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Report: Dion Lewis needs second knee surgery, timetable for return ‘uncertain’

08.21.16 at 12:15 pm ET
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Dion Lewis

Dion Lewis

FOXBORO — The bad injury luck of Dion Lewis continues.

The 25-year-old running back, who tore his left ACL last Nov. 8 against Washington, will need a second knee surgery, according to a report from the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride.

CSNNE’s Tom Curran reported that the knee surgery is not to repair the ACL while ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds that the “clean-up” procedure will keep Lewis out “indefinitely.”

The running back, who walked without a limp Sunday through the locker room with teammates, showed great promise for the Patriots in the first half of the 2015 season.

The Patriots were so impressed that on Oct. 8, after just three games, Lewis signed a two-year contract extension through the 2017 season.

The contract included a $600,000 signing bonus and $1.8 million in incentives in 2016 and 2017. In his first game after signing the contract, a 30-6 win over the Cowboys, Lewis rushed six times for 34 yards and caught eight passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. On Oct. 29, in a 36-7 win over the Miami Dolphins, Lewis rushed five times for 19 yards and caught six passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. Then, on Nov. 8 Lewis suffered a torn ACL against the Redskins. He was placed on IR the next day.

Lewis was signed to a futures contract in Dec. 2014, with his first game action coming on Sept. 10, 2015, in the Patriots’ 28–21 win over the Steelers. Starting for the first time in his career in place of a suspended LeGarrette Blount, Lewis recorded 120 yards from scrimmage.

Lewis, a fifth-round pick out of the University of Pittsburgh by the Eagles in 2011, broke his fibula in a preseason game with the Browns in Aug. 2013.

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Al Michaels, not Mike Tirico, will call Thursday night games for NBC

08.21.16 at 10:22 am ET
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When NBC brought over Mike Tirico from ESPN, it seemed like the plan was to have him call NBC’s Thursday night games and then eventually take over for Al Michaels on Sunday night once the 71-year-old retires.

It doesn’t appear Tirico will get these Thursday games as following a New York Daily News story and a NFL statement, Michaels will be calling the games leaving Tirico out.

“When we bid out the Thursday Night games, NBC came to us with an impressive pitch to bring the magic of Sunday Night Football — specifically Al and Cris [Collinsworth] and their production team — to Thursday Night,” the statement read. “That was very attractive to us as we look to continue to build on the success of Thursday Night Football, and is similar to the deal we have with CBS for their lead broadcast and production team. We came to a contractual agreement with NBC on those terms.

“In fact, when the NFL, CBS and NBC jointly announced the expansion of Thursday Night Football last February, we said: ‘Both CBS and NBC will produce Thursday Night Football with their lead broadcasters and productions teams, and both will contribute to the production of Thursday Night Football exclusively on NFL Network. CBS and NFL Network will televise the first half of the Thursday Night Football schedule with NBC and NFL Network televising the second half.’

“Our contract with NBC requires that the Sunday Night team also do Thursday Night. It is up to NBC to determine who the talent is for both nights based on those parameters.”

Tirico isn’t calling Sunday night games, so therefore at least for this season, he won’t be calling Thursday games either. Tirico called Monday Night Football games on ESPN for the last 10 years.

Sunday NFL Notes: 10 camp awards for 2016 Patriots

08.20.16 at 8:50 pm ET
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Julian Edelman's sudden departure from camp was the most dramatic moment of the two-plus weeks this summer. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Julian Edelman’s sudden departure from camp was the most dramatic moment of the two-plus weeks this summer. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

The curtain came down on our chance to watch training camp practices this week, so it’s time to hand out 10 camp awards for 2016.

1. Most Consistent Performers (and best quotes): The tight ends — When they were on the field, Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski were a handful to deal with. Bennett caught just about everything thrown in his direction, while Gronkowski has spent most of the summer doing Gronkowski-type things. Provided they can stay healthy, they will be as dynamic an offensive combination as the Patriots have ever had. AJ Derby’s continued ability to show up, combined with his standout performance against the Bears, also gives him the early lead here in the race to land the third spot. (That position also consistently provided the best quotes, from Bennett’s take on developing chemistry with two quarterbacks to Gronk’s breath.)

2. Best Rookie: Joe Thuney — The third-round pick out of North Carolina State has stepped into the left guard spot and made the most of his opportunities. Technically sound with good footwork and good versatility (at least at the collegiate level), he’s been able to put plenty of pressure on the rest of the incumbents along the interior of the offensive line. At this point in the summer, he’s pushed himself to the front of the depth chart at left guard, and distinguished himself as the finest first-year player on the roster, at least so far. Receiver Malcolm Mitchell also showed plenty of flash before he went down with an elbow injury in the preseason opener against the Saints.

