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Julian Edelman talks about Super Bowl win, his lucky beard and support from his family on ‘Live with Kelly and Michael’

02.10.15 at 1:47 pm ET
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The post-Super Bowl tour continues for Julian Edelman. In just over a week, the receiver has gone from Glendale to Disneyland to the top of a duckboat riding through the streets of Boston to the Grammy Awards. On Tuesday, he was a guest on “Live with Kelly and Michael,” where he talked about a bunch of stuff, including his lucky beard.

Read More: Julian Edelman, Kelly Ripa, Michael Strahan,

LeGarrette Blount: ‘No doubt in my mind’ Seahawks were going to Marshawn Lynch at end of Super Bowl XLIX

02.10.15 at 1:14 pm ET
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Like everyone else, LeGarrette Blount was shocked the Seahawks didn't give the ball to Marshawn Lynch at the end of Super Bowl XLIX. (Getty Images)

Like everyone else, LeGarrette Blount was shocked the Seahawks didn’t give the ball to Marshawn Lynch at the end of Super Bowl XLIX. (Getty Images)

The Patriots continue to make the rounds on their post-Super Bowl tour. On Tuesday morning, it was running back LeGarrette Blount sitting down with the crew from “NFL AM” on NFL Network. Here’s a quick look at what he said.

On what made him want to get out of Pittsburgh:

“It wasn’t the fact that I necessarily wanted to get out or I didn’t like it there. Things didn’t work out as planned.”

On what happened with the Steelers:

“It just didn’t work out. I wanted the ball more — I didn’t get the ball more. So we decided to go our separate ways.”

On if he feels he is unjustly viewed in a negative way:

“Yeah. It sucks too because like you said, a lot people know me personally in this league; Prime [Deion Sanders], all my ex-teammates. A lot of guys know me personally and they know what kind of person I am. I get along with everybody. I don’t have any beef with anybody. I got a bad rap coming out of college and it stuck with me.”

On if he thought the Seattle Seahawks were going to give the ball to Marshawn Lynch:

“I knew they were giving it to Lynch. There was no doubt in my mind that they were going to give it to Marshawn. I feel like our defense kind of felt the same way, so I felt like if they did give it to him we were going to stop him.”

On playing against the Seahawks defense:

“They’re good. Not to take anything away from them, they’re a really good defense. But like I said, I’m not afraid to run the football against anybody. I’m a big running back, I’m a big physical guy. … Before we got down, I feel like I had some really good runs; I had some nice positive runs out there, some nice physical downhill runs. They had a couple of guys that were down and that were injured; [Richard] Sherman was hurt pretty much, Kam Chancellor was hurt, Earl Thomas was hurt. I want to go out and dish out punishment to those guys too.”

On Trent Richardson:

“He’s still a young buck. He’s still young. I feel like he’s a real good running back still too. I feel like he’ll sooner or later figure it out, but I feel like when I watch him play I just think he has to be just a little bit more decisive. He’s a bigger kid than what most people think and he’s strong; you look at his legs, just look at how he’s built. As long as he just finds that little crease and knows that this is not Alabama and you don’t have the big open holes like you had at Alabama and you find those little creases and you get downhill and you get into them, he’ll be a problem on the second and third level for a lot of teams.”

On Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin:

“I know they’re both Super Bowl-winning coaches, but one coach has won a few more than the other. I like Mike T. I connected with him real well. Before I signed there, I connected with him real well. When I was coming out in the draft, I talked to him and while I was there I connected with him real well. I like him a lot. But Bill [Belichick], just like a running back my size is a different breed of athlete for the running back position, Bill is a different breed of coach in that position.”

For complete video of the appearance, click here. And for more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: LeGarrette Blount, Marshawn Lynch,

Free Agent Snapshot: Hakeem Nicks

02.10.15 at 11:58 am ET
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Logan Ryan makes a play on Hakeem Nicks in the AFC championship game. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Logan Ryan makes a play on Hakeem Nicks in the AFC championship game. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

When free agency begins in early March, there are a handful of players across the league who could appeal to New England. With the understanding that the status of these players could change because of the franchise or transition tag, here are a few possibilities for the Patriots to consider. We have to stress that all of these guys aren’€™€™t necessarily considered the elite of the free agent class — instead, they’€™€™re players we think would be a good fit in New England. We already featured C.J. Spiller, and this series will continue over the coming days and weeks.

