|02.20.10 at 9:08 pm ET|
Randy Moss told reporters on Saturday that he expects 2010 to be his final season in a Patriots uniform.
Speaking at a charity softball game in Florida for former teammate Heath Evans to reporters from the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe, Moss, who is entering the final year of a three-year contract, said he understands the financial realities of the situation if he doesn’t get a new deal from the Patriots. In addition, he added that if that would happen, he would bear no ill will against the organization.
“I understand the beast, the nature of it. I think that just with what I think and what I know I don’t think they’re going to re-sign me back,” he said. “So, after this season, if there is not a lockout, I’ll be looking for a new team. I got a lot of respect for the Patriots and what they did for me and my family. So, the only thing I can do is just play this year out and see what my future holds after that.”
Moss, who turned 33 last month, caught 83 passes for 1,264 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.
“It’s the business of it, man,” Moss said. “You got to understand the business of football. There is not bad blood. There is no animosity on my side or their side. I think it’s just the nature of the business of the NFL.
“You know the Patriots don’t really pay, so when I got my second contract from them that was a blessing in disguise. I understand the business. I don’t think they’re going to re-sign me back. I’m not mad. I’m not bitter. It’s just the way things are in this NFL, so like I said after this year I’ll be looking for a new team. I think so.”
|02.18.10 at 10:47 pm ET|
We have already told you to take everything you read on NFLLabor.com with a grain of salt, but no matter your stance