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Pats reportedly ink practice squadders to reserve/future contracts, extend three others

01.18.11 at 12:37 am ET
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A day after being eliminated from the postseason, the Patriots signed tight end Carson Butler, quarterback Jonathan Crompton, wide receiver Buddy Farnham, defensive lineman Marlon Favorite, wide receiver Darnell Jenkins, cornerback Thad Turner, and safety Ross Ventrone to reserve/future deals, according to ESPN. The moves are standard operating procedure for teams at this time of the season, locking up practice squad players to allow them to join the team once rosters expand to 80 players in the offseason.

In addition offensive lineman Ryan Wendell, defensive lineman Darryl Richard, and safety Bret Lockett have all recently had their contracts extended, according to NFLPA documents. All three were set to become exclusive-rights free agents following this season, and all received one-year extensions.

Read More: Bret Lockett, Buddy Farnham, Carson Butler, darnell jenkins

Chad Ochocinco interested in Patriots?

01.17.11 at 9:03 pm ET
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Chad Ochocinco, a New England Patriot? The controversial wide receiver posted a Tweet on Monday in response to a question from a Boston Herald reporter saying ‘€œPePe and Bill #EPIC.’€ (PePe is one of his nicknames.)

Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Ochocinco go back all the way to 2001, when Belichick worked him out as a collegian. They have maintained a friendship over the last few years, and it certainly sounds like the Patriots’€™ coach as a real admiration for Ochocinco and vice versa.

‘€œI like Chad ‘€” I like him as a player. I like him as a person,’€ Belichick said. ‘€œI like his enthusiasm and the fun he has with football, and I like how he competes on the football field. I have a lot of respect for that.

‘€œ[We'€™re] an odd couple, but in the end I think we have a lot of things in common.’€

‘€œIt became a relationship beyond just a football player and a coach. He became a friend of mine,’€ Ochocinco said of their relationship. ‘€œHe has a lot of respect for me in my game and I have a lot of respect for him in everything he’€™s done as a coach.

‘€œWe just became really close and fond of each other’€™s work. He’€™s one that I look up to tremendously, one that I’€™ve never played for, but I show the same respect as if he was my own head coach.’€

Read More: Bill Belichick, Chad Ochocinco,

Several Patriots garner PFW, PFWA honors

01.17.11 at 7:38 pm ET
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The Patriots season ended Sunday evening, but they should be busy now that the NFL award season is underway. Pro Football Weekly and the Pro Football Writers of America named its 2010 award winners, all-pro and all-rookie teams on Monday, and there were several Patriots represented. Quarterback Tom Brady was voted the league MVP by the PFW and PFWA, and was also named all-NFL. Meanwhile, coach Bill Belichick was named NFL coach of the year. In addition, linebacker Jerod Mayo was named to the all-NFL team, and tight end Rob Gronkowski, cornerback Devin McCourty and punter Zoltan Mesko were named to the publication’s all-rookie team.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Devin McCourty, Jerod Mayo, Rob Gronkowski

Rob Ninkovich says he injured the LCL in left knee, but it won’t require surgery

01.17.11 at 3:43 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” Patriots outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich sounded an optimistic note about the injury he suffered in the playoff loss to the Jets. The Purdue product, who came off the field in the second half and did not return after injuring his left knee, indicated that it was an LCL injury that would ultimately not require surgery.

“[It's] not going to be anything major. It didn’t touch the ACL. That’s all that I care about, really,” said Ninkovich, who will stay in Massachusetts to undergo rehab.

Ninkovich suffered a more serious injury to his right knee injury earlier in his career, and was just thankful this one isn’t as bad as the old one.

“I’ve already had a nine-month on the right so I didn’t want a nine-month on the left,” he said. “That’s really all I worried about, was the major one. It was just the lateral, so it’ll heal in six weeks.”

Ninkovich, had 58 tackles, four sacks, three fumble recoveries, two interceptions, nine quarterback hits and three passes defensed this season. He also had 11 special teams tackles.

Read More: Rob Ninkovich,

The Big Nickel: Patriots still in shock over loss as rookies discuss playoffs and team faces looming labor questions

01.17.11 at 3:20 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” The five most important things to know about the Patriots on Monday:

1. Patrick Chung (whose appearance was covered here by colleague Mike Petraglia) was one of several players who took time out from packing up their lockers to reflect on the end of the season. It was a group that included wide receiver Deion Branch, tight end Rob Gronkowski and cornerback Devin McCourty, as well as linebackers Rob Ninkovich and Tully Banta-Cain.

Chung’€™s admission that he was the one who botched the fake punt was the big news of the day, as the safety, who was working as the up man for punter Zoltan Mesko, said ‘€œblame me’€ for what happened.

‘€œOf course, there are regrets,’€ Chung said. ‘€œThat’€™s part of the game. That’€™s all on me, not Bill, not [special teams coach Scott O'€™Brien], none of them. I take full responsibility. I just saw a look we have. That’€™s how it goes. Make the call and it didn’€™t work out for us. Leave [Patriots coach] Bill [Belichick] alone, leave Scotty alone. I take responsibility, blame me.