Hakeem Nicks
Position: Wide receiver
Age: 27 (Jan. 14, 1988)
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 208 pounds

The skinny: Nicks is coming off a disappointing and underachieving season in Indianapolis, where he signed a one-year, $5.5 million free agent contract last March. Since his breakout seasons of 2010 and ’11, Nicks has fallen off the map in terms of production. In 2010, just his second season, he had 79 catches for 1,052 yards and 11 touchdowns. The next season, he was a key part of Giants Super Bowl championship run, hauling in 76 catches for a career high 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns. It was that production that opened the door for Victor Cruz to break onto the season for the Giants. But in the three seasons since then, Nicks has a total of seven touchdowns and hasn’t broken the 900-yard plateau.

By the numbers: In the Week 17 game against the Titans, Nicks had 3 receptions for 46 yards, putting him over 5,000 receiving yards for his career. But he finished his first season in Indy with just 38 catches for 408 yards and four touchdowns. In his last three seasons, Nicks has managed yardage seasons of 692, 896 and 405 respectively.

Why it would work: Nicks could be a viable and relatively cheap option to bring into camp to push Aaron Dobson and Brian Tyms and add depth to the receiving corps. Nicks could be looking for that one bust-out season to show that 2010 and ’11 were not just flashes in the pan. He is playing for one more big contract. He also could be very well motivated to work with Tom Brady (who wouldn’t be?) as Brady aims for a record fifth Super Bowl title. Bill Belichick knows Nicks’ game very well from preparing for him twice in 2011, including the Super Bowl against the Giants, and twice last season against the Colts, including the AFC championship. Nicks caught 10 passes for 109 yards in Super Bowl XLVI and had a nice touchdown pass on a fade route against the Patriots in the November meeting. Belichick knows you can’t have enough veteran savvy players and Nicks certainly qualifies as both. He is considered a very intelligent player who is capable of making adjustments in-game and in-route. That is a must with Tom Brady. Nicks also has a history of posting huge games: 12 catches vs. Houston, Oct. 10, 2010 and 199 receiving yards vs. Tampa Bay, Sept. 16, 2012 and three touchdowns against Carolina, Sept. 12, 2010.

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Read More: 2015 Free Agent Snapshot, Hakeem Nicks, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots

Patriots position-by-position breakdown: Running back

02.10.15 at 9:00 am ET
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Shane Vereen led the Patriots in offensive touches for the 2014 regular season. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Shane Vereen led the Patriots in offensive touches for the 2014 regular season. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

With the Patriots done for the season, we’ve got an end-of-the-year position-by-position breakdown of where the Patriots stand. We kicked off the series with a look at the special teams and wide receivers. Now, it’s the running backs.

Depth chart: Shane Vereen (96 carries, 391 rushing yards, 2 TDs; 52 catches, 447 receiving yards, 3 TDs), Stevan Ridley (94 carries, 340 yards, 2 TDs), Jonas Gray (89 carries, 412 yards, 5 TDs), LeGarrette Blount (60 carries, 281 yards, 3 TDs), Brandon Bolden (28 carries, 89 yards, 1 TD), James White (9 carries, 38 yards), James Develin (3 carries, 5 yards)

Overview: The only thing constant is change, and that has pretty much been the case with the New England ground game over the last decade. Bill Belichick and the Patriots are big believers in the plug and play system, and while there are occasional misfires (like spending a first-round pick on Laurence Maroney in 2006), there are few high-level teams who get so much out of so many different backs. There’s a reason why Belichick has never had a single back go for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons while working as a head coach, dating all the way back to Cleveland.

In 2014, the Patriots became the first Super Bowl winner since the 1987 Redskins to have four different running backs finish with 40 carries or more in their championship season. Part of that was due to injury (Ridley would have likely been the lead back for the bulk of the season if he hadn’t gone with a season-ending knee injury in October) and part of it was personnel (Gray pretty much fell off the face of the earth after his alarm clock failed to go off and he overslept less than a week after landing on the cover of Sports Illustrated). But they were able to exhaust a number of different options in their pursuit of a steady and consistent ground attack.

Overall, the Patriots ran the ball just enough to keep opposing defenses honest (107.9 yards per game, 18th in the league) and keep the thought of play-action in the back of the minds of opposing defenses. That includes Vereen, an elite third-down option who was one of five running backs to finish the season with at least 50 catches and 50 carries, as well as Blount, who returned midway through the season after torches each of the bridges on the way out of Pittsburgh to average 4.4 yards per carry and six touchdowns down the stretch and into the postseason for New England.

