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Some new guys get their numbers

04.29.10 at 1:38 pm ET
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Thanks to the Patriots’ Twitter feed, we now know some of the numbers for the rookies: first-round pick Devin McCourty will wear No. 32, while tight end Rob Gronkowski is the new No. 87. Linebacker Brandon Spikes will wear No. 55, while punter Zoltan Mesko has been given No. 6.

Read More: Brandon Spikes, Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, Zoltan Mesko

Report: Galloway signs with Redskins

04.29.10 at 11:18 am ET
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Former Patriots wide receiver Joey Galloway signed a one-year contract with the Washington Redskins, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Galloway, 38, started last season with New England but was let go after three games in which he had seven catches for 67 yards and no touchdowns. He joined the Pittsburgh Steelers but did not get into a game for them.

From one hoodie lover to another…

04.28.10 at 10:21 pm ET
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A few weeks ago, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon got some grief from Major League Baseball for wearing a hoodie instead of the official dugout gear. At the time, the Rays were at Fenway, and Maddon appealed to Patriots coach Bill Belichick for support. Turns out, Belichick was listening. According to this story, Maddon receiver an official Belichick-style Patriots’ hoodie on Wednesday, complete with “JM” on the front and a “nice little letter,” according to Maddon. Maddon said he plans to put both in a glass case in his office. “That was very nice of him,” Maddon said. “We’re going to reciprocate. … That was very cool.”

(H/T to allthingsbillbelichick.com for the link.)

Read More: Bill Belichick, Joe Maddon,

It’s never too early…

04.28.10 at 8:23 pm ET
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That’s a lie. I’m borderline disgusted with myself, but when you’ve done a mock draft every Wednesday for as far back as you can remember, this is the type of stuff that happens. Presenting an outrageously early look at the 2011 NFL draft (after all, there was enough buzz this weekend to keep everyone wanting more from Radio City Music Hall):

1. Buffalo – Jake Locker, QB, Washington: Locker may have battled Sam Bradford had he come out a year early, and with the Bills neglecting foundational positions early once again, they can expect to pick approximately eight picks higher than they did last week.

2. St. Louis – Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama: We heard plenty of the Suh vs. Bradford debate at No. 1 this year, and even though they made the responsible decision by taking a franchise quarterback, that defensive line is even worse off with the trade of first-round bust Adam Carriker.

3. Tampa Bay – Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina: The team began the defensive line overhaul with Gerald McCoy and should continue the youth movement with Quinn, who has the size and strength to be a force at defensive end.

4. Cleveland – Julio Jones, WR, Alabama: How slowly will the Browns bring Colt McCoy along?  Hopefully so slowly that he doesn’t see the field until the team has gotten him some weapons. Jones and Georgia’s A.J. Green will likely battle it out for the top receiver slot in the draft class.

5. Carolina – Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin: The Panthers didn’t have a first-round pick, but wound up barely missing a beat by taking a guy people expected to go in the Top 10. Even so, the Jimmy Clausen pick doesn’t help a bad team now, so they can expect a Top 5 pick they can secure some offensive line help with.

6. Detroit – Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU: Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch are the first pieces in the long process that is restoring some semblance of an NFL defense. Third-round pick Amari Speivey isn’t a real No. 1. Peterson is.

7. Kansas City – A.J. Green, WR, Georgia: The 2010 draft gave Matt Cassel some toys at both running back and tight end, but the team still needs a game-changer to complement Dwayne Bowe or even supplant him on the depth chart.

8. Patriots [from Oakland] – Cameron Heyward, DT, Ohio State: The Patriots drafted well, but that hole at right defensive end is still there. Maybe they can do a patch-up job for the forthcoming season, but using the pick from the Richard Seymour trade on the next long-term star at the position would only be appropriate.

9. Pittsburgh – Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas: Here’s where it gets a little interesting. What happens if Byron Leftwich struggles out of the gate? What if the team is in an irreversible funk by the time Ben Roethlisberger returns? The team could very well finish as one of the bottom teams. If they do, there’s only one person and position to blame.

