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Lions’ Lawrence Jackson: Logan Mankins ‘a dirty bastard’

08.31.11 at 8:57 am ET
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Lions defensive end Lawrence Jackson is not pleased with Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins following their confrontation during Saturday’s preseason game in Detroit.

After a second-quarter play, Mankins grabbed Jackson’s facemask before Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh rushed in to slap Mankins away (video can be seen here at the 1:20 mark). Mankins received a 15-yard penalty for his actions.

Jackson claims Mankins was responsible for the incident.

“Yeah, he’s a dirty bastard,” Jackson said Monday, as reported by the Detroit Free Press. “That’s all. He’s dirty. I kind of called him out on it. Things for a little rough.”

Added Jackson: “It seems like defense is always on the short end of the stick in the league. The offense gets away with a lot of stuff, especially the offensive line; 95 percent of it doesn’t get called. And stuff like this, I mean, you don’t let anybody mess with your brothers. It was nothing intentional, but we’ve got to stay together. That’s all.”

Suh, who was fined $20,000 by the NFL for his hit on Bengals quarterback in the preseason opener, received some criticism for his aggressive intervention, but he wasn’t backing down Monday.

“Do I regret it? No,” Suh said. “But the funny thing about the whole situation is that I wasn’t the one that got the 15-yard penalty for grabbing a facemask. The other funny piece about it is I didn’t know you can’t help protect one of your teammates in the act of duty.

“But it is what it is. I had a great conversation with, actually, the ref who saw everything. And he said, ‘Next time, make sure you let me handle it, but I understand what you were doing and helping your teammate out and removing him from the situation.’ ”

Suh said he’s not sure if he’ll be fined for the fourth time in his young career.

“I can’t answer that question,” he said. “That’s not my ruling and not where I sit. Not my decision. I’m going to continue to play hard and play within the rules, as I have been. When I’ll consider myself a dirty player is when my mom tells me that.”

Read More: Lawrence Jackson, Logan Mankins, Ndamukong Suh,

Jerod Mayo wins Patriots’ community MVP award

08.30.11 at 10:59 pm ET
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Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo was honored for his charitable work on Tuesday night with the 2011 New England Patriots Ron Burton Community Service Award, presented at the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation’€™s Annual Kickoff Gala. The award, named in honor of the late Ron Burton (the first player drafted by the franchise), goes to the player who makes the biggest impact in the community through his charity work.

‘€œIn his three short years in New England, Jerod has made large contributions both on and off the field,’€ said Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. ‘€œBoth in uniform and and as an active volunteer in the community, he has done everything asked of him and more. He continually makes us proud to have drafted him in 2008. He is a most deserving recipient of the Ron Burton Award.’€

In 2010, Mayo launched The Mayo Bowl, an annual celebrity bowling event to raise funds to improve the lives of children in New England. He has also been actively involved in Patriots Kids Cafes, which provide hot meals for youth who may not receive them at home, and has participated in the Patriots annual children’s holiday party.

“Since the day I was drafted here, the Kraft family really told me to be a good football player, but they also stressed to me to be good in the community and give back,” Mayo said after receiving the award on Tuesday night.

“It feels so fortunate to be in a great place like this — just to have role models like these past winners [Kevin Faulk, Vince Wilfork and Matt Light], Mr. Kraft and most importantly, Mrs. Myra Kraft. Not only did she give with her funds and things like that but her time. She was on the front lines, digging the holes, putting the trees up and things like that. Just seeing examples like that really means a lot to me and hopefully I can be an example for these younger guys. I appreciate it.”

Read More: Jerod Mayo, Kevin Faulk, Matt Light, Robert Kraft

Wes Welker assures everyone he’s ‘OK’

08.30.11 at 6:45 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker was back in the Patriots locker room but not at the start of practice Tuesday, as he spoke before practice about his neck injury from Saturday night in Detroit. Welker said he feels better than he did after he tackled Ricardo Silva and brought him to the ground after Silva’s interception of Tom Brady late in the first half of the 34-10 loss to the Lions.