Going forward, there will inevitably be more change — both Ridley and Vereen are set to hit the market as free agents. But even if one or both leave, the Patriots figure to utilize the old plug-and-play approach, as Blount, Bolden, Gray and White are all already under contract for 2015. In addition, Develin is an exclusive rights free agent, which means he’ll be back as well. And Tyler Gaffney, who was claimed off waivers last summer by the Patriots, spent the entire year on the shelf because of a knee injury — he rushed for an astounding 1,709 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior at Stanford in 2013. In the end, it should make for an interesting offseason in New England.

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Read More: Brandon Bolden, James Develin, James White, Jonas Gray

Jonas Gray: Seahawks calling pass play at end of Super Bowl XLIX wasn’t bad call

02.10.15 at 7:37 am ET
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Jonas Gray

Jonas Gray

Patriots running back Jonas Gray was inactive for Super Bowl XLIX, but he joined the Dan Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio on Monday to talk about the Super Bowl and his season, as well as to promote an upcoming comedy gig at Kowloon’s on Route 1 in Saugus.

Gray was on the sidelines for the big game despite being inactive and said he didn’t have an issue with the Seahawks passing the ball, instead of handing it off to star back Marshawn Lynch in the closing seconds of the game.

“I didn’t, and here’s why,” Gray told Le Batard. “The two previous plays [for touchdowns], they had a wide-open Doug Baldwin in the back of the end zone, and they did a one-on-one jump ball with [Chris] Matthews. I thought if they would have ran the ball and scored right away, it would give Tom [Brady] the ball with [two] timeouts. I was thinking they’d probably try to make a quick pass. I didn’t think run.”

“I don’t necessarily think that was a bad call,” he added.

Gray was late for practice the week after rushing for over 200 yards against the Colts, and although he was active for the next game, he didn’t receive any carries. Le Batard brought up how Darrelle Revis missed a practice earlier in the year, and although he was sent home, Revis didn’t miss any game snaps.

“I couldn’t let it bother me,” Gray said. “I looked at it as working on my craft every day, doing everything I needed to do, going through experiences like that becoming a better pro. A lot of it probably had to do with Darrelle is a veteran in this league, he’s been doing it for a long time. I think it was one of those things where Bill had a lot of trust in him. I don’t think Bill looked at it as I did this for Revis, I’m going to do this for Jonas. It was kind of individually he had to make a decision that he thought was best for the team.”

The 24-year-old Notre Dame product finished the year with 412 rushing yards and five touchdowns in eight regular-season games, highlighted by his 201-yard, four touchdown performance against the Colts. He was active for the AFC championship game, but didn’t get into the game until the fourth quarter, finishing with four yards on four carries.

“I had my ups and downs,” Gray said of his season. “I had some games where I played well since then. It was one of those things where I had a little issue with team rules, Bill had to make a decision that was best for the team, and sometimes our game-plan works anyway. You never know which running back is going to shine on which day. I think that’s just kind of the nature of the beast of the NFL, and also the nature of the beast of having a championship team.”

Read More: Darrelle Revis, Jonas Gray, Super Bowl XLIX,

Shane Vereen, LeGarrette Blount talk about finish of Super Bowl XLIX

02.09.15 at 9:49 pm ET
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LeGarrette Blount and Shane Vereen both talked with NFL Network on Monday. (Else/Getty Images)

LeGarrette Blount and Shane Vereen both talked with NFL Network on Monday. (Else/Getty Images)

Patriots running backs Shane Vereen and LeGarrette Blount were both on NFL Network on Monday. Vereen was a part of “NFL AM,” while he and Blount appeared together later in the day on “Total Access.” Here are a few highlights of their respective conversations.

On if the Patriots win the Super Bowl if Marshawn Lynch gets the ball at the end of the game:

Marshawn Lynch gets the ball, we’re going to need a great play by our D-line and by our linebackers [laughing]. … I think it’s a different game. I think it’s a different ending. When I was on the sideline and I saw where they had the ball and the situation, we’re trying to get some plays together for the offense to try and get down and we’re going to need at least a field goal to tie the thing up. So my focus was mainly more on that because I definitely thought they were going to hand it to him and he was going to punch it in.”

On the Patriots’ potential to repeat:

“We have a young team. We have a lot of guys that have come together that have very cohesive bonds within the locker room. We’re very, very close. Honestly, I think the sky is the limit for this group of guys. We have a great leader in Tom [Brady], Hall of Fame coach and quarterback. You can’t really go wrong. That’s a great place to start and we have guys that are in leadership spots that should be there. We have great leaders, we have a great thing going. I love playing there, I really do.”

