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Former Patriots WR Wes Welker on MFB: I’ve never ruled out return to New England

06.02.15 at 12:29 pm ET
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Former Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker joined Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss his relationship with the team and his future plans. To hear the interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.

Welker is currently a free agent, but he has put work into staying in shape this offseason and being ready for training camp. Welker has played in 11 NFL seasons, with the last two coming with the Broncos.

“I’ve just been working out and staying in shape,” Welker said. “I’ve been down in Florida doing all of that. My wife has called it ‘The Offseason of Wes.’ She’s pregnant right now (with twins) so we’ve been traveling around. … We’ve just been going on vacation because I don’t have to report to a team right now. We’ve been to the Bahamas and we’ve been to Cabo. She can’t travel any more after this weekend so I’ll be down in Florida training all the way leading up to training camp and kind of seeing what happens.”

Additionally, Welker did not rule out a potential return to the Patriots.

“I think there are a handful of teams that are definitely an option,” he said. “If the right situation comes up and everything kind of pieces together then I’ll definitely play again. … I don’t think there’s any hard feelings there [with Bill Belichick]. Definitely not from my side and I don’t think from his either. I’ve never ruled that out.”

When asked about Deflategate, Welker defended Tom Brady, his former quarterback and good friend.

“It’s like, ‘Oh, Tom [Brady] did it? Yeah, it’s definitely a big deal,'” he said. “I never really noticed a difference in the balls. I think it is [a big deal] because it’s him. Other teams are kind of like, ‘I knew he was doing something.’ I don’t know how big of a deal it is.”

He continued to defend the Patriots when discussing allegations of improved ball security through ball deflation.

“I guess that’s one statistic you kind of look at that you’re kind of like, ‘Okay, maybe that helped?'” he said. “Everybody practices good ball security. It’s not like Bill [Belichick] reinvented the wheel on that one. He obviously emphasizes it a lot and does a great job with it, but every team does.”

With many of his former teammates celebrating a Super Bowl win this past February, Welker may have regrets of his own, but remains happy for his friends.

“Obviously you’re happy for your friends,” he said. “Deep down, you’re like, ‘Man, this sucks. We should’ve done that.’ Or, ‘I should have been there.’ Or, ‘We should’ve won in the past.’ A lot of thoughts go through your head, but that’s the game. The ball bounces a funny way, you throw it up in the air and you don’t know where it’s going to bounce. It’s just the way it goes sometimes. You should move on. Life goes on.”

Though he and the Patriots reportedly parted ways on bad terms, Welker insists he has no hard feelings towards the organization.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Deflategate, Tom Brady, Wes Welker

Deconstructing Patriots roster by age, spring 2015 edition

06.02.15 at 12:02 pm ET
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Tom Brady will be the oldest guy on the Patriots roster in 2015. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Tom Brady will be the oldest guy on the Patriots roster in 2015. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Tracking the overall age of the Patriots roster is something we’€™ve had some fun with over the last two years at this time on the calendar, and with New England now in the spring portion of the offseason workout program, it’€™s a good a time as any to measure the state of the current Patriots roster, which sits at 90 players.

Let’€™s make sure we all understand one thing here: these numbers will change between now and the start of the regular season –€” the team-building process will inevitably bring some shuffling of personnel, while the roster has to be cut from 90 to 53 prior to the start of the year.

As for how these numbers stack up against the rest of the league, if our abacus holds up over the next few days, we might have an answer for you. But as it stands right now, here are a few things that stand out about the New England roster from an age perspective:

June 2015 — average age of Patriots roster: 26.3
June 2014 — average age of Patriots roster: 25.3
May 2013 — average age of Patriots roster: 25.3

3 quarterbacks — average age: 27.7
June 2014 — 3 QBs, average age: 28
May 2013 — average age: 28

6 tight ends — average age: 26.3
June 2014 — 5 TEs, average age: 24
May 2013 — average age: 25

14 offensive linemen — average age: 24.9
June 2014 — 14 OL, average age: 25.7
May 2013 — average age: 26

8 running backs — average age: 25
June 2014 — 8 RBs, average age: 23.5
May 2013 — average age: 25

10 wide receivers — average age: 25.3
June 2014 — 11 WRs, average age: 24.8
May 2013 — average age: 25