10. Jacksonville – Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama: Nobody will ever know whether the Jaguars would have taken C.J. Spiller at No. 10 were he available, but the intrigue of an upper-echelon running attack comprised of Ingram and Maurice Jones-Drew might leave them looking at Ingram next year.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft,

Four more set to join rookie camp this weekend

04.28.10 at 8:08 pm ET
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The Patriots continue to add players to the mix for the start of rookie camp on Friday. We’ve already run down a handful of them here, but over the last 24 hours, we’ve been alerted to four more players who are in the mix:

Terrence Johnson, a cornerback out of California University of Pennsylvania, was signed as an undrafted free agent, according to the school. Johnson, six feet tall and 190 pounds finished his college career as one of the most decorated defensive players in the history of the school, ending with 178 tackles (133 solo) and 16 interceptions while starting at cornerback all four seasons. Johnson, who saw time on special teams as well, was selected an American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and Associated Press All-American last season and was a two-time Daktronics All-American during his career.

According to his web site, Nyan Boateng, a 23-year-old wide receiver out of Cal, was also signed as an rookie free agent by the Patriots. The 6-foot-2, 211-pounder had 42 receptions, 630 yards receiving and seven touchdown receptions in 24 games and five starts with Cal, averaging 15.0 yards per catch and 26.2 yards receiving per contest. He made his debut with the Golden Bears in 2008 after transferring from (guess where?) Florida in the spring of 2007.

Boateng is an amazing story: He was born in Ghana and moved to the United States when he was six years old. Growing up in New York City, he played high school ball with Sebastian Telfair. And he speaks three languages — English, French and Twi (spoken in Ghana) — and has a cousin Derek who competed in the World Cup for Ghana. According to the Boston Herald, he also reportedly failed a drug test at the combine, so there’s that. Here’s some video of Boateng from 2008:

Northwestern’s Andrew Brewer has also earned a camp tryout with the Patriots, according to the Chicago Tribune. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder began his college career as a quarterback with the Wildcats, but made the move to wide receiver and flourished the last couple of years, closing his career with an average of 14.7 yards per catch. This past season, the wide receiver led Northwestern in receiving yards (925) and touchdowns (9), and set a single-seson school record with a 16.2 yards per reception average. Here’s video on Brewer:

In addition, multiple reports indicate that Villanova Ross Ventrone — brother of former Patriots’ special teamer Ray Ventrone, who was in New England from 2006 through 2008 and is now in Cleveland — has gotten an invite. Ventrone is a 5-foot-8, 190-pound defensive back who had 42 tackles and four interceptions over the course of his college career with the Wildcats.

Read More: Andrew Brewer, Nyan Boateng, Ross Ventrone, Terrence Johnson

Good day to head to the Hall

04.28.10 at 4:32 pm ET
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Want to meet the first two guys who played their entire careers with the Patriots to go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame? Linebacker Andre Tippett and offensive lineman John Hannah will be signing autographs as part of a Pro Football Hall of Fame event at the Hall at Patriot Place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 8. For $35, you get a commemorative photo, autographs from Tippett and Hannah and admission to the Hall. Proceeds from the event help the Pro Football Hall of Fame fulfill its mission to honor, preserve, educate, and promote.

Read More: Andre Tippett, John Hannah,

Hernandez refutes report of ‘additional violations’ involving use of marijuana

04.27.10 at 9:17 pm ET
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In response to a Boston.com story about him failing multiple drug tests for marijuana as a collegian, Patriots’ draft pick Aaron Hernandez issued the following statement through the team Tuesday night:

“Leading up to the draft, I provided every interested NFL team with all the information asked of me about football and my personal life. I was as candid as I could possibly be about everything, including my one single violation of the team’s substance testing policy over the course of three years at the University of Florida.  That is why I was very surprised and disappointed by the recent inaccurate report of additional violations.  I regret what happened, I learned from it and will make better decisions going forward.  I couldn’t be more excited about beginning my NFL career and representing the New England Patriots well.”

Read More: 2010 NFL Draft, Aaron Hernandez,
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