On how he would have felt if his team decided to throw the ball on the 1-yard line instead of giving it to him:

LeGarrette Blount: “Me personally, I don’t know if I would have given Josh [McDaniels] a chance to come up with that. If we were in that situation, I would have talked to Josh and Bill [Belichick] and would have been like, ‘You have to give me the ball here. Give me a chance.’ As a running back — as a big running back like Marshawn [Lynch] — you have to know for a fact that nobody is going to stop you from getting in that close to the goal line.”

On Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler’s interception at the end of Super Bowl XLIX:

Shane Vereen: “It’s great to see but he’s been making plays in practice all season long. I was talking to [Tom] Brady after the game and he was like it’s nice to have Malcolm pick somebody else off instead of him for a change. But he’s been doing well all season long, progressed well and obviously he deserved to be in the game. Thank God he was.”

For video of Vereen’s appearance on “NFL AM,” click here. For their appearance together on “Total Access,” click here.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: LeGarrette Blount, Shane Vereen,

Patriots position-by-position breakdown: Wide receiver

02.09.15 at 3:07 pm ET
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Brandon LaFell caught the first touchdown pass of Super Bowl XLIX (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Brandon LaFell caught the first touchdown pass of Super Bowl XLIX. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

With the Patriots done for the season, we’ve got an end-of-the-year position-by-position breakdown of where the Patriots stand. We kicked off the series with a look at special teams. Now, it’€™s the wide receivers.

Depth chart: Julian Edelman (92 catches, 134 targets, 972 yards, 4 TDs), Brandon LaFell (74 catches, 119 targets, 953 yards, 7 TDs), Danny Amendola (27 catches, 42 targets, 200 yards, 1 TD), Brian Tyms (5 catches, 11 targets, 82 yards, 1 TD), Aaron Dobson (3 catches, 5 targets, 38 yards — ended season on injured reserve), Josh Boyce, Kenbrell Thompkins (6 catches, 11 targets, 53 yards — he was released by the Patriots on Oct. 4)

Overview: When you assess the Patriots’ receiving corps, there’s a natural inclination to say, “Is that all there is?” But it’s important to remember that the receivers are just a portion of the New England passing game. Bottom line? You can afford to roll out two-receiver sets when you have one of the best young pass-catching backs in the game, (Shane Vereen was one of five backs to finish the season with at least 50 catches and 50 carries) and the most dominant offensive option in the league at tight end (Rob Gronkowski).

With that in mind, it was a very good year for the New England receivers. Edelman followed up a terrific 2013 campaign with an even better 2014 season, and became just as valuable to the success of the Patriots’ passing game as Wes Welker had been from 2007-2013. Including the playoffs, he had eight games where he had eight catches or more, including an 11-reception outing against the Lions and 10-catch performance against the Raiders. After a slow start, LaFell became a dependable No. 2 receiver. While he had no catches in his first two games, he built to a crest midway through the year, and had an impressive four-game string in the middle of the year where he had 29 catches for 337 yards and two touchdowns. And while Amendola basically had his job swiped by Edelman midway through the 2013 season, he still showed he could contribute down the stretch, as prior to Week 16 against the Jets, Amendola had 15 catches for 113 yards and one touchdown and then in the last five games of the year (including the playoffs), he had 23 catches for 224 yards and three touchdowns.

Going forward, provided he can continue to stay healthy, Edelman figures to remain a foundational element of the New England offense, while LaFell appears to be well ensconced as a No. 2 option on the outside. There should be a real debate as to whether or not a late-season push by Amendola (which included good work as a kick returner) could be enough to keep him for 2015. Ultimately, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a re-done deal for Amendola. It’s likely that youngsters Dobson, Boyce and Tyms could compete to give the Patriots some sort of deep threat, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Patriots try and find some help at the spot, either in free agency or the draft.

Best moment: Edelman was immense for much of the season, but he was at his best in the Super Bowl when he finished with nine catches on 12 targets for 109 yards and a touchdown, and sparked serious discussion as to whether or not he should have been MVP and not Tom Brady. Those nine catches included a pair of third-down pickups in the fourth quarter that helped keep late drives alive — with one reception punctuated by a bone-rattling hit from Seattle defensive back Kam Chancellor. Edelman was nails all season long, but he was never better than when he was on the big stage against the Legion of Boom. (For what it’s worth, he finished the postseason as the league’s leading receiver in several areas, including most catches with 26, most targets with 37 and most receiving yards with 281.)

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Read More: Aaron Dobson, Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman

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