“I’m OK,” Welker said. “They guy made a good play on the ball and I needed to make the tackle so I went in there and made the tackle, got him down.”

Asked if he thought he could be ready for the Giants this Thursday, Welker said he’s leaving all decisions and comment up to head coach Bill Belichick and the medical staff.

“Whatever coach decides on that, I’m fully in on whatever he says,”I think anything that has to do with that part of your body is always scary but we have good doctors and good trainers and I wasn’t too worried about it.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: detroit lions, New England Patriots, nfl, Ricardo Silva

Robert Kraft talks about 2011 season, Chad Ochocinco, Albert Haynesworth, fantasy football

08.30.11 at 5:24 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” Patriots owner Robert Kraft conducted a tour of the new Putnam Club at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. After the walkthrough, he spoke on a handful of topics. Here are some of the highlights:

Any discussions on moving Thursday’€™s game to New Jersey?

‘€œIf in fact we … I didn’€™t know how long the power would be off. We thought we might. They moved their game from Saturday night to last night, so we had a chance to see that game. But we didn’€™t know. And we don’€™t know, I think everything is still by a thread. There’€™s not backup systems, and please God, things continue to improve and everyone gets power in this state.’€

On how the Patriots look this season:

‘€œWell, it’€™s preseason, so I’€™ve learned ‘€¦ I remember in [2008] that the Detroit Lions went 4-0 and looked great and then went 0-16. I’€™m just going to try to wait until the regular season starts. In fairness, and believe me, I can understand how people wouldn’€™t have been happy with the effort the other night. I know I wasn’€™t in every part of the game. But the same kind of game planning doesn’€™t go on to attack teams weaknesses. It’€™s a more fluid situation. I think we’€™ll know better come September 12 what kind of team [this is]. We’€™ll watch the first three or four weeks of games, and we’€™ll get an idea of what kind of team we really have. Until then, it’€™s all speculation ‘€” which is fine.’€
Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco, Patrick Chung, Robert Kraft

Meet the new guy: WR Tiquan Underwood

08.30.11 at 3:31 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” One of the first things Tiquan Underwood did when he was acquired by the Patriots was text his college buddy Devin McCourty with the good news. Initially, McCourty thought he was being pranked by his former college teammate.

‘€œThey were about to fly to Detroit [for Saturday’€™s preseason game], and he thought I was joking around,’€ said Underwood. ‘€œHe got word of it and we spoke about it. He said, ‘€˜Come up here ready to work, it’€™s a great opportunity for you.’€™’€

A 6-foot-1, 183-pounder out of Rutgers, the 24-year old Underwood joins the Patriots with experience as a kick returner and wide receiver. He’€™s appeared in 19 games over two seasons with the Jaguars, primarily as a kick returner (he averaged 23.4 yards per return on 24 kicks last season). Underwood also had eight receptions for 111 yards last year. He was released by Jacksonville on Aug. 25.

‘€œIt’€™s part of this business,’€ he said when asked about getting cut by the Jags. ‘€œIt’€™s going to happen to each and every one of us at one point. I wouldn’€™t say surprised, but you get down when something like that happens. But one door closes and another opens. I’€™m just looking forward to the next opportunity I have, which is here with the New England Patriots.’€

‘€œHe’€™s a later draft choice,’€ coach Bill Belichick said on Monday when Underwood was first acquired. ‘€œA player that I think is improving. Obviously he didn’€™t make their roster, but we felt like we might have a chance ‘€” well we do have a chance now to take a look at him. And so we’€™ll see what that looks like. Good sized receiver. Played with (Kenny) Britt at Rutgers. He hasn’€™t had a lot of playing time and production in the NFL, but he’€™s had some.’€

‘€œWhen you think about the Patriots, you think about coach Bill Belichick and the team. Great tradition here … and winning. Winning ballgames,’€ he said. ‘€œWhen you get the opportunity to play with a quarterback of that caliber, just to be a part of an organization this caliber, it’€™s very exciting. I’€™m looking forward to it.’€

Underwood, who will be wearing No. 10 with the Patriots (he has the locker and number of former Patriots wide receiver Darnell Jenkins, who was released on Monday), says he hasn’€™t talked much about what his role will be in New England.

