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Reports: Back surgery for Rob Gronkowski?

05.17.13 at 4:09 pm ET
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In an offseason filled with medical uncertainty for Rob Gronkowski, there is now news that the Patriots tight end recently underwent an MRI on his back to check on a disc issue he had dating back to last season, according to USA Today.

Gronkowski, who has reportedly had at least three surgeries on a broken left forearm — and could have two more before the start of training camp — had an MRI on his back on Thursday, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, and will now get a second opinion from back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins. According to Breer, at this point, surgery looks likely

One of the reasons the Patriots were able to get Gronkowski in the second round of the 2010 draft was because of his spotty injury history. The Arizona product had a serious back issue as a collegian — he missed the entire 2009 season with an spinal issue. As a result, he couldn’t perform at the combine, which likely hindered his draft status.

The back is just one small part of Gronkowski’s injury-dominated offseason. The 24-year-old suffered a broken forearm in a Week 11 win over the Colts, and later re-broke his arm in the postseason against the Texans. He will reportedly undergo a fourth surgery on the forearm next week to clear up an infection issue. If the infection hasn’€™t yet cleared, the NFL Network is reporting that a fifth surgery would almost certainly be needed, which would throw the start of Gronkowski’€™s season into serious doubt.

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‘It Is What It Is’ podcast: Chris Price, Mike Giardi talk Patriots offseason

05.17.13 at 11:51 am ET
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In the latest edition of the “It Is What It Is” podcast, WEEI’s Chris Price and CSNNE’s Mike Giardi take a look at the Patriots offseason on both sides of the ball, try and get a handle on which new guys will make an impact first, and whether or not the Patriots have altered their style when it comes to drafting and developing wide receivers. Listen or download here.

Pats officially announce signing of Jamie Collins, Steve Beauharnais

05.17.13 at 11:44 am ET
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The Patriots announced Friday morning they have signed second-round pick Jamie Collins and seventh-round pick Steve Beauharnais.

Collins and Beauharnais join Logan Ryan (third round, 83rd overall) and Duron Harmon (third round, 91st overall) and as four of the seven picks selections to sign with the team.

Collins, 23, was selected by the Patriots in the second round of the draft with the 52nd selection overall out of Southern Mississippi. The 6-foot-3, 250-pounder, began his college career as a safety before moving to linebacker as a sophomore in 2010. He appeared in 52 games with 34 starts and registered 314 total tackles, 21 sacks, seven forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and three interceptions with two returned for touchdowns. Last season he led the team with 92 total tackles and 10 sacks.

The 23-year-old Beauharnais — who agreed to a deal on Thursday — was selected by the Patriots in the seventh round (235th overall out of Rutgers). It was the second of two seventh round picks by the Patriots in 2013. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder, was a three-year starter at linebacker. Last season, he started all 13 games at middle linebacker and finished with 83 total tackles. He was named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award following his senior season.

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Report: Gronk set for another surgery next week

05.16.13 at 10:43 pm ET
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Another month, another forearm surgery for Rob Gronkowski.

According to multiple reports, Gronkowski will undergo his fourth surgery on his left forearm next week. Albert Breer of the NFL Network reports that Dr. Jesse Jupiter is set to perform the operation next week at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

In this case, the looming surgery was anticipated because of an infection. According to ESPN, assuming the infection has cleared, next week’s procedure would replace the plate in the forearm, and from that point, the recovery time would be 10 weeks, which would be approximately the start of training camp in July. If the infection hasn’t yet cleared, the NFL Network is reporting that a fifth surgery would almost certainly be needed, which would throw the start of Gronkowski’s season into serious doubt.

Gronkowski suffered the initial break in a Week 11 win over the Colts, and later re-broke his arm in the postseason against the Texans. The 23-year-old caught 55 passes for 790 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Patriots in 2012.

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Report: Arrest warrant issued for former Patriots receiver

05.16.13 at 5:40 pm ET
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A warrant has been issued in Florida for the arrest of former Patriots wide receiver Chad Johnson, according to TMZ.

Johnson reportedly failed to report to his probation officer, which violated the terms of his probation. Johnson, formerly known as Chad Ochocinco, was on probation following his domestic violence conviction against his ex-wife Evelyn Lozada last summer. If a judge determines that he did violate the terms of his probation, Johnson could face jail time.

In his one season with the Patriots, the 35-year-old had 15 catches for 276 yards and one touchdown.

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Kyle Love picked up by Jaguars

05.16.13 at 5:15 pm ET
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One day after he was waived by the Patriots, Kyle Love was claimed by the Jaguars.

Love, who was reportedly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes shortly before he was cut loose by New England started 11 games at defensive tackle for the Patriots last year. Love, 26, is a 6-foot-1, 315-pounder out of Mississippi State who has spent three seasons in the NFL, all with the Patriots. His best season came in 2011 when he had 33 tackles and three sacks.

Love is the second defensive lineman this week to move from the Patriots to the Jaguars — earlier in the week, Brandon Deaderick was cut loose by New England before landing with Jacksonville.

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Bill Belichick made no secret of his interest of his interest in Michael Buchanan

05.16.13 at 1:22 pm ET
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When it comes to pre-draft misdirection, Patriots coach Bill Belichick can play the game with the best of them.

In New England, a predraft visit can mean one of three things: One, it could be a sign of genuine interest in a prospect. The Patriots rarely tip their hand in such a fashion, but it has been known to happen. Two, it could be a smokescreen to feign interest in hopes of creating some pre-draft misdirection. And three, it could be an attempt to kick the tires on a player ‘€” not so much for immediate, pre-draft information, but an attempt to gain intel down the road.

Last year, New England had almost no pre-draft contact with its first two picks, Chandler Jones (only a combine interview) and Dont’€™a Hightower. And in 2011, Nate Solder‘€™s pre-draft visit was canceled at the last minute. He ended up going in the first round to New England.

But when it came to Illinois defensive end/outside linebacker Michael Buchanan, Belichick couldn’€™t mask his emotions. He flew out to Illinois just before the draft to check out the 6-foot-5, 255-pound hybrid defender who finished his college career with 14 sacks, and the Patriots ended up taking him in the seventh round with the 226th overall pick.

As a collegian at Illinois, Buchanan made his name as a ‘€œgym rat,’€ according to defensive coordinator Tim Banks.

‘€œFootball is really important to him — I can’€™t tell you how many nights we got out of here late and we thought we were the last ones leaving the facility and it turns out he’€™s still around watching film,’€ Banks said of Buchanan. ‘€œI believe his best football is ahead of him, and he’€™s going to an organization where what he learned can be put to great use.

‘€œI think the thing that stands out the most for me is his work ethic, combined with a tremendous amount of ability. You don’€™t see that in many kids. We knew he was a good player, but we had no idea how hungry and how hard-working a kid he was.’€

In 46 career games (32 starts) at Illinois, Buchanan recorded 161 tackles, 26 tackles for losses, and 14 sacks, and was a two-time All-Big Ten second-teamer. In his junior season, he had 64 tackles and 7.5 sacks as Illinois went 7-6. However, those numbers dipped as a senior when he had 57 tackles and 4.5 sacks for a 2-10 Illini team.
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