‘€œThere’€™s no if. There’€™s no if. I didn’€™t catch it. That’€™s part of the game. That’€™s part of the game. Some things happen, you have to bounce back from it. That play is over now and it didn’€™t work out for us. I take full responsibility. No one else.’€

Meanwhile, 12 hours after the loss to the Jets, the rest of the locker room was still dealing with the aftermath of the defeat.

‘€œWe obviously are all in shock. We weren’€™t expecting this to happen. It was one of those things where all you can do is just reflect and hope you do better going forward,’€ said Banta-Cain. ‘€œWe had gained some momentum from the regular season going into the playoffs, and it kind of felt like we had some good steam behind that momentum, and for it to come to a screeching halt, no one was expecting that.’€

‘€œI think everybody has different thought process on how the season was going and how it ended,’€ said Branch. ‘€œBut I think it all comes down to the fact that it ended the way we didn’€™t want it to end. I think that’€™s the biggest thing. We can all put our own spin on it, but it just didn’€™t end the way we wanted it to end.’€

2. Belichick and the Patriots are now in a curious spot ‘€” the uncertain labor situation involving the new Collective Bargaining Agreement has the league facing murky future. Belichick does have some history in this area, having worked an assistant coach when work stoppages altered the 1982 and 1987 schedules, and he knows enough to know that as a coach, he has very little control over the situation.

‘€œIt’€™s different, but similar to two other situations I was involved in in ‘€˜82 and ‘€˜87. It’€™s the same type of thing,’€ Belichick said. ‘€œI’€™d say if you are in the business long enough, that’€™s part of it. It’€™s uncertain in that situation. I’€™m certain it will get resolved in time … whenever that is, at some point. In the meantime, you do what you can do. Those things are all out of my control as a coach. I don’€™t deal with any of that. Whenever it’€™s resolved, it’€™s resolved. In the meantime, we’€™ll do the best that we can with the opportunities and the information that we have.
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Read More: Adalius Thomas, Bill Belichick, Chad Ochocinco, Deion Branch

Bill Belichick breaks down where it broke down

01.17.11 at 3:15 pm ET
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FOXBORO — There are three things that Patriots are wondering the day after the second-most stunning loss in franchise history.

What was Patrick Chung thinking calling an audible to the fake-punt call late in the first half?

Where was the defense as the Patriots allowed Mark Sanchez to march up and down the field in the final three quarters, throw three touchdowns and allow a critical 58-yard fourth-quarter completion to Jerricho Cotchery?

And where was the urgency on offense in the fourth quarter as the Patriots trailed by 10 points?

Bill Belichick was asked about all three Monday and his answers varied from direct to read-between-the-lines. First, what were the Jets doing to take the Patriots offense out of their rhythm?

“I’€™d say it’€™s a combination of things,” Belichick said. “There were a couple of times where they had a scheme where we really didn’€™t have it picked up. There were other times where we had it picked up, [but] either a route wasn’€™t open or we didn’€™t do a good job of getting open on the route or the protection broke down ‘€“ it was a physical breakdown ‘€“ things like that. It was a combination of things.”

As for the fourth-quarter strategy of running the ball against their dime package – the Jets’ six-cornerback package – trailing by 10 points, Belichick said the most urgent matter was getting points, not necessarily a touchdown.

“Well, I hope to score,” he said. “That’€™s what I’€™d hope for. I’€™d hope to score. There are five minutes to go in the game ‘€“ over five minutes to go in the game ‘€“ we were stopped on the fourth-and-13, but if we score on that drive, it’€™s a one-score game with five minutes to go in the game. It’€™s not the position you want to be in, but it’€™s not a bad position to be in. Without the score, now you’€™re down by two scores with five minutes to go ‘€“ now that’€™s a problem.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, New York Jets, nfl

Patrick Chung: ‘I take full responsibility, blame me’ for botched fake punt

01.17.11 at 2:00 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Patrick Chung stood in front of his locker on Monday and accepted full blame for the botched fake-punt call near the end of the first half that led to a Jets touchdown and 14-3 halftime deficit. Chung said head coach Bill Belichick and special teams coach Scott O’Brien should not be faulted for the call on 4th-and-4 at the Patriots 38.

“Of course, there are regrets,” Chung said. “That’s part of the game. That’s all on me, not Bill, not Scotty-O, none of them. I take full responsibility. I just saw a look we have. That’s how it goes. Make the call and it didn’t work out for us. Leave Bill alone, leave Scotty-O alone. I take responsibility, blame me.

“There’s no if. There’s no if. I didn’t catch it. That’s part of the game. That’s part of the game. Some things happen, you have to bounce back from it. That play is over now and it didn’t work out for us. I take full responsibility. No one else.”

Read More: botched fake punt, fake punt, New England Patriots, New York Jets
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