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Al Michaels on his call at end of Super Bowl XLIX: ‘I reacted like a fan’

05.18.16 at 3:08 pm ET
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Al Michaels stopped by “The Dan Patrick Show” on Wednesday and talked about a handful of topics, including his call of Malcolm Butler’s interception of Russell Wilson at the end of Super Bowl XLIX. In that one, he said he reacted to the end of the game “like a fan,” and added that he was lucky enough to have been able to recall Butler’s name quickly because the cornerback was involved in a big play only moments before.

Michaels also recalled the infamous decision to throw the ball instead of handing it to Marshawn Lynch.

“It wasn’t so much that Wilson threw it, but the actual play itself — over the middle,” recalled Michaels. “In retrospect, you go back to, ‘Russell Wilson, mobile. He could run it into the end zone himself. Get him out on the edge (and) have him throw it to the corner of the end zone.’ If it’s incomplete, it stops the clock and you still have two more plays. I wasn’t of a mind that said Lynch had to carry the ball. No. I understood maybe throwing it. But not throwing it over the middle to (Ricardo) Lockett.”

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Per Mike Francesa, Adam Vinatieri was almost released by Bill Parcells in 1996

05.18.16 at 2:32 pm ET
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Adam Vinatieri was almost cut by the Patriots as a rookie. (Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

Adam Vinatieri was almost cut by the Patriots as a rookie. (Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

Adam Vinatieri’s career with the Patriots was defined by a series of clutch kicks which allowed him to grab the mantle of best big-game kicker of his generation.

But his time in New England was almost over before it began. In an interview with Bill Simmons earlier this week, Mike Francesa, a longtime friend of former Patriots’ coach Bill Parcells, said that Parcells came close to releasing the kicker when he was a rookie in 1996.

In a 17-10 loss to Buffalo in Week 2, Vinatieri missed three field goals (45, 25 and 46 yards). The following week against Arizona, he missed a 47-yard field-goal attempt in the third quarter, as well as an extra point. Late in that game with the Patriots leading 28-0, Parcells sent Vinatieri back onto the field for a 31-yard field goal attempt. According to Francesa — who told the story on his radio show — Vinatieri’s job was at stake when he returned to the field.

“I’ve had it with that kicker,” Parcells said, according to Francesa. “If he had missed it, I would have cut him.

“I told him, ‘You better make this kick’ before I sent him out there. And he made the kick, and he gained confidence little by little. And look who he became.”

Vinatieri eventually became a key part of three Super Bowl teams with the Patriots, and another with the Colts. At 43, he’s currently the oldest player in the league.

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Patriots over/under for 2016 regular season wins set at 10.5 by Bovada

05.18.16 at 1:10 pm ET
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The over/under on the Patriots’ win total for 2016 has been set at 10.5, according to Bovada.

New England is one of five teams that top out at 10.5 wins. It’s a group that includes Carolina, Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Seattle. Six teams are listed at 9.5, including Arizona, Cincinnati, Dallas, Indy, Kansas City and Minnesota.

The defending Super Bowl champion Broncos, thought to be the Patriots’ primary rival for AFC supremacy in 2016, are slotted at 9 wins.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Niners and Titans are both at 5.5, while the Browns are 4.5.

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Kevin Faulk named 2016 Patriots Hall of Famer

05.18.16 at 11:23 am ET
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Kevin Faulk is the newest member of the Patriots Hall of Fame. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Kevin Faulk is the newest member of the Patriots Hall of Fame. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Patriots announced Wednesday that Kevin Faulk has been voted by the fans as the 25th entrant into the Patriots Hall of Fame.

Faulk joins Troy Brown (2012) and Tedy Bruschi (2013) as the third player to enter The Hall as a career Patriot with three Super Bowl rings. He is also just the fifth player to be selected by the fans into the Patriots Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility, joining Drew Bledsoe (2011), Brown, Bruschi and Ty Law (2014).

Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft issued a statement, calling Faulk a “selfless and tireless contributor” to three Super Bowl champions.

