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Bruschi: Jerod Mayo will be ‘best linebacker in the game’ in two years

06.27.11 at 1:19 pm ET
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NORTON ‘€” Former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi said Monday that former teammate Jerod Mayo will be the “best linebacker in the game within two years.” Speaking before his annual golf tournament at TPC Boston, Bruschi said the “sky is the limit” for the Tennessee product.

“He’s done things there in his short career with the Patriots that I wasn’t able to do until my eighth or ninth year or something like that. That’s how far along he is. That’s how good he is,” Bruschi said of the 6-foot-1, 245-pound Mayo. “I never had the ability that he has ‘€” how fast he is, how big he is and strong. The sky is the limit for him. I truly see him being the best linebacker in the game within two years. I think that’s how good he is.

“No matter what defensive scheme they run,” he added. “They’ll run some 3-4. They’ll run some 4-3 looks. And he can do it on a down-to-down basis. It’s very difficult to do, especially in that system ‘€” I know. The sky is the limit for him.”

The 25-year-old Mayo, who is heading into his fourth season with the Patriots, has finished with more than 100 tackles in all three seasons in New England. The 2008 Defensive Rookie of the Year, this past season he was a Pro Bowler and named an All-Pro.

Read More: Jerod Mayo, Tedy Bruschi,

Report: Tom Brady’s mentor Tom Martinez feeling better

06.26.11 at 12:18 pm ET
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Good news from the West Coast, where Tom Brady‘€™s mentor Tom Martinez ‘€” who was given a dire prognosis just a short time ago ‘€” now appears to be feeling considerably better. In Sunday’€™s San Francisco Chronicle, Martinez tells writer Vittorio Tafur that he’€™s ‘€œfeeling better’€ after helping finish up his 33rd annual quarterback camp.

‘€œI’€™m optimistic after being almost completely certain that I was going to die,’€ Martinez said.

Martinez, who has struggled with complications due to diabetes in recent years, has moved from Stanford to UCLA to continue his treatment. They have adjusted his pacemaker and found a kidney donor with the proper blood type.

‘€œIncredible, isn’€™t it?’€ Martinez said. ‘€œAfter my camp ends, I will go back down to UCLA for some internal tests, to see if I can handle surgery.’€

Read More: Tom Brady, tom martinez,

Ron Brace gets some more quality time with folks back in Springfield

06.24.11 at 10:03 pm ET
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By Greg Cameron

SPRINGFIELD ‘€” Third-year Patriots defensive lineman Ron Brace has been keeping busy this summer, despite his league being embroiled in a lockout since March. On Tuesday, the Boston College product returned to his hometown of Springfield to help raise funds for tornado relief. And Friday, he returned home once again for yesterday’€™s Football For You clinic at Springfield College.

The camp for Pioneer Valley youngsters gave them the opportunity to learn and train in many facets of the sport from many former Patriots including Steve King, Harold Shaw, Butch Mahoney, and Ronnie Lippett.

However, with the lockout, the NFL’€™s regular scheduled workouts and practices have been wiped out. As the lockout turns the corner on its third month, players have been working out on their own or in small groups at facilities that are not affiliated with any of the league’€™s franchises.

Earlier this spring, a number of Patriots worked out at Boston College, Brace’€™s alma mater. For the lineman, the workouts were a welcome change of pace from recent workouts for Brace.

‘€œIt was great. Our main thing for the guys was getting on pace,’€ Brace said. ‘€œWe broke it up with who needed to work on what,’€ he added.

The events of this offseason have certainly been out of the ordinary for Brace. For him, the prospect of such a large amount of time management has weighed heavily on his mind.

‘€œI haven’€™t had this much time off playing football since I started playing,’€ Brace said. ‘€œI seem to have always had some kind of team workouts for about three days, but I haven’€™t this year and workouts set up by players are definitely different,’€ he added.

Brace also added that it is tough for players to get a sense of where things stand physically with each player. Geography plays a big role in that as players are spread out all across the country.

This summer hasn’€™t gone without work for the third-year Patriot, as he’s been sweating it out this summer with his personal trainer in Wellesley for daily two-hour workouts. According to Brace, the workouts with his team-referred trainer have been far from easy.

