had a problem with Tom Brady, and the team itself was a very close-knit unit. That’€™s what, as Harrison said, helped make New England successful.

“Tom’s one’€™s of those dudes where he’€™s just so smooth, and he was just a good guy,” Harrison said. “I honestly didn’t look at what we had in white teammates. We were just like a big family. Everyone cared about each other and we had Bible studies together, we had a real good group of guys.”

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Read More: Rodney Harrison, Russell Wilson,

Bill Belichick isn’t about to say what happened with Darrelle Revis this week

10.24.14 at 10:08 am ET
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FOXBORO — The question was waiting to be asked but Bill Belichick wasn’t about to provide an answer.

Still, Kevin Walsh of Comcast Sports New England asked the Patriots coach exactly what happened with Darrelle Revis on Tuesday, when the star cornerback was a no-show at practice.

The Boston Globe reported a day later that Belichick sent Revis home after he overslept and showed up late to a team meeting. Revis reportedly came back later in the day and apologized to Belichick.

Before the news broke, Revis was asked Wednesday by ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss if Tuesday’s day off was just a “mental break” day.

“That’s between me and coach,” Revis replied. “Ask him about it.”

Well, on Friday, Walsh did just that, pressing Belichick for his version of events on Tuesday.

“Anything between me and the players is between myself and the players.”

You sent him home, is that correct?

“I didn’t say that.”

He was here and then …

“I’m ready to talk about the Bears. Anything else is between myself and the players.”

Will his playing time be impacted on Sunday, based on that?

“Well, I think the Bears are really a good team. I think they’re going to be a tough, tough matchup for us. We’re going to do the best we can to match up against them.”

OK, then.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Darrelle Revis, New England Patriots,

Video: ‘4th & Goal’ breaks down Bears and Patriots

10.24.14 at 9:36 am ET
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WEEI.com Patriots writer Chris Price previews the Week 8 matchup between the Patriots and Bears. Find out the keys to the game as well as Chris’ prediction.

Vince Wilfork says getting back to basics will help Patriots slow down Matt Forte, Bears offense

10.23.14 at 10:43 pm ET
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Matt Forte is one of the best multidimensional threats in the league. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Matt Forte is one of the best multidimensional threats in the league. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Vince Wilfork knows there are few offensive options around the league like Matt Forte.

The 29-year-old running back is the driving element of the Chicago offense — after seven games, he leads the Bears in rushing (111 carries, 448 yards, three TDs) and receiving (52 catches, 436 yards, two TDs). The 6-foot-1, 221-pounder, who was a second-round pick out of Tulane in 2008, is the only back in the league who has at least 50 catches and 50 carries through the first seven games of the season. He’s first in the league in catches, and second in the league in combined yards from scrimmage with 884.

“He’s a threat every time he steps on to the field in a number of different ways: passing game, running game,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of Forte. “He’s tough, great vision, great balance. He definitely has the ability to turn nothing into something in a hurry and he can turn something into a lot in a hurry too.

“[He’s a] hard guy to tackle, does a good job of creating space for himself and finding openings, getting to places where there are fewer defenders and then taking advantage of it. But even when he’s boxed in or guys get a shot of him, he still makes yards. He’s a terrific player; couldn’t say enough good things about him. He’s a very, very complete player.”

With Forte, the idea isn’t so much stopping him, but slowing him down. Wilfork says there “aren’t a lot” of backs out there who are as much of a multidimensional threat as Forte.

“The way he catches the ball out of the backfield, you’d think he was a receiver,” Wilfork said Thursday after practice. “He can run the ball well. You saw it last week, the first drive of the second half what they did with him getting the ball in his hands and they want down and scored. He was the one who put them in the end zone on that drive.

“I can see them doing a lot more of that coming into this game,” he added. “Trying to get that running game started so it can open up the play-action pass and get the ball down vertical to those big receivers. But we have to do a real good job up front of trying to take away their run game.”

While Forte is a threat on multiple levels, for a defense that’s yielded 190 or more rushing yards in three of their seven games to open the season, his work on the ground is what stands as the most sizable threat to the Patriots. Wilfork, who said in the wake of the win over the Jets that the issues facing the run defense were fixable, noted that many of the issues come down to fundamentals — namely, being able to tackle properly.

“Sometimes, we miss tackles and overplay some things, and that costs us. It costs us big,” Wilfork said. “We have to be sure tacklers. We have good tacklers, but we just have to put it together on a regular basis. That’s what it comes down to, no matter how you slice it. We have to tackle.

“We have to be able to get off the field in third down and in the red area — just make them kick field goals. We have to continue to play good football in the red area. I think that was one of the things that helped us last week was in the red area, just allowing them to kick field goals instead of giving up seven points. That was probably the only thing we did well. But it was just another building block for us. We have to continue to get better an execute our game plan to the highest level, especially against [the Bears].”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Matt Forte, Vince Wilfork,

After sour finish in Tennessee, Akeem Ayers ‘happy’ to be with Patriots

10.23.14 at 5:11 pm ET
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Akeem Ayers has nine career sacks with the Titans. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Akeem Ayers joined the Patriots this week. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Akeem Ayers sounds like a man excited for a fresh start.

The outside linebacker, who was acquired by the Patriots from Tennessee earlier this week for a draft pick in hopes of shoring up New England’€™s front seven, saw his Titans’ career end on a sour note when he clashed with first-year Tennessee coach Ken Whisenhunt on a few issues.

But on Thursday afternoon, he said that’s all behind him.

“I’m pretty much just happy to be here,” he said after practice. “Obviously, I wasn’t playing there, and I’m happy to be in a good situation here. So all in all, just pretty much just happy to be in a better position where I can get on the field to play possibly and move on from there.”

