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Patriots Hall of Fame finalists: Raymond Clayborn, Ty Law, Bill Parcells

04.16.14 at 11:36 am ET
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The Patriots announced Wednesday that former defensive backs Raymond Clayborn and Ty Law and ex-coach Bill Parcells were named finalists for the team’s Hall of Fame.

Fans can vote on which individual deserves to be the 2014 inductee starting Wednesday and continuing through May 15. The winner will be announced in early June.

Clayborn played for New England from 1977-89 before finishing up with two seasons with the Browns and was named to the Pro Bowl three times (’83, ’85, ’86). A first-round draft pick (16th overall) out of Texas, Clayborn finished his career with 36 interceptions (tied with Law for the team record) and 555 interception return yards (second to Law’s 583). He also returned 57 kickoffs for 1,538 yards and three touchdowns. As a rookie in 1977, he set single-season team records with three kickoff returns for touchdowns and a 31.0-yard return average.

Law played 10 seasons for the Patriots (1995-2004) as part of a 15-year NFL career after being drafted 23rd overall out of Michigan. A four-time Pro Bowler (;98, ’01, ’02, ’03), Law won three Super Bowls in New England. He returned a Kurt Warner pass 47 yards for a touchdown in the Patriots’ first Super Bowl win over the Rams in 2002. He holds franchise records for interceptions (36, tied with Clayborn), interception return yards (583) and interceptions returned for touchdowns (6). He became the first Patriot to lead the league in interceptions when he had nine in 1998.

Parcells coached New England for four seasons and led the team to the playoffs twice, including a run to the Super Bowl in 1997. He was named Coach of the Year for his performance in 1994, when the Patriots won their final second regular-season games to clinch their first playoff berth in eight years. In 1996 the Patriots won a then-franchise-record 11 games and their first division title in a decade. They eat the Steelers and Jaguars to advance to the Super Bowl for the second time in team history before losing to the Packers. Parcells, who is the only coach to lead four franchises (Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys) to the playoffs and three different teams (Giants, Patriots, Jets) to a conference championship game, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year.

Read More: Bill Parcells, Patriots Hall of Fame, Raymond Clayborn, Ty Law

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Florida State RB Devonta Freeman

04.16.14 at 9:37 am ET
By   |   Comments will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2014 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’€™s time for the Patriots to make a selection.


Position: Running back

School: Florida State

Height: 5-foot-8

Weight: 206 pounds

Achievements: 2013 first-team All-ACC

What he brings: Freeman is a solid back who doesn’t possess blazing speed or size, but has good balance, solid hands and quick feet that make him dangerous and allow him to change directions quickly. He’s more of an outside runner as he lacks elite strength to run up the middle. Analysts see pass protection and a tendency to run laterally while looking for the big run as his two biggest weaknesses.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 3-4

Notes: In 2013 Freeman ran for 1,016 yards, becoming the first Florida State running back to go over the 1,000 yard mark since 1996, on 173 carries for a 5.9 average, with 14 rushing touchdowns. He added 22 catches for 278 yards and one touchdown. The 22-year-old led the team in rushing attempts all three of his years at Florida State.

Related articles:

Tallahassee Democrat: Freeman’s draft stock on the rise

Tampa Bay Times: FSU’s Freeman displays toughness of top back

Video: Here are Freeman’€™s 2013 highlights with Florida State.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, 2014 Potential Patriots, Devonta Freeman,

Reports: Patriots have Wednesday meetings with C.J. Fiedorowicz, Deone Bucannon

04.16.14 at 7:00 am ET
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The Patriots have pre-draft meetings set up with Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz and University of Washington safety Deone Bucannon on Wednesday, according to reports.

Fiedorowicz is a 6-foot-5, 265 pounder who is considered to be a second-round pick. He has a couple of New England connections already: one, Iowa’€™€™s offensive line coach the past two seasons was Brian Ferentz, who spent the previous season as the Patriots tight end coach, working with both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. And two, D.J. Hernandez — Aaron’s brother — was a graduate assistant with the Hawkeyes last year.

Fiedorowicz had 75 catches the last two seasons at Iowa, including 30 catches for 299 yards and six touchdowns in 2013. He said he spent plenty of time watching Gronkowski while in college.

“I was watching him on film. I always used to watch him in games, but when you see it break down as film it’€™€™s even more impressive,” Fiedorowicz said at the combine. “He plays hard every down, every play. He finishes guys. He uses his body in the passing game. He’€™€™s just an impressive guy. It’€™€™s the way he plays the game.”

News of his visit was first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

As for Bucannon, he’s a relatively oversized safety in the mold of the Seahawks‘ secondary. Considered a Day 2 pick, the 6-foot-1, 211-pounder is a three-time captain who led the Pac-12 with 109 tackles during the 2013 season, to go along with six interceptions.

For more on Bucannon, our pre-draft capsule on him can be read here. Aaron Wilson of National Football Post first reported the Bucannon news.

Read More: C.J. Fiedorowicz, Deone Bucannon,

Report: Patriots show interest in Michael Sam during pre-draft process

04.15.14 at 11:23 pm ET
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The Patriots are one of six teams that have shown the most interest in linebacker Michael Sam throughout the pre-draft process, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.

Sam, the SEC’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year, announced he was gay in February. As a senior at Mizzou in 2013, Sam had 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss while being named a first-team All-American and first-team All-SEC selection. He is expected to be a mid- to late-round selection in next month’s draft.