4 special teamers — average age: 27
June 2014 — 4 STs, average age: 25.25
May 2013 — average age: 25

7 cornerbacks — average age: 25.3
June 2014 — 6 CBs, average age: 25.8
May 2013 — average age: 25

9 defensive backs — average age: 24.2
June 2014 — 11 DBs, average age: 24.1
May 2013 — average age: 25

15 defensive linemen — average age: 25.1
June 2014 — 16 DL, average age: 25.5
May 2013 — average age: 25

14 linebackers — average age: 25.2
June 2014 — 12 LBs, average age: 24.9
May 2013 — average age: 26

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Dan Marino on MFB: ‘My perception of [Tom Brady] is he’s one of the greatest players at that position to ever play’

06.02.15 at 11:51 am ET
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Dan Marino. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Dan Marino. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Dan Marino joined Middays with MFB on Tuesday to give his thoughts on Tom Brady and Deflategate, and also to talk about the state of the AFC East. To hear the interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.

Marino, one of the best quarterbacks to play the game, was asked with everything that has taken place with Brady, has his opinion changed of how he views him. The former Miami Dolphin said that hasn’t been the case.

“I’m a big fan of Tom Brady, always have been,” Marino said. “I’ve known him for a lot of years. My perception of him is he’s one of the greatest players at that position to ever play. That is not going to change.”

The former quarterback said when he played, during the games he didn’t notice the weight of the footballs because he had more important things to worry about.

“When the game started I usually, whatever the ball was, [I threw it],” Marino said. “I didn’t even think about it. You have so many other things to think about. Yhe last thing would be whether the football has the proper air. I used to pick them during the week just like any other quarterback. It’s always been that way.”

Marino retired in 1999, so he noted things were different when he played when it came to the preparation of the footballs, especially on the road.

“On Friday’s you go through the week, you practice, you pick out what you like,” Marino said. “For me, I never even thought about that they actually checked the footballs before games, but you put them in the bag and you send them to the stadium. That’s how I always dealt with it. The other thing that is different now than it was when I was playing was if you [went] on the road you actually had to rely on the other quarterback to not fix the balls the way he does and kind of trust that you have to throw the balls on the road that quarterback and that home team team likes. It’s a situation that I think I didn’t even realize they were checking balls before games.”

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Read More: Dan Marino, Deflategate, Tom Brady,

Tom Brady talks importance of Best Buddies event

06.01.15 at 11:29 am ET
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Julian Edelman was one of Tom Brady's teammates who joined him Saturday for the finish of the Best Buddies challenge. (Paul Marotta/Getty Images)

Julian Edelman was one of Tom Brady‘s teammates who joined him Saturday for the finish of the Best Buddies challenge. (Paul Marotta/Getty Images)

Quarterback Tom Brady had his annual football game Friday night at Harvard Stadium, which many of his teammates attended, followed Saturday by his Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port, where participants either ride (100, 50 or 20 miles), run (5k) or walk (5k) all to benefit Best Buddies.

Although Brady didn’t address the media Friday or Saturday, he did give a brief statement to Hublot, a Luxury Swiss watch brand, who donated $25,000 to Best Buddies at Friday’s game.

“Tonight is one of the highlights of my year,” Brady said. “This football night here at Harvard has become a really unique event. … It’€™s all about the Buddies. … Friendship is an important part of all of our lives — especially when you’€™re going through challenging times it’€™s great to have as many friends as you possibly can. To support the Buddies in the network that Anthony [Shriver] has worked so hard to create over the years is really spectacular.”

This weekend marked the 16th year of the event.

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Read More: Best Buddies, Tom Brady,

Teammates support Tom Brady at Best Buddies event

05.30.15 at 1:02 am ET
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ALLSTON — Tom Brady hosted his annual charity football game on Friday to benefit Best Buddies International, a nonprofit organization that aims to create opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Brady was not the only current Patriot in attendance. The quarterback was joined by the likes of Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich and Dane Fletcher. Jones wasn’t spotted at Friday’s OTA, but was present at Harvard Stadium to be with some of his teammates.

Brady didn’t address the media like he typically does at halftime, likely because of his pending four-game suspension, which he is appealing.

Edelman and Amendola entered the game in the second quarter as members of opposite teams, with Edelman suiting up for Team Natixis and Amendola seeing time for Team Hublot. Brady targeted and completed passes to both during their time on the field, as he served as quarterback for both teams.

