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Turns out Varitek did ‘split the uprights’

05.12.10 at 3:14 pm ET
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Turns out Mayor Thomas Menino, who mistakenly lauded Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek’s ability to “split the uprights” on Monday — confusing him with ex-Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri’s classic postseason performances — might have been on to something after all.

Varitek said on Tuesday night that he did in fact kick field goals as a high school football player. He told reporters — including our own Alex Speier — his most momentous accomplishments as a kicker (and punter) came as a result of an injury to a teammate when he was a sophomore in high school.

“I was a toe kicker,” said Varitek, who added he played several positions as a high school football player. “I have a couple extra points under my belt in high school.

“I kicked the game-winning field goal,” Varitek chuckled. “He probably read a ‘V’ and wasn’t sure which one it was. That’s all I heard, all day long – loosening up, in the bullpen, coming back from the bullpen.”

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Three wise men examine the Holt-Galloway question

05.12.10 at 2:34 pm ET
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After spending the first 10 seasons of his career in St. Louis, Torry Holt played last season with Jacksonville. (AP)

Fair or not, the specter of Joey Galloway looms large for Torry Holt.

Galloway, who flamed out in spectacular fashion with the Patriots in 2009, was cut after just three games. The veteran receiver, who is coming to the close of a spectacular career, just never fit with New England, finishing with just seven catches with the Patriots before being shown the door.

Now, he’s cautionary tale, a name that popped up moments after Holt was acquired by New England last month as a free agent: Well, he can’t be as bad as Galloway, right?

Several e-mailers have asked me what sort of impact the former St. Louis and Jacksonville wideout could have with New England. Specifically, could he still be a viable option in the passing game? And does he have more in the tank than Galloway did when he arrived to join the Patriots?

I haven’t watched much film on Holt the last couple of years to comment authoritatively on where the 33-year-old really is at this stage of his career (here’s my quick take on the acquisition when he was signed), so for the answer, I turned to three guys who I really respect: Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders, Daniel Jeremiah of Move The Sticks and Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus. The three, who have seen a lot of Holt the last couple of years, have divergent — but very illuminating — opinions on what sort of statistical impact Holt could have on the New England passing game in 2010.
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Brady: ‘I’m still doing what I need to do to be ready’

05.12.10 at 8:17 am ET
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People Brady Bundchen Baby Football

Tom Brady sounded an optimistic note about his own health and the health of Wes Welker on Wednesday. (AP)

Tom Brady told WEEI’s “Dennis & Callahan” on Wednesday  that while he’s not around Gillette Stadium in the offseason as much as he was when he was a younger player, he’s “still doing what I need to do to be ready, there’s no doubt about that.”

“It’s something that’s tough for me because part of being a great player and quarterback and leader is participating,” Brady said of taking the opportunity to spend more with his family in the offseason. “And there’s obviously a bit of a conflict when I’m not able to be here like I once was, which was pretty much for every workout. Now, I’m here for, you know, significantly less than that.

“But like I said, I have a son that lives out in L.A., and I don’t think I’ll regret spending the time with him. He was born in August of 2007 and I really didn’t get to see much of him for the first six months of his life, so there’s some months there in the offseason that are really important times for me, especially … he’s not going to remember much of it, but I sure will. I’m still doing what I need to do to be ready, there’s no doubt about that.”

In an interview that lasted close to 30 minutes (click here for the full audio), Brady said that while he continues to work out in the offseason (as much as three times a day when wife Gisele Bundchen is off at work, he estimates), the one thing that he can’t do as much of is throw the football.

“That’s the one thing when you travel that you can’t do much of,” he said. “These little French guys, I don’t think they know what the hell football is.”

But while on the West Coast, he has had the opportunity to throw to rehabbing wide receiver Wes Welker. Welker, who underwent knee and shoulder surgery in the offseason, has made good progress, according to Brady.

“I love being with Wes. Wes is an old throwback,” Brady said. “When you’re faced with what he’s been faced with this offseason, it’s been pretty much, that’s how he’s approached it. It’s really been fun for me to see him and the improvements he makes on a daily basis, when I was pretty much going through the same thing he was going through. He’s made me look like I was a year behind schedule. He’s worked really hard and it’s great for me to see.”

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Welker: No timetable for return

05.11.10 at 7:45 am ET
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Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, who is recovering from ACL and MCL injuries to his left knee suffered in the regular-season finale in December, told The Oklahoman newspaper that he is battling to get back on the field but can’t predict when he’ll be able to return to action.

“It’s so early right now, it’s hard to put any sort of timetable on it,” he said. “My main deal is just working hard and putting myself in the best position possible to be ready whenever I’m ready. No telling when that’s going to be or how long it’s going to take, but all I can do is just work hard.”

Welker said he’s trying to make sure he follows the prescribed guidelines so that his injuries are healed before he returns to the field.

“Obviously, this isn’t something you can really just fight through,” he said. “You’ve got to go in stages. You’ve got to make sure you’re doing everything possible to heal the right way and make sure you’re ready to go.”

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Brady scheduled to talk with D&C Wednesday

05.10.10 at 8:05 pm ET
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Just got the heads up that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is scheduled to appear as a guest with “Dennis & Callahan” Wednesday at 7 a.m. Brady hasn’t talked a whole lot this offseason, doing just one in-depth interview since the end of the 2009 campaign. (For the details on that Q&A, which was done with SI.com’s Peter King, click here.)

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Pats sign Taylor

05.10.10 at 4:31 pm ET
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The Patriots today announced the signing of running back Chris Taylor via their Twitter account. Here’s the press release on the move:

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Preseason dates and times locked in

05.10.10 at 1:41 pm ET
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According to Patriots.com, the Patriots preseason scheduled is now locked in. Here are the dates and times for all four games:

Thu. Aug. 12 vs. New Orleans (7:30 p.m.)
Thu. Aug. 19 at Atlanta (8 p.m., FOX)
Thu. Aug. 26 vs. St. Louis (7:30 p.m.)
Thu. Sept. 2 at New York Giants (7 p.m.)

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