“Kevin Faulk helped deliver three Super Bowl championships and redefined the way an entire generation of Patriots fans celebrated football in New England,” said Kraft. “Despite entering the NFL as the second-leading rusher in SEC history, he arrived in New England without ego or pretense. He was a selfless and tireless contributor to the team, accepting every challenge and excelling in many roles throughout his 13-year career. His work ethic, enthusiasm for the game and clutch performances, especially on third down, earned him the respect of his coaches, teammates and fans alike. For all his contributions and memorable moments on the field, some of my fondest memories were of Kevin’s contributions off the field. He earned our Ron Burton Community Service award in 2009 and often involved his family in his volunteer work, teaching his children the values of giving back.”

Faulk’s induction ceremony will be held on Monday, Aug. 1 on the NRG Plaza outside The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon. The outdoor hall of fame ceremony is free and open to the public. Fans of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. In addition, Faulk will be honored with a halftime ceremony at the Patriots’ 2016 home opener against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Sept. 18.

Faulk retired as the franchise’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards (12,349) return yards (5,041) and kick return yards (4,098). A three-time Super Bowl champion, the LSU product played his entire career with the Patriots (13 seasons), and helped New England claim nine division titles, five conference crowns and three Super Bowl championships. A versatile presence out of the backfield over the course of his career, the 5-foot-8, 202-pounder rushed for 3,607 yards and 16 touchdowns, and added 431 receptions for 3,701 yards and 15 touchdowns.

While Faulk was a fan favorite, it’s likely he took that to a new level earlier this spring when he wore a Tom Brady jersey to the NFL draft.

“It was a move that wasn’t about me,” Faulk said of the decision to show support for the embattled quarterback. “It was a move in support of my brother. We’ve been together for a long time, and it was a way for me to show support for Tom.”

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Markus Kuhn ‘loving’ life with the Patriots and fellow German Sebastian Vollmer

05.18.16 at 10:42 am ET
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Markus Kuhn speaks to reporters Tuesday at Gillette Stadium (Mike Petraglia/

Markus Kuhn speaks to reporters Tuesday at Gillette Stadium (Mike Petraglia/

FOXBORO — Markus Kuhn feels like one lucky guy.

The 6-foot-4, 300-pound defensive lineman not only landed on his feet after signing a one-year deal with the Patriots. It’s a low-risk deal for the Pats, who liked enough of what they saw from the German in his four previous years with the Giants to add him to the roster for depth.

He has a base salary of $760,000 with a signing bonus of $140,000. What’s was the first thing on his mind when he signed with the Patriots?

“Championship. That’s the first thing,” Kuhn said without hesitating.

Kuhn, who was a seventh round pick of the Giants in 2012 out of North Carolina State, is also reunited with another German native in Sebastian Vollmer. But it wasn’t Vollmer that inspired Kuhn to sign in Foxboro.

“Honestly, before I signed here, really not much,” Kuhn said at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday. “It was more like primarily when I came here he reached out to me right away. We saw each other a few times in preseason games. We’d talk just because we’re both German, which is special in this league, but other than that, when I first came here, we went to dinner and just hung out, talked, and he told me a little bit about this place here and yeah, I’ve loved it.”

Kuhn is looking forward to the start of OTAs next week and getting on the field and showing he has what it takes to make the roster.

“[I’m] loving it. [It’s a] great organization,” Kuhn said. “Just to come here and be a part of this right now, really exciting for me of course.

What did lead him to sign in New England?

“It was just for me, if you have an opportunity to play for an organization like this with a team and everything around it, it was not really much to think for me if I would come here or not,” Kuhn said. “I loved the opportunity. I was excited I was able to come here and that’s why I grabbed it and ran with it.”

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It Is What It Is Podcast: Chris Price talks to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network about Patriots offseason, Tom Brady, Deflategate, and rest of AFC

05.18.16 at 9:06 am ET
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In the latest edition of the It Is What It Is podcast, Chris Price talks with Ian Rapoport of NFL Media about the Patriots offseason, the major questions facing the team going forward, the health of receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola and the mindset of quarterback Tom Brady as he continues to fight Deflategate.

Report: Former Patriots DL Dominique Easley signs 1-year deal with Rams

05.17.16 at 8:47 pm ET
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Dominique Easley

Dominique Easley

Dominique Easley has found a home.

About a month after being released by the Patriots, the defensive lineman reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Rams on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

He was selected in the first round by the Patriots in the 2014 draft, but finished on injured reserve each of the last two seasons.

Easley now gives the Rams five former first-round picks on the defensive line as he joins Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, Robert Quinn and Quinton Coples.

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