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Report: BC’s Mark Herzlich will forgo UFL for shot at NFL

05.09.11 at 1:41 pm ET
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Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich will bypass an opportunity to play in the United Football League for a chance to sign as an undrafted free agent in the NFL. According to Peter King of Sports Illustrated, Herzlich tweeted him on Sunday that he would not join the UFL’€™s Omaha Nighthawks (who took him 51st overall in the UFL draft last week), but instead take his chances with the NFL and hope that the lockout ends sooner rather than later.

Herzlich, the 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, was not selected in last month’€™s NFL draft. Despite that, his story remains an inspiration to many, as he overcame Ewing’€™s sarcoma in his left leg ‘€” he had a titanium rod placed in the leg ‘€” and returned to play for BC in 2010. However, by his own admission, he wasn’€™t the same player he was before he was forced to sit out a year, which likely caused the draft weekend slide.

Read More: Mark Herzlich,

Pats legend Mack Herron arrested on drug charge

05.09.11 at 7:59 am ET
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Mack Herron, the undersized running back who starred for the Patriots in the mid-1970s, was arrested and charged with heroin possession in Chicago. Police said they saw Herron on Friday with a packet that contained heroin.

Prosecutors said in court Saturday that Herron, 62, has been arrested dozens of times and has at least seven felony convictions. He was held in jail on $25,000 bail.

Herron, nicknamed “Mini Mack” because he stood 5-foot-5, joined the Patriots in 1973 after starring in the Canadian Football League following his college career at Kansas State. In 1974, he set an NFL record with 2,444 all-purpose yards. He spent three seasons in New England before joining the Falcons for one season.

But troubles with drugs led to problems for Herron, who in 1978 was sentenced to five years in prison on cocaine trafficking charges. He received at least two other prison sentences in the 2000s.

In a story in the Chicago Sun-Times, Herron’s family members said they thought he had moved past his drug problems, calling him a devout Muslim who does not drink or smoke.

Read More: Mack Herron,

Free Agent Snaphot: Jason Babin

05.08.11 at 11:22 pm ET
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Despite the labor uncertainty, will present a list of 10 possible fits for the Patriots in free agency (under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement) this offseason.

Jason Babin
Position: Defensive end
Age: 30 (will turn 31 on May 24)
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 260

While the two previous possibilities we detailed in this space ‘€” Matt Roth and Cullen Jenkins ‘€” weren’€™t particularly known as pure pass rushers, Babin will likely be the best pure pass rusher available when free agency begins this offseason. This Western Michigan journeyman ‘€” he’€™s played for five teams in six years ‘€” figures to cash in after a 2010 season with Tennessee where he collected 12.5 sacks, a career-best. (He went to his first Pro Bowl as a result.) For what it’€™s worth, he seems to have come to terms with the idea that the Titans aren’€™t going to re-sign him, telling reporters, ‘€œThey told my agent they are letting me go to free agency and passing on the opportunity to sign me to a long-term deal.’€

He’€™s an interesting prospect for New England to consider: Houston’s first-round pick from 2004 can clearly get after the passer ‘€” he is a speedy end with an extraordinarily high motor ‘€” but he’€™s not a power guy, and his greatest success has come in 4-3 schemes. And while he is one of the best in the league the last couple of seasons when it comes to sacks, in the past, he has had problems when it comes to setting the edge and providing run support.

But no matter what you think of him, it’€™s clear Babin has had an eventful offseason: He’€™s threatened to take his talents to the UFL or the CFL if no labor agreement is reached. In addition, he’€™s reportedly started mixed martial arts training, and has an eye toward participating in an MMA event sometime this offseason, according to the Tennessean. In March, he said he had a bear-hunting expedition planned for this spring. And this past week, he was named No. 85 on the NFL Network’s presentation of “The Top 100 Players of 2011.”

Why it might not work: As stated, Babin, who will be 31 before the start of the 2011 season, has enjoyed his greatest success in 4-3 defensive sets, and has struggled in 3-4 schemes. Barring a change of New England’€™s base 3-4 defense, the marriage of Babin and the Patriots might not work. In addition, like Jenkins, Babin had his best season entering free agency ‘€” he will likely command one of the heftiest contracts across the league as a result. Despite his  2010 production, on paper, it doesn’€™t appear to be the most cost-effective move for New England to pursue Babin.

Read More: Cullen Jenkins, free agent snapshot, Jason Babin, Matt Roth

Free Agent Snapshot: Cullen Jenkins

05.08.11 at 12:34 am ET
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Despite the labor uncertainty, will continue present a list of 10 possible fits for the Patriots in free agency (under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement) this offseason.

Cullen Jenkins
Position: Defensive end/defensive tackle
Age: 30
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 305

Like Matt Roth ‘€” another free-agent possibility for the Patriots who was discussed in this space yesterday ‘€” the little brother of defensive tackle Kris Jenkins is not a particularly overwhelming pass rusher, but is the sort of defender who is a veteran of the 3-4. He has 29 career sacks in seven seasons, including a career-best seven last season.

