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Report: Tom Brady will file appeal Monday afternoon

05.23.16 at 7:58 am ET
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Tom Brady’s legal team will file a petition Monday afternoon to rehear the Deflategate appeal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Per Schefter, the petition will be to rehear the case “en banc,” meaning that it would be reheard before the entire Second Circuit court bench.

Monday represented the final day for the Patriots quarterback to file an appeal to his four-game suspension, which was overturned last month.

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Monday is deadline for Tom Brady, NFLPA to appeal ruling

05.23.16 at 7:28 am ET
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Monday represents a major deadline in Tom Brady’s legal battle with Roger Goodell and the NFL — it’s the final day for the Patriots quarterback to file an appeal to his four-game suspension.

Brady can ask for a hearing in front of the entire Second Circuit Court of Appeals, or he could ask for a rehearing in front of the same three-judge panel that reinstated Brady’s four-game suspension last month.

Regardless of their course of action, it seems fairly clear that Brady and his legal team intend to continue fighting the suspension in some form or fashion. While he has not commented publicly since the April ruling, Brady has added to his already impressive legal team on multiple occasions, a sign he is in it for the long haul.

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Read More: Deflategate, Tom Brady,

Julian Edelman celebrates 30th birthday with Patriots teammates in walking boot

05.22.16 at 9:31 pm ET
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Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman turned 30 years old on Sunday and video courtesy of Danny Amendola on Twitter showed the two receivers celebrating with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and others over the weekend.

From a football standpoint, it’s worth noting Edelman still had a walking boot on his left foot. A few weeks ago he was seen with one on and reported he had surgery on his left foot, but was on track to return for training camp.

It doesn’t seem like the walking boot prohibited Edelman from enjoying his big day.

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Read More: Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman,

Malcolm Butler with Butch and Tomase on contract: ‘I’m not going to discuss that right now’

05.22.16 at 4:22 pm ET
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Malcolm Butler

Malcolm Butler

If the Patriots hadn’t signed Malcolm Butler as an undrafted free agent two years ago, there’s no telling what he’d be doing. But it probably wouldn’t involve the NFL.

Speaking to Butch and Tomase on Saturday before attending an event at Premier Fence in Canton, Butler discussed his fortuitous arrival in New England, explained why he’s been so driven not to be defined as a one-hit wonder, and chafed when asked to address his rookie contract, which runs through the coming season.

“I’m not going to discuss that right now,” Butler said of his contract. “Whenever the time comes, it comes. I’m a football player. I’m not a GM.”

Butler has one year remaining on his deal before becoming a restricted free agent in 2017. He made his first Pro Bowl last season.

Butler was happy to rewind to May of 2014, when the Patriots came calling after he had gone undrafted out of West Alabama. He officially signed on May 19 of that year.

“I didn’t watch the draft until the last couple of rounds on the last day,” he said. “Just being honest with myself, I knew I [probably] wasn’t going to get drafted, so if I was going to get drafted, it would be in the late rounds and I’d get a phone call later. I was just at home, just got done working out, watching the draft. I’m thinking it’s going to be a good little while before someone calls me, and I see a 508 number. I get the call, and I came up to try out and I think Nick Caserio called me into his office. He’d liked what I’d done, and we went on from there.”

Surprisingly, not a single other team contacted Butler after he went undrafted. If the Patriots hadn’t signed him, he’s not sure where he’d be.

“Only team,” he said. “Only team. I hate to even think about it. I hate to think about it. I’m just glad it happened. I’m just glad the New England Patriots called me and everything happened the right way, which it has.”

As for his breakout season last year, Butler was determined not to be defined by his game-sealing interception against the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.

“AIE — that’s my motto. Attitude is everything,” Butler said. “I just put my mind to it that I wasn’t going to fall off from that play. That was an awesome play. I’ll never be able to do that again. I don’t think so, no I don’t think so. But when you’re doing that and that’s what you’re known for doing, that play, it’s kind of hard to replace that moment and live up to that moment. I’m not going to be able to go out there and do it over and over. I just kept the drive and just wanted to be a great player. I didn’t want to be defined by that one play, which I haven’t. I still have a lot more that I want to prove.

“I’ll never be able to do that again. Man, I just want to go out there and be a great football player. I got tired of the noise, talking about we’ll never hear from him again, lucky play and all that. I just used that as motivation to be a better player, and I always knew I’d be a good player in this league. I’ve still got a lot of work to do, and I’m looking forward to this season.”