‘€œI’€™m just here trying to help the team win the best I can, whether it’€™s special teams or offense. Right now I’€™m just learning this playbook and just taking it day by day,’€ he said. ‘€œI haven’€™t spoken to anybody much, they told me to come in ready to work, learn the playbook, and then go out there and fight for a position. Just go hard.’€

Read More: Bill Belichick, darnell jenkins, Devin McCourty, Tiquan Underwood

Chad Ochocinco: ‘I’m nowhere near where I want to be’

08.30.11 at 3:14 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Maybe it’s simply because he’s more comfortable or maybe he genuinely wanted to reassure Patriot Nation that he’s just fine, but on Tuesday, Chad Ochocinco showed more of the personality that made him Ochocinco.

So Chad, two catches in eight targeted chances, only 14 yards and one touchdown in two preseason games with Tom Brady. You realize the expectations are greater than that, right?

“They’re supposed to be, high profile, flashy flamboyant player coming and I’m supposed to come in a certain way, point blank,” Ocho said. “There is no room, you know what I mean? I understand that.”

But you know this is Boston, right Chad? If the results aren’t there, it could get ugly.

“I know y’all going to kill me, I know y’all going to kill me, especially here. Boston loves their sports. If I’m [expletive-ing] up, you’re going to get me. Excuse me, but seriously.”

Then there was this.

“I’m here because of who I am,” Ochocinco said. “If I’m not me, that means I’m not playing my game, because that’s always been a part of me and for me to change my entire style at this point, I’d be a dead duck. Y’all would be on me every week.

“I don’t know. I’m just different, different. I’m someone against the grain. I love the game. I don’t play it the way it should be played. Guys don’t have a problem with me. I just want to have fun. Opposites attract that’s reality, the way it’s always been. Therefore, I will mesh well here with my teammates, coaches, especially [media].”

Ocho wanted to reassure everyone in New England that he is making plenty of progress learning the Patriots offense and he’ll be ready once the season begins on Sept. 12 in Miami.

“The transition has been good, it’€™s been fun. I’€™ve heard small little rumblings of I haven’€™t caught on yet, but I’€™ve been just fine,” Ochocinco said. “Coming from any place you’€™ve been 10 years and to come here and learn the verbiage and learn as much as I’€™ve learned the past two weeks. I’€™ve done extremely well.’€

Tom Brady has targeted Ochocinco eight times so far in two preseason games, with just two catches, 14 yards and one touchdown to show for his work. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots

Brandon Spikes, Dane Fletcher and Mike Wright all back at practice for Patriots on Tuesday

08.30.11 at 2:41 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” The Patriots just opened their Tuesday afternoon practice on the fields behind Gillette Stadium under bright sunny skies and in shorts, shells and helmets. Making a return to practice were linebackers Brandon Spikes and Dane Fletcher and defensive lineman Mike Wright.

The following players were not in attendance: wide receiver Taylor Price, running back Stevan Ridley, cornerback Leigh Bodden, running back Kevin Faulk, running back Eric Kettani, linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, offensive lineman Marcus Cannon, offensive lineman Ryan Wendell, offensive lineman Dan Connolly, defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick, wide receiver Wes Welker, linebacker Jermaine Cunningham and defensive lineman Ron Brace. Welker (neck) and Connolly (ankle) both left Saturday’s preseason game against the Lions with injuries.

Meanwhile, Albert Haynesworth was in attendance for his fourth straight practice as was Shaun Ellis. Neither Haynesworth nor Ellis have seen a snap of action this preseason.

Read More: Albert Haynesworth, Brandon Deaderick, Brandon Spikes, Dan Connolly
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