‘€œHe basically makes life a living hell for those two hours that I’€™m with him,’€ Brace said. ‘€œMy job now with the lockout, is to stay in shape.’€

Read More: Butch Mahoney, Harold Shaw, Ron Brace, ronnie lippett

Two days of talks between NFL owners and players on South Shore leave both sides cautiously optimistic

06.24.11 at 12:46 am ET
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Two more days of talks between NFL players and owners wrapped up Thursday afternoon with both sides expressing cautious optimism that a deal may be near.

Speaking after sessions wrapped up at the Nantasket Beach Resort in Hull, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith each addressed the media, and both sounded positive, but also talked in realistic tones about the challenges that lie ahead if they want to bring an end to the lockout.

‘€œSomeone asked me whether I was optimistic ‘€” I think we’€™re both optimistic when we have the right people in the room,’€ Smith said. ‘€œWe know we’€™re talking about the right issues and that we’€™re working hard to get it done.

‘€œIt is extremely complicated, it requires a lot of hard work by a lot of people, but we’€™re committed to getting something done and we’€™re going to keep working at it,’€ he added.

‘€œYou obviously know we met over the last couple of days. We are under court order as far as what we can discuss, so our comments will be brief. But obviously we’€™re all working hard,’€ Goodell said. ‘€œThe players and owners were here over the last two days. De and I were here for the entire meetings also. And it’€™s complicated and it’€™s complex, but we’€™re working hard and we understand the fans’€™ frustration. But I think both of us feel strongly that we’€™re going to continue to work hard at it.’€

Including Smith and Goodell, the majority of important people needed to reach a deal were in attendance for the bulk of the two days. According to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, players involved in the talks this week included Baltimore’€™s Domonique Foxworth, Tony Richardson of the New York Jets and Indianapolis’€™ Jeff Saturday, Meanwhile, owners Jerry Richardson (Carolina), Clark Hunt (Kansas City), Robert Kraft (Patriots), John Mara (New York Giants) and Dean Spanos (San Diego) were also part of the session.

The sessions that occurred over the last two days were the fourth series of ‘€œsecret meetings’€ between the players and owners. The sides met from May 31 until June 2 in suburban Chicago, June 7th and 8th on Long Island and June 14th and 15th in a Washington D.C. suburb on Maryland’€™s Eastern Shore. Aiello tweeted Thursday afternoon that ‘€œthe talks will continue,’€ and according to NFL.com, there will be another series of talks next week, with the NFLPA staging its rookie symposium concurrently in Florida.

According to the Associated Press, the players and owners have exchanged proposals recently on a variety of issues, with the main point being how to go about dividing $9.3 billion in revenues. League owners were reportedly briefed this week on a plan that would give the players roughly 48 percent of total income. An off-the-top expense credit of about $1 billion that went to the owners is also something that could be eliminated. In addition, there is reportedly also talk of a ‘€œsalary floor,’€ which would keep teams within 90 percent of the cap.

While an increased urgency has started to permeate the talks ‘€” training camps are now expected to start in just over a month, and much has to happen between now and then for camps to open on time ‘€” for the first time since the lockout began in March, there seems to be a real sense of trust and understanding that’€™s starting to grow between the two sides as they try and bring the longest work stoppage in NFL history to an end.

‘€œWe’€™re working hard ‘€” we understand the fans’€™ frustration. I know our players’€™ frustration,’€ Smith said. ‘€œWe’€™re going to keep working hard and try to make sure we get a deal done.’€

Read More: Clark Hunt, Dean Spanos, DeMaurice Smith, Domonique Foxworth

Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith comment at end of two days of talks in Hull

06.23.11 at 6:13 pm ET
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Here are the statements made by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith made to reporters Thursday afternoon at the end of two days of talks between the players and owners at Nantasket Beach Resort in Hull:

Goodell: ‘€œYou obviously know we met over the last couple of days. We are under court order as far as what we can discuss so our comments will be brief. But obviously we’€™re all working hard. The players and owners were here over the last two days. De and I were here for the entire meetings also. And it’€™s complicated and it’€™s complex, but we’€™re working hard and we understand the fans’€™ frustration. But I think both of us feel strongly that we’€™re going to continue to work hard at it.’€