3. Most Dramatic Moment: Julian Edelman leaving practice — On Aug. 9 in a joint practice with the Saints, the receiver was enjoying a great start to the workout before he tossed his helmet in disgust and wandered over to a medical cart with what appeared to be some sort of left foot or ankle issue. He stood talking with a trainer for a stretch before leaving the field. For a guy who has had left foot issues over the last year-plus, the idea of Edelman going down again was a ghastly thought. By now you know that the story has a happy ending — he’s return to what appears to be full strength. For what it’s worth, Edelman was absolutely electric when he was on the field this summer. The cuts he was making when facing opposing defensive backs were ridiculous. (The injuries to Gronkowski and Rob Ninkovich were a close second, but neither were as overly dramatic as Edelman’s departure.)

4. Biggest Surprise: Tom Brady sitting out the Bears game — Pretty much everyone, including Bill Belichick, said that the veteran was going to be playing against Chicago, even if it was just for a few snaps. And so when the quarterbacks rolled onto the field Thursday for warmups with no Jay-Z and no Brady, it was a big surprise. Everyone knows the thumb story by now, and while anyone who knows the truth about what might have happened isn’t talking, we do know that Belichick relishes the chance to throw a curveball at his team in the preseason on a fairly regular basis. Jimmy Garoppolo faced the curveball, and while he didn’t hit it out the park, the way he responded was certainly positive. “You have to be ready for anything, at any time. (“That’s part of football,” Belichick shrugged after the game. “Things happen that are unexpected.”) If there was ever a circumstance that fit the definition, it was what happened last Thursday.

5. Biggest Disappointment: Bryan Stork — Hard to find a higher profile guy who had a camp like Stork. The center struggled to stay on the field because of injury, one of the reasons he’s No. 2 on the depth chart right now to David Andrews. That, compounded with an inability to keep his cool in a recent throwdown with a Chicago defensive lineman, have him in a fight for a roster spot. New offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper hasn’t been spotted on the field for almost two weeks. Third place goes to the disappointing performance of the New England media against the New Orleans media.

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Brandon Spikes: I tried to help Aaron Hernandez change his life

08.20.16 at 11:23 am ET
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Brandon Spikes was a teammate of Aaron Hernandez in college and the NFL.  (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Brandon Spikes was a teammate of Aaron Hernandez in college and the NFL. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Brandon Spikes and Aaron Hernandez were teammates at the University of Florida and with the Patriots. And despite the fact that Hernandez is now behind bars after being found guilty for the killing of Odin Lloyd, Spikes still considers him a friend.

In a recent interview with’s Matthew Fairburn, Spikes — now with the Bills — discussed his relationship with Hernandez, and how he tried to help put him on the right path.

“I’m not going to turn my back on Aaron Hernandez,” Spikes said. “I see his situation. You know, we use to talk about this all the time. Like, ‘Hey, change your life, you’ve got the wrong people around you.’ I know that because of my older brother. I watched him keep these people around. Look where it got him. It’s like, ‘Don’t be that guy.’”

Spikes compared Hernandez to his own brother, Breyon Middlebrooks, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2003 after being found guilty of murder.

“I can’t really feel sorry for you, because you knew!” Spikes said. “How else can it end? You can change them? Nah, I mean, they don’t have anything to lose. You have everything to lose. I just think about that. We still talk and he’s in a good place mentally. That was necessary for him. Whatever it may be, even though it’s a bad situation. Some people might look at that as a bad situation. But you never know. He’s alive, but it was necessary.”

He added: “It’s like my brother. He’s behind bars, that was part of his cause. You can’t change that. They know. They know how to live right and do the right thing.”

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Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Spikes,

Bill Belichick doesn’t change on Tom Brady: ‘I made the decision. I don’t really have anything else to add’

08.19.16 at 4:52 pm ET
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Bill Belichick said he made the decision not to play Tom Brady vs. Bears. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Bill Belichick said he made the decision not to play Tom Brady vs. Bears. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Nearly 24 hours later, Bill Belichick isn’t changing his approach on the way the Tom Brady matter was held before Thursday’s preseason game with the Bears.

About 60 minutes before Thursday’s game, Belichick told the team’s pregame radio broadcast that the quarterback would be making his preseason debut and that “all three” quarterback would see playing against Chicago. Then, during warmups, only Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett appeared. Brady had left the building with what was reported as a scissors cut to his thumb.

After the game, Belichick did not acknowledge the report of Brady cutting his finger with scissors before the game. He only said that he “made a decision before the game to play just Jimmy and Jacoby.”

On Friday, he reiterated that position during his traditional day-after conference call with reporters.

“As I said [after the game], I made the decision. I don’t really have anything else to add,” Belichick said at the end of the call.

After warmups, Brady was spotted leaving the Gillette Stadium facility in street clothes. Garoppolo started the game and Brady missed his second straight game.

Belichick would only address the story as it pertained to how Garoppolo, (16-for-21 for 181 yards and a touchdown pass to AJ Debry) handled himself filling in at the last moment.