Sam has apparently also drawn the interest of the Ravens, Falcons, Colts, Browns and Jets, according to Wilson, quoting a league source.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick issued a statement when Sam made his announcement in February, saying that Sam will be evaluated like any other potential draft prospect.

“We evaluate all the players, including Michael Sam, based on the totality of who they are and who can best contribute to our team and organization, regardless of the matters being discussed today. They all have strengths, they all have weaknesses and no two human beings are identical. Our scouting staff has performed extensive work on Michael, both this season and going back throughout his career. That work will continue through the draft process this spring.”

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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Florida State C Bryan Stork

04.15.14 at 5:24 pm ET
By   |   Comments will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2014 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’€™s time for the Patriots to make a selection.


Position: Center

School: Florida State

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 315 pounds

Achievements: 2013 Rimington Trophy (top center in the nation), 2013 consensus All-American, 2013 first-team All-ACC (media, coaches)

What he brings: Stork has ideal size, and, according to analysts, he is a technically sound athlete with good quickness and positioning. Analysts also say, though, that he has difficulty with his body control and can be bulled when he plays tall.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 4-6

Notes: Stork missed a game against Wake Forest during the 2013 season after he suffered an ankle injury and missed a game against Savannah State in 2012 because of an undisclosed injury. … He played in every offensive snap in Florida State’s comeback win over Auburn during the BCS national championship. … Stork was a tight end in high school and had 43 pancake blocks before he redshirted during his first year at Florida State. … The Vero Beach, Fla., native said in January that if he wasn’t playing football he would want to become a pilot like his father.

Related articles: Florida State’s Bryan Stork ready to take flight into NFL

Miami Herald: Bryan Stork wins the Rimington Trophy

Video: Here is a video highlighting Stork’s career at Florida State.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, 2014 Potential Patriots, Bryan Stork,

Former Patriot Joe Andruzzi on M&M: ‘We’re going to finish what we started’ at Boston Marathon

04.15.14 at 12:47 pm ET
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Former Patriots offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi, who helped injured bystanders at the finish line after last year’s Boston Marathon bombing, joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of the attacks. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Andruzzi was at the finish line to support individuals running on behalf of his charity, the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, when the bombs hit. He had been at Forum restaurant but moved shortly before one of the bombs exploded in front of the establishment.

“A lot of emotions, especially driving in today and being here today for the tribute,” he said. “Just when those memories kind of trigger in your brain and things comes to mind and you start thinking of what-ifs and things like that. You’ve got to push that aside and try and make it all positive. Seeing the faces here today and seeing the survivors and hearing some of their stories, it’s truly amazing what they’ve done in a year.

“For us as a group, an organization, how we’re moving forward. We’re going right back to Forum this year. We’re going to finish what we started and we’re going to stay strong and get out and cheer all of Boston Strong.”

Andruzzi said he thinks about last April 15 frequently, especially considering he and his wife could have been in the direct line of fire had he not decided to move closer to the finish line.

“Many times,” Andruzzi said. “The times of my wife standing right on the fence line looking for our runners, looking past the Forum restaurant, making sure they’re all right, cheering them on, taking a photo. Finally one of our youngest runners was coming through, and probably a half-hour before the bombs went off we chose to go down to the finish line. We were standing about 20 yards from the first bomb site.

“Seeing everything go down and go through and making our way back to Forum when my wife pointed out the three young girls trying to carry a woman on their back. That’s the infamous picture you guys all have seen. I ran over and said, ‘Let me help.’ The faces of the young girls in those pictures probably explains more of the story than anything — just the scariness, everything that was going on at that moment. And then finally walking her to the ambulance, making it back down to the Forum and finding out that the bomb was right in front of Forum was pretty heart-wrenching for me. Knowing that my whole staff, board members, we invited cancer patients, and all our runners’ families were there. Not knowing if everybody was OK, it was pretty scary.”

Andruzzi said he’s looking forward to being at Forum next Monday and taking a big step in the healing process.

“I think I’m more or less getting through today and putting those memories behind and making new memories now and moving forward, because once again, we can’t live in that fear,” he said. “We’ve got to move forward and prove people wrong, that we are coming back there as a community stronger than ever. And hence the two words: Boston Strong.”

Read More: Boston Marathon, Joe Andruzzi,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: LSU DT Anthony Johnson

04.15.14 at 9:37 am ET
By   |   Comments will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2014 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’€™s time for the Patriots to make a selection.


Position: Defensive tackle

School: LSU

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 308 pounds

Achievements: 2013 second-team All-SEC (Associated Press, coaches), 2011 freshman All American (, Sporting News).

What he brings: Scouts say that Johnson has ideal initial quickness, and that he will frequently be the first LSU defensive lineman off the ball. They also say, though, that he needs more polishing and has a tendency to play tall.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 4

Notes: In his three years with LSU, Johnson, who goes by the nickname “The Freak,” has dropped more than 30 pounds in an effort to increase his speed. He led the team with nine tackles for loss in 13 starts during the 2013 season. … During his senior year of high school, Johnson was named the first lineman, and just the third defender, to receive the Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year award. All major recruiting services ranked Johnson the top defensive tackle prospect in the nation in 2010. … Johnson and his family were displaced after Hurricane Katrina and moved to Alabama for a period of time before he returned to Louisiana.

Related articles:

The Times-Picayune: Lack of production not bothering former LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson in draft prep LSU DT Anthony Johnson declares for draft

Video: Here is a video highlighting Johnson’s career at LSU

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, 2014 Potential Patriots, Anthony Johnson,
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