In addition, after seven years in Green Bay, the Central Michigan product is ready to move on ‘€” he told earlier this month that he would have taken a hometown discount to return to the Packers, but that ship has sailed, saying, ‘€œI know how they handle business, and the thought was if we could get something reasonable worked out, I knew I would take less than what I could’€™ve gotten in free agency. But they never approached me with anything and never got any type of negotiations going. It’€™s just how the business is. They had a lot of younger guys and felt they could move forward in that direction.’€

Why it might not work: He’€™s been slowed by some nagging injuries the last few years ‘€” he missed five games last season with a bad hamstring and broken hand. In addition, he missed 12 games in 2008 with a torn pectoral muscle. (Of course, despite all of that, he had career-best numbers last year, so that might not matter a whole lot in the long run.) He is 30 years old, and going long-term for a player at that age might be something of a dicey situation. And if the old rules apply, Jenkins figures to be one of the pricier pickups in free agency. He had a career-best year this past season with the Super Bowl champs ‘€” his stock will never be higher than it is right now. Probably not an ideal time to invest.

Read More: Cullen Jenkins, free agent snapshot, Matt Roth,

Free Agent Snapshot: Matt Roth

05.07.11 at 12:31 am ET
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Despite the labor uncertainty, over the course of the offseason, will present a list of 10 possible fits for the Patriots in free agency under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Matt Roth
Position: OLB/DE
Age: 28
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 275

The Browns are moving to a 4-3 under new coach Dick Jauron, which means this veteran of the 3-4 will be looking to test the free agent market. Roth is not an overwhelming threat as a pass rusher ‘€” he’€™s posted 20 career sacks in seven seasons in the NFL, including a combined 7.5 the last two years in Cleveland ‘€” but is an excellent complimentary piece who could provide depth outside and provide support in the run game.

Since college, Roth has played almost exclusively for former Bill Belichick lieutenants: as a collegian, he was with Kirk Ferentz at Iowa. In the pros, he’€™s also had stints with in Nick Saban (Miami) and Eric Mangini (Cleveland), which would likely mean an easy transition into the New England system. He would be a relatively inexpensive sign. And he certainly fits the body type the Patriots require when it comes to finding someone who could set the edge in the run game and provide a spark to the pass rush.

Why it might not work: Roth is a bit of a wild card. He ran afoul of Bill Parcells in Miami ‘€” skipping ‘€œvoluntary’€ spring practices with the Dolphins because he was unhappy with his contract ‘€” which eventually got him released. While he’€™s generally considered a good locker room presence, he is also known as something of a glib personality, which might not play well in Foxboro. Of course, if he comes to New England and provides a spark for the pass rush, that’€™s the sort of thing that can be excused.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, Dick Jauron, Eric Mangini

Don’t look for Randy Moss to re-sign with Tennessee, says the Titans GM

05.06.11 at 11:45 pm ET
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Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt threw cold water on the suggestion that Tennessee would try and re-sign former Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss for the 2011 season on Friday, saying that, ‘€œI think at this point in his career, he will probably go elsewhere.’€

According to The Tennessean, Reinfeldt, while speaking on a conference call with season-ticket holders, made it clear the Titans would be heading in a different direction.

‘€œI honestly don’€™t think we’€™ll try to re-sign him,’€ Reinfeldt said of the 34-year-old Moss. ‘€œWe’€™ve got some young guys we like, and I think at this point in his career he will probably go elsewhere.’€

After starting the 2010 season with the Patriots, he was traded to Minnesota, who subsequently released him. Moss was then picked up by Tennessee, where he wasn’€™t much of an impact player at all, playing in eight games with the Titans and catching just five passes for 54 yards and zero touchdowns.

In March, Minnesota’€™s KFAN Radio asked Moss about the possibility of returning to the Vikings for the 2011 season. Instead, the occasionally controversial wide receiver said he would actually prefer to return to New England, where he played for three-plus years.

‘€œI would entertain coming back to Minnesota, but if you ask me where my heart is, I think just the success as a wide receiver and everything that the New England Patriots stand for ‘€¦ I’€™m a big fan of Bill Belichick. I really am,’€ said Moss, who was acquired by the Patriots prior to the 2007 season.

‘€œAnd not just on the field. I’€™m a fan of his off the field, because the little grouchy man you see on camera is not what you see off camera. I’€™ve grown and I’€™ve started to respect the game, first and foremost. But if you’€™re asking me where my heart is and I’€™m happiest, I love playing with Tom Brady, I love being coached by Bill Belichick.’€

Read More: Bill Belichick, Mike Reinfeldt, Randy Moss, Tom Brady

No ruling on stay from court, which means NFL doors will stay locked at least through the weekend

05.06.11 at 6:20 pm ET
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Our friend Albert Breer of the NFL Network is reporting that as of Friday at 6 p.m., the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis had closed for the week, which means there will be no ruling regarding the stay in the case of the NFL owners and players this week.

It was initially believed that there would be some sort of decision forthcoming this week regarding whether or not the lockout would stay in place until the hearing between the two sides, which is scheduled for the same court on June 3. But no word from the court means that the doors throughout the league will stay locked to the players, at least through the weekend.

The lockout, which has been on again and off again for approximately eight weeks, is the first work stoppage in the NFL since 1987.

Read More: Albert Breer, lockout,
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