Ayers and Whisenhunt reportedly clashed on a few different things, including Ayers’ apparent lack of value on special teams, as well as Ayers’ rehab process after undergoing surgery on both knees over the course of the offseason. That could have been one of the reasons Ayers only played 10 snaps over the first seven games of the season.

“I think we had an opportunity, and I think it was good for both parties,” Whisenhunt told reporters who asked about the trade on Wednesday. “It gave Akeem a chance to get a fresh start, and it gave us a chance to get something in exchange for that.

“I think really a big part of it was special teams. When you’re in that role, you’ve got to be able to contribute special teams wise, and we needed that, and we just didn’t feel like we were getting enough in that area.”

On Thursday, Ayers indicated that his knees aren’t an issue. He also sounded like someone who wouldn’t be averse to the idea of playing special teams in New England, saying that he “definitely” has a special teams background.

“I worked hard all offseason to get back healthy — [I] had some good rehab and things like that,” he said when asked about his knees. “It paid off. I’€™m feeling great, not limited, I’m happy where I’m at.”

The 6-foot-3, 253-pound Ayers was a defensive end at UCLA, and had his best season in 2012 when he had a career-best six sacks and eight passes defensed to go along with 110 tackles for Tennessee. From 2011 through 2013, he started 44 of a possible 48 games in his first three years with the Titans.

In terms of how he fits in Foxboro, Patriots coach Bill Belichick had a couple of ideas.

“He’s played linebacker. He’€™s played defensive end in some sub situations,” Belichick said of Ayers on Wednesday. “We will see [what he is more suited to play]. I’d say he has some versatility, but we will see.”

“I believe I have a lot of versatility,” Ayers said. “I’m able to drop in coverage, a lot of things that people already know. I can drop in coverage [and] I can rush, so I think that can help me out.”

In terms of whether or not he’ll be able to go this weekend against the Bears, Ayers, who will wear No. 52, remains optimistic.

“We haven’t gotten to detail that much,” he said when asked about the potential for him to play this weekend. “I just got here, and I’ve got to meet with people, a lot of things like that, but I think the defense fits what I’m able to do well.

“We do a lot of different things, so it can be good, but at the same time I’m just trying to learn each day, we’re progressing as far as what I’m going to be doing, what I’m not going to be doing. I’ve only been here for a few days, so I’m trying to take it a day at a time.”

Read More: Akeem Ayers, Bill Belichick, Ken Whisenhunt,

Chandler Jones only player to miss Patriots practice; 6 limited

10.23.14 at 4:35 pm ET
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For a second straight day, Chandler Jones (hip) was the only Patriots player to miss practice. It’s been reported the injury is expected to keep him out of action for about a month.

The practice report was exactly the same as it was on Wednesday, which is a good sign for the Patriots’ offensive line as it hopes to get Dan Connolly (concussion), Bryan Stork (concussion) and Cameron Fleming (finger) back for Sunday’s game against the Bears — all three players were limited.

Here is the complete practice report:

Did not participate

DE Chandler Jones (hip)

Limited participation

OL Dan Connolly (concussion)
DL Dominique Easley (shoulder/knee)
DB Nate Ebner (finger)
OL Cameron Fleming (finger)
WR Matthew Slater (shoulder)
OL Bryan Stork (concussion)

Full participation

QB Tom Brady (ankle)
CB Brandon Browner (ankle)
LB Jamie Collins (thigh)
LB Dont’€™a Hightower (knee)
S Devin McCourty (rib)

Read More: Patriots practice report,

Whose line is it anyway? Week 8 NFL picks

10.23.14 at 3:57 pm ET
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Just two weeks ago, I labeled Russell Wilson as the most unlikeable player in the NFL. This week, Deadspin’s Drew Magary reaffirmed all my feelings about that constantly smiling, holier-than thou, smarmy jerk. And no, that is not coded language.  While I appreciate the support, for the sake of the public record, I need to play the ultimate hipster card and note that I hated Russell Wilson a full two weeks before Magary did. With that pettiness and childish behavior behind us, let’s move on to even greater triviality and immaturity, that’s right, my picks!

Lions -3.5 vs. Falcons (at London)

I love the fact that my Football Sunday will start at 9:30 a.m. I have always been jealous of people on the West Coast who get to wake up and immediately start watching games. I fully support a team moving to London if it means we get a longer day of football. Also, I would be justified in watching this clip every weekend.

Obligatory “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” clip:

Obligatory “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” note: Extremely underrated movie. I would argue that it is one of the top 1o comedies to be released in the last decade. I desperately want to watch the entire puppet “Dracula” musical

Shockingly, with Calvin Johnson and Joeseph Fauria on the sidelines, the Lions are 5-2. They could even be 6-1 if kicker Alex Henery didn’t hand the Bills a win in Week 5. The Lions obviously have a great defensive front seven, and Golden Tate III has done a great job filling the void at receiver left by Megatron. With a great deal of attention being paid to Nino Brown’s great season, Tate’s great year is flying under the radar. He has 48 receptions through seven games and has caught at least five in every game. My only problem with Golden Tate III is his name. He is the third Golden Tate. That means four sets of parents came to the decision to name their son Golden. Do you realize how much pressure that puts on a person? If he didn’t make it to the NFL, his entire life would be a sham. And think about the audacity of Golden Tate Sr. and Jr. They failed to live up to the name Golden yet had no qualms of passing that undue burden on to their son. Amazing.

The NFC South is atrocious and this line is patently absurd.

Pick: Lions -3.5

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