Read More: Malcolm Butler, Malcolm Butler contract, Patriots, WEEI

Sunday NFL Notes: Deflategate or not, what’s a reasonable statistical expectation for Tom Brady in 2016?

05.22.16 at 5:00 am ET
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Tom Brady will turn 39 in August. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady will turn 39 in August. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

1. With Tom Brady set to turn 39 in three months, we thought it would be appropriate to take a look at what might be a reasonable level of expectation for the quarterback for 2016. By way of comparison, here are five notable performances by 39-year-old signal-callers. (For a complete list of performances from 39-year-old QBs, check out Pro Football Reference here.)

a) Warren Moon: As a 39-year-old with Minnesota in 1995, Moon started all 16 games, completed 62 percent of his passes, threw for 4,228 yards, 33 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and a passing rating of 91.5. This stat line represents the numerical pinnacle for 39-year-old quarterbacks across the board (and a pretty good — albeit relative — model for Brady to aim for, given his recent totals), but that Vikings team finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.

b) Brett Favre: In his return to football with the Jets in 2008, Favre also started all 16 games, completed 66 percent of his passes, threw for 3,472 yards, 22 touchdowns and 22 interceptions, and ended the year with an 81.3 passer rating. That New York team ended the year 9-7 and out of the postseason.

c) Doug Flutie: The Boston College product was the last of the three on our list to start in all 16 games for a San Diego team that started 3-0 but ended 5-11. He completed 56 percent of his passes, threw for 3,464 yards, 15 touchdowns, 18 interceptions and finished with a quarterback rating of 72.

d) Jim Plunkett: The former Patriot was at the tail end of his career with the Raiders in 1986 when he started eight games and threw for 1,986 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions as a 39-year-old. He finished that year with a 53 percent completion rate and a passer rating of 82.5. It was the last season of his career, and he went 3-5 for a Raiders’ team that finished 8-8.

e) Peyton Manning: Let’s make one thing clear: we’re only including Manning here because he was Brady’s counterpoint for much of the last decade-plus. Of course, Manning’s numbers last year were pretty bad, as he ended with a 60 percent completion rate, 2,249 passing yards, nine touchdowns, 17 interceptions and a passer rating of 67.9 — arguably the worst regular-season stat line of any Super Bowl-winning QB of all time. But he was the guy left standing at the end with his second ring and a kiss from Papa John that sent him into the sunset.

2. Of course, from a historical perspective, no quarterback is having the run-up to the age of 39 that Brady has enjoyed. His passer rating, completion percentage and touchdowns have all increased the last three seasons, while his interception totals have dropped over the same stretch as he’s led the Patriots to three AFC title games and one Super Bowl win. If there’s anyone capable of bucking the trend, it’s Brady: as long as Alex Guerrero has plenty of avocado ice cream at his disposal and his offensive options remain healthy, the sky is the limit for the quarterback. (Who’s to say what sort of impact Deflategate might have on his production this season.) It’s only to give some sort of statistical context to the challenge facing the quarterback as he continues to prepare for 2016.

3. We hit on one of the Patriots-related aspects to Jason Licht’s interview defending Tampa’s choice to take a kicker in the second round of the draft earlier this week, but as noted here by Rich Hill, there were two other elements of that Q&A worth passing along that might interest New England fans.

One, it’s OK to be bold: “Belichick [wants to take his guy and not be worried about what others think]. I always tell our scouts, ‘If you guys have a first-round grade on a guy the 49ers took and he turns out to be a bust, I’m not worried. I’m not going to judge you on that,’” said the Tampa GM who cut his teeth with the Patriots. “There are so many factors that go into whether that player will be successful or not. It could be the city. It could be the staff. It could be the team. It could be all that stuff. I’m only worried about our picks and how you evaluated the players that we took.”

And two, don’t be afraid to have a short list. Don’t muck up your draft board with a lot of unnecessary names. “I think from Bill, I learned about having a clean draft board without 300 names up there on draft day,” Licht said. “Chipping it down to whom the guys were that we actually wanted, that could actually make our team and help us,” he said. “I remember one year we cleaned the draft board down to just 75 players going into a seven-round draft. Us scouts said, ‘Are we going to have enough players to draft? What’s going to be there in the seventh round?’ We got down to the seventh round and there were two players left out of 75 and it was [wide receiver] David Givens and we took him. He went on to have a pretty good career.”

4. We noted Rob Ninkovich’s pair of impressive streaks here, but it’s also worth noting that two other Pats are among the active leaders at their respective positions when it comes to games played and/or started. Brady is third among all quarterbacks when it comes to consecutive regular-season games played with 112 — he trails Eli Manning at 183 and Philip Rivers at 161. Brady is also third on the list for consecutive regular-season games started at 112 behind Manning’s 183 and Rivers’ 160. (For what it’s worth, it’s believed that a Deflategate ban would knock him off both active lists.) In addition, Stephen Gostkowski is now tied for fifth among all kickers with a streak of 80 straight regular-season games played.

5. One of the things that stood out about our chat with Ian Rapoport of NFL Media this week in the “It Is What It Is” podcast was that Rapoport told us that former Patriots offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo was basically coaching for his job down the stretch. Instead of DeGuglielmo basically being the fall guy for what happened in the AFC title game, Rapoport told me that “the wheels were sort of in motion before that. I knew he thought he was kind of fighting for his job a few weeks before that.” DeGuglielmo was “feeling the heat and he knew there was a chance he would not be retained” down the stretch, and the biggest takeaway was the fact that it wasn’t a “good mesh of styles.”

As for the return of Dante Scarnecchia, Rapoport said there was a mostly positive reaction around the league to the Patriots decision to re-hire Scarnecchia. “His return is probably treated as it should be because everyone saw what happened when [Scarnecchia] wasn’t there,” Rapoport said. For my complete interview, check out the podcast here.

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Free agent RB Arian Foster spotted in Boston, fueling speculation about a future with Patriots

05.21.16 at 1:21 pm ET
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Arian Foster has spent a lot of time in New England the last 24 hours or so.  (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Arian Foster has spent a lot of time in New England the last 24 hours or so. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

So what’s the deal with Arian Foster?

The veteran was spotted at Logan Airport and at Fenway over the last couple of days. The Patriots ostensibly have a need for depth at running back after passing at the position in the draft. The veteran is still on the market. According to our pal Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Foster’s visit to New England doesn’t include a meeting with the Patriots. But per Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, New England has expressed a “preliminary” interest in Foster.

So what does that all add up to?

At this point, it’s nothing more than pure speculation. But if the Patriots are interested in kicking the tires on the veteran, he’s certainly an intriguing prospect. The 29-year-old, who is coming off an Achilles injury that ended his 2015 campaign, is a 6-foot, 232-pound veteran who has 6,472 career rushing yards — including four seasons where he topped 1,000 yards on the ground — in his seven years in the NFL, all of them with Houston.

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Read More: 2016 NFL free agency, Arian Foster,

Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht says his experience with Patriots sparked decision to draft kicker in second round

05.20.16 at 2:09 pm ET
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Roberto Aguayo was drafted in the second round by Tampa Bay.  (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Roberto Aguayo was drafted in the second round by Tampa Bay. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Tampa GM Jason Licht said he made his notable decision to draft kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round this year in part because of his background with the Patriots and Bill Belichick.

In an interview with, Licht, who made his bones in the New England front office before taking the reins with the Bucs, said that Belichick once asked all his scouts to break down the entire roster in order of value

“None of us had the kicker, Stephen Gostkowski, in our top 10 — even though he was an excellent kicker,” Licht said. “After we were done, Bill said, ‘Nobody wants to put Gostkowski in our top 10? Why, just because he’s a kicker?’ Bill made us ‘rethink that’ and he got his point across. He said, ‘You tell me 10 other players that are more important than him?'”

Gostkowski was taken in the fourth round of the 2006 draft out of Memphis, and has gone on to become one of the better kickers in the league over the last decade.

Licht said his resolve to draft a kicker early was strengthened when he saw Tampa kicker Kyle Brindza miss five field goals and two extra points in consecutive losses to Houston and Carolina last year.

“It was an eye-opening moment for me. I had been around Adam Vinatieri and Gostkowski, and those are two of the best,” Licht added. “I know how good of a feeling that is to have a guy like that when you know that a lot of the games are going to come down to field goals — a lot of the games come down to the kicker.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jason Licht, Roberto Aguayo, Stephen Gostkowski



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