|11.03.10 at 4:03 pm ET|
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder)
|11.03.10 at 1:46 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Patriots rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez was not present for the open portion of practice on the upper fields on Wednesday as they began on-field preparations for the Cleveland Browns this Sunday. Hernandez did not appear to be injured during Sunday’s win over the Vikings.
Meanwhile, Wednesday marked the first time back on the practice field for offensive guard Logan Mankins, who missed the first seven games due to a holdout for a new contract. Mankins agreed on Monday to sign a $3.26 million contract tender offered when he rejected a deal worth a reported $35 million over five years. The Patriots also had a pair of new practice squad players in quarterback Jonathan Cromptom and defensive lineman Lorenzo Washington, out of Auburn University.
Also not in attendance were running back Fred Taylor, safety Jarrad Page and practice squad players Darnell Jenkins and Tyrone McKenzie.
The team practiced in sweats and shells on the upper practice fields outside Gillette.
|11.03.10 at 12:15 pm ET|
FOXBORO ‘ Tom Brady spoke briefly with the media Wednesday morning down here at Gillette, and hit on a handful of topics, including the return of Logan Mankins, if he would welcome back Randy Moss and his excitement about facing Cleveland. Here’s the complete Q&A:
No disrespect to Dan Connolly, but what does it mean to have a guy like Logan Mankins back? ‘It’s great. It’s great. He’s such a great guy. He’s a great player. He’s coming in with a great attitude. I’ve had a chance to talk to him over the last few months. He’s been a great contributor to this team and to this organization. You can never have too many great football players or too many great teammates, so it’s great to have him back.’
How quick do you think his transition will be? ‘I don’t know. Who knows? I’m not sure. We’ll have to wait and see. I hope fast.’
Can you describe how today went with his first day back with all the players? Did Bill Belichick address it? ‘Everyone is excited to have him back. He’s friends with all of us, so as I said, over the course of the last few months, there’s been plenty of interaction with the players. Everyone kind of knew he was coming in today and was just excited to see him and greet him and welcome him back. He’s excited to get out there on the field and start playing football, because that’s really what he loves to do.’
How easy is it to separate the business part of the game from the game on the field? ‘As you get older it’s probably a little easier. When you’re younger and when you’re going through it the first time, I know for me, it was pretty tough early on. But then as you see different things happen and players come and go and coaches come and go, it’s just kind of the way it is. I think from each individual’s standpoint, you’re just focusing on your job, what you need to do, how you can contribute, how you can be a leader, how you can bring energy to the team and then let everything else take care of itself. You just worry about what you have to do and if you don’t, you’re the one that’s going to be out of a job.’
What are your thoughts on everything that has gone on with Randy Moss? ‘I have no idea. I have thoughts; I just don’t really care to share them.’
You mentioned having talked with Logan over the past few months. Was that football related or personal? ‘Probably both ‘ obviously his well-being and his mindset. I think you just always try to express support and you understand what he’s going through and the tough decisions that are made, but also maybe a different perspective from a player that’s been through it. Like I said, I’ve been around for a while now ‘ longer than most everybody in this locker room, so I think I just try to share a little bit of insight and maybe it can create some awareness for them.”
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|11.03.10 at 11:56 am ET|
FOXBORO ‘ Logan Mankins just wrapped up his press conference with the media down here at Gillette Stadium. A session that ran for roughly six minutes, he discussed why he came back when he did, how much he missed his teammates and what he thought of the offensive line ‘ and Dan Connolly ‘ while he was away. Here is the complete transcript of the Q&A:
On his return: ‘It was time. I had my reasons for the date I came back.”
What have you been doing? ‘Hanging out. Playing a lot of golf. Hanging out with my family a lot. I’ve spent a lot of time with them.’
How have you been training? ‘I’ve been training quite a bit, so we’ll see today how it goes. How good a shape I’m in.’
What kind of football-related things can you do while you’re away? ‘I’ve played football and I’ve been through a lot of offseasons, so I took this offseason like I take every other one, and I did the things that I’ve been taught through the years. I didn’t hit anyone or do anything like that, so that’ll all be new today.’
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|11.03.10 at 9:33 am ET|
Mike Florio of profootballtalk.com joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to offer his insight on the latest NFL news, mainly the Randy Moss waiver situation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Said Florio: “My first thought when this all went down Monday is that New York had better get ready for Randy Moss, because he fits the profile. … Rex Ryan presses the right buttons and gets maximum performance out of these guys. But the Jets are down near the bottom of the list when it comes down to the waiver priority.”
Florio is convinced the Patriots have no interest in bringing back Moss but might put in a claim anyhow. “I think he’s going to get claimed,” Florio said. “The question is who is he going to get claimed by. I talked to a GM yesterday who said he believes a boatload of teams are going to claim him. The person I spoke to yesterday thinks the Patriots are going to claim him, not because they want him, but because they want to continue this phony Randy Moss love-fest, because it seemed to take a little steam out of him when he played the Patriots on Sunday.”
Added Florio: “The Patriots could do it as a ceremonial gesture. And anybody who gets it realizes the Patriots have no desire to get him. But as long as it makes Randy Moss think he’s love by the Patriots, then that advances whatever this weird agenda is to have man-hugs with Randy Moss after you play him, which is better than seeing Randy Moss celebrate touchdowns when you play him.”
Florio said the Patriots are playing it smart, and Sunday’s game is Exhibition A. “The point isn’t to get Randy Moss,” he said. “The point is to get Randy Moss continuing to believe that everybody in New England loves him. Which, it worked. He was not nearly as motivated and driven and passionate on Sunday as we’ve seen him in past instances. And I don’t know whether it’s because he was fed up with the Vikings or he was longing for the Patriots. But we saw what he said after the game, and all the bouquets to the Patriots players and coach Bill Belichick. Something caused the guy not to reach out and catch the ball that was falling down.”
Added Florio: “I think the Patriots have been very careful in their separation from Randy Moss not to say or do anything that would give him extra external motivation when he would face the Patriots again. And I think they’ve taken it to another level with the love-fest. Why not continue to perpetrate that? You don’t know where you’re going to meet this guy. He could be on your regular-season schedule, he could be on your postseason schedule, you could see him in the Super Bowl. And that’s why Bill Belichick, as Randy Moss says, is the greatest coach of all-time.”
Another controversial player, Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman, also was placed on waivers Monday. “I think that you’re going to see somebody make a claim on Shawne Merriman,” Florio said. “There’s enough desperate teams out there that think if he comes in healthy, he can help a bad team get better.”
|11.03.10 at 8:07 am ET|
Wide receiver Randy Moss was in New Jersey meeting with members of the Jets on Tuesday morning, according to New York’s WFAN Radio. Host Craig Carton, citing unidentified sources, said Wednesday Moss was meeting ‘at the same spot Mark Sanchez likes to frequent near his home.’ Moss was placed on waivers by the Vikings on Tuesday, and teams have 24 hours to claim the him, with the team that has the worst record getting first crack. The Patriots, who at 6-1 have the best record in the NFL, will have the last chance to claim him.
|11.03.10 at 12:42 am ET|
The Patriots worked out wide receiver Taj Smith earlier this week, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post.
Smith, 27, was an undrafted free agent out of Syracuse who signed with the Packers in 2008 and had two catches for 23 yards in the preseason for Green Bay. However, he was cut before the start of the season and spent much of the next two years with the Colts’ practice squad before he was released prior to the start of the 2010 campaign.
A 6-foot-2, 190-pounder, his best collegiate season came as a junior when he caught 44 passes for 822 yards and five touchdowns for Syracuse.
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