Smith: ‘€œSomeone asked me whether I was optimistic. I think we’€™re both optimistic when we have the right people in the room. We know we’€™re talking about the right issues and that we’€™re working hard to get it done. It is extremely complicated, it requires a lot of hard work by a lot of people, but we’€™re committed to getting something done and we’€™re going to keep working at it.  Just to wrap up: we’€™re working hard, we understand the fans’€™ frustration, I know our players’€™ frustration. We’€™re going to keep working hard and try to make sure we get a deal done.’€

According to league spokesman Greg Aiello, players involved in the talks this week included Domonique Foxworth, Tony Richardson, Jeff Saturday, as well as owners Jerry Richardson (Carolina), Clark Hunt (Kansas City), Robert Kraft (Patriots), John Mara (New York Giants) and Dean Spanos (San Diego). Aiello tweeted Thursday afternoon that ‘€œthe talks will continue’€ as both sides try and end the lockout, which began in March and is now the longest work stoppage in NFL history.

Read More: Clark Hunt, Dean Spanos, DeMaurice Smith, Domonique Foxworth

Peter King on M&M: ‘They’re going to get deal done’

06.23.11 at 1:52 pm ET
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Sports Illustated football writer Peter King called into the Mut & Merloni show Thursday afternoon about the ongoing NFL lockout while the negototiations between the league and the players have reportedly moved to an undisclosed Boston suburb. King told the guys that the owners’ willingness to take the $1 billion credit on revenue off the table and deal primarily with percentages has helped bring the two sides closer to a deal.

“I think what it does is say to the players, ‘Look, you guys have talked about a percentage. You guys have wanted for a long time to be sure that when we do the TV contract in 2014 and maybe it goes up 75 percent or some ungodly number, you guys are going to be taken care of and you guys are going to get a fair cut of that and not a lump sum.’ I think by them talking about the 48 percent number, that is a message to the players that we hear you and we’re doing it in a percentage the way you want us to do it.”

He also added that the two sides are beginning to trust each other more as the process continues to go along.

“About the trust issue, I can just tell you this based on people I’ve talked to from both sides, I’d say trust was a D on March 11 when the players walked out in Washington. The trust is at a B-minus now. The trust is really improving significantly. I don’t think that will stand in the way. I think it will be issues now, not trust that stands in the way of a deal.”

King even went as far as to offer his own prediction on the end date of the lockout, and the SI writer seemed very convicted in said prediction.

“They’re going to get it done,” King said. “My over-under is July 10. They get it done by July 15-17, they won’t lose any preseason games, which is really the goal here. I think they’re going to make progress and get it done by the middle of July.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: NFL lockout, Peter King,

Ex-BC star and current Colts defensive back Jamie Silva set to return to New England this weekend for his annual football camp

06.22.11 at 11:11 pm ET
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Football worlds will be colliding this weekend in Rhode Island.

Jamie Silva has seen both sides of the Colts-Patriots rivalry. The defensive back, a New England native who played at Boston College, was signed by Indy as a free agent in 2008 and has two seasons on the Colts roster as a defensive back and special teamer. (He tore his right ACL in a preseason game last August and was sidelined for the entire 2010 season.)

So when he comes home to Rhode Island this weekend for the second annual Jamie Silva Football Camp ‘€” set for Saturday and Sunday at Pierce Field in East Providence (click here for more information) ‘€” he knows he’€™s going to hear it from at least a few folks.

‘€œIt’€™s funny … I think the kids kind of just enjoy the fact that they’€™re there hanging out and getting taught by NFL players. But some of the parents gave me grief last year,’€ he said with a chuckle.

Silva is used to it by now. After three years in Indianapolis, the Rhode Island native established his bonafides within the Colts’€™ system, having played in 25 games in two seasons of action. (Indianapolis special teams co-captain Melvin Bullitt said Silva deserved to be special teams captain last season before his injury.) In Indianapolis’€™ Super Bowl run in 2009, he played in 14 of the Colts’€™ regular-season games and all three of their playoff games, including the Super Bowl. In addition, his 15 special-teams tackles in the regular season were second on the team.

‘€œHe’€™s a guy who certainly has a lot of spirit, runs around and makes a lot of plays for us,’€ Colts coach Jim Caldwell told reporters last August after Silva went down with his knee injury. ‘€œHe’€™s a quality guy and helped us in a number of different areas.’€

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Andre Callendar, Anthony Castonzo, Gosder Cherilus, Jamie Silva
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