At halftime, the pair helped Brady take part in a throwing endeavor that involved him completing five passes to receivers at increasing distances. Each successful pass marked another sum of money that Hublot would donate to Best Buddies and Edelman and Amendola served as the final two targets. Both caught their respective passes and aided Brady in raising the donation total to $25,000.

In his street clothes during the fourth quarter, Ninkovich joined Team Hublot and was responsible for the team’s winning score. He picked off Brady and returned it to the red zone before flipping it to a teammate for the touchdown that gave his team the win in the final seconds.

Also in attendance were Governor Charlie Baker and comedian Dane Cook. They played in the fourth quarter and each caught a pass from Brady.

Brady, a Global Ambassador for Best Buddies, served as one of the events three co-chairs, the other two being Guy Fieri and Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III. The Event Chair was John Hailer, President and CEO of Natixis Global Asset Management for the Americas and Asia.

Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe and President of Hublot Latin America Rick de la Croix were also at the game to launch a Best Buddies cycling watch, some of the profits of which will be donated to Best Buddies.

Brady will also take part in Saturday’s Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port, which features a charity walk, run and ride.

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Read More: Best Buddies, Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Tom Brady

Jimmy Garoppolo on stepping in for Tom Brady: Just worried ‘about the things you can control’

05.29.15 at 10:00 pm ET
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FOXBORO — If Jimmy Garoppolo indeed starts the season as the Patriots quarterback, he plans to do so with a smile on his face.

Entering his second season out of Eastern Illinois, Garoppolo is in line to start against the Steelers on Sept. 10 if Tom Brady doesn’t have his four-game suspension entirely revoked.

In his first season, Garoppolo appeared in six games, completing 19-of-27 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski in the 41-14 blowout loss at Kansas City last Sept. 29. But beyond the game experience, Garoppolo and head coach Bill Belichick both agreed Friday, after the second OTA session of the spring, that the biggest impact comes with having a full year in the Patriots’ offensive system.

“It helps all rookies to get that first year under their belt and come out in the second year,” Belichick said. “That’s usually where you see the biggest jump generally in most players, from year one to year two. They understand the system, they’ve been through it, they’ve been through the league for a year. Hopefully, we’ll see that from our group.”

“There’s a long way to go,” Garoppolo added. “We just got into OTAs, just a couple of practices under our belts. I’ll probably have a better answer in a couple of weeks or so. Obviously, a year will do that to anyone. Being with the same people, same atmosphere, all that. You get more used to it.

“Little improvements here and there that you have to pick up. Obviously, getting into the playbook, it’s a lot different. You’ve just got to adjust to it. There’s a ton to improve on. We’ve got a long way to go.”

Garoppolo should have a better idea after Brady has his appeal heard on June 23 whether he indeed will be starting against the Steelers in the opener. Garoppolo is in a strange position of feeling for his teammate whose misfortune could open a door of opportunity for him.

“He’s accomplished a ton,” Garoppolo said. “Four Super Bowl rings. That’s as impressive as it gets. You’ve got to worry about the things that you can control and coming out here every day and try to improve every day. That’s all I can worry about right now.

“I’m just going out to practice every day, trying to improve, try to get my teammates better, me better and go from there. I just have the mindset that I’m trying to get better. That’s all you can control at the end of the day.”

One area Garoppolo has learned a lot from Brady is in his diet.

“Being in the league for a year, obviously that experience, you see guys ahead of you, what they do and how they take care of their bodies. It’s a long season so you’ve got to be in tip-top shape. That’s what the offseason is for. You’ve got to eat right. That’s makes all the different. I know I’m pretty young still but as you get older, it makes a difference. Ice cream. That’s my weakness.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Deflategate, Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots

Report: Tom Brady appeal to be heard June 23

05.29.15 at 5:33 pm ET
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Finally there is a date to Tom Brady‘s appeal for his four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the quarterback’s appeal will be heard June 23 and possibly continue June 25. It will reportedly be with Commissioner Roger Goodell, even after the NFLPA requested Goodell rescue himself from hearing the appeal.

The Patriots will be finished with their mandatory minicamp as that wraps up June 18.

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Read More: Deflategate, roger goodell, Tom Brady,
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