“That’s part of football,” Belichick said. “Things happen that are unexpected and he’s been prepared for that the day he got here. I think all of our players are. Sometimes things happen and they change and you have to adjust to them. On offense and for the quarterbacks, we refer to that as an audible.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Chicago Bears, Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots

Michael Lombardi on D&C: Patriots don’t have to trade Jimmy Garoppolo after this season

08.19.16 at 11:36 am ET
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Michael Lombardi said the Patriots don't need to trade Jimmy Garoppolo after the season. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

Michael Lombardi said the Patriots don’t need to trade Jimmy Garoppolo after the season. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

Former Patriots executive and current Fox NFL analyst Michael Lombardi joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to talk all things Patriots, especially Jimmy Garoppolo. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Lombardi felt Garoppolo looked good Thursday night in his second preseason game against the Bears where he went 16-for-21 with 181 yards and a touchdown.

“I think he looked like he was making progress,” Lombardi said. “He only had five incompletions. He threw a couple of balls he would like to have back that the Bears had the opportunity to intercept, but they didn’t make the play on. It’s a growing process for Jimmy. Jimmy has to get comfortable and there is going to be an evolution of the offense around Jimmy. It’s not going to be the Tom Brady offense because only Tom Brady is going to run that offense. Jimmy Garoppolo is going to run an offense that suits his skill set.

“That’s what makes the Patriots so successful, is to be able to take what a player can do an utilize their skill set at the best they can. I think Jimmy will do that. Jimmy is going to keep getting better and better as the year goes along. I think he was very confident last night. You could see when the ball is in his hands and he knows where he’s going with the football, he’s very confident and a quick-decison thinker.”

Garoppolo will start the first four games and if he plays well, many feel the Patriots will trade him after the season as he still has one year left on his rookie deal and Brady is signed through 2019. Lombardi doesn’t think that is a guarantee because of how valuable quarterbacks are in the NFL.

“I don’t think they have to do anything,” he said. “Certainly there will be a lot of offers for Jimmy if that situation plays out the way you described it. Quarterbacks are the most important thing to have in football. There are franchises all over that don’t have one and are searching for one. If you happen to have two good ones, you better keep them and find a way to keep them. I think that is the secret to the Patriots.

“If Jimmy has a chance to be really good, and he can be who everyone in the building thinks he can be, they need to keep him because Tom is 39 years old, he’s not going to play until he’s 50. You have to have a quarterback and they have spent a lot of time developing Jimmy and a lot of time working on him. I would be very cognizant of that and I wouldn’t rush to judgment on that.”

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Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Michael Lombardi, Tom Brady,

How Patriots’ offensive line combinations looked vs. Bears

08.19.16 at 10:42 am ET
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The offensive line looked better against the Bears than they did against the Saints. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

The offensive line looked better against the Bears than they did against the Saints. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — One of the most open positions on the team at this point in the preseason is the offensive line, especially on the interior.

Overall, it was a much better showing than the first preseason game against the Saints as Thursday the offense was able to rack up 114 yards on the ground.

“It’s always a nice feeling when you walk away feeling good from the game, no bumps or bruises or anything and you owe that to those guys up front,” Jimmy Garoppolo said. “Running backs and tight ends included, they all blocked really well for me tonight. It’s always a nice feeling having that.”

Here is how they looked on each drive (left-to-right) in Thursday’s second preseason game against the Bears.

1. Nate Solder-Joe Thuney-David Andrews-Josh Kline-Marcus Cannon
2. Solder-Thuney-Andrews-Kline-Cannon
3. Solder-Thuney-Bryan Stork-Kline-Cannon
4. Solder-Thuney-Stork-Kline-Cannon
5. Solder-Thuney-Andrews-Kline-Cannon
6. Solder-Thuney-Stork-Kline-Cannon
*Jimmy Garoppolo out*
7. LaAdrian Waddle-Chris Barker-Ted Karras-Jon Halapio-Cameron Fleming
8. Fleming-Barker-Karras-Halapio-Keavon Milton
9. Fleming-Barker-Karras-Halapio Milton
10. Fleming-Barker-Karras-Halapio Milton

ANALYSIS: The biggest surprise of the game was offensive guard Shaq Mason not dressing, which comes after he was a full participant in practice all week, including Wednesday’s walkthrough. Kline took his place and had an up-and-down game, really struggling along the goal line. … As a group they struggled early on, but picked it up as the game went along and made some big holes for LeGarrette Blount and Tyler Gaffney to run through. … Once again Andrews started over Stork. It’s unclear why they brought Andrews back after Stork’s second series, but they each finished with three drives apiece. It’s worth noting Andrews was in there for the touchdown drive. … Thuney started at left guard once again and it appears that will be the case Week 1 in Arizona. … If Sebastian Vollmer (PUP) isn’t ready for Week 1, it looks like Cannon would get the nod at right tackle.

Read More: Bryan Stork, David Andrews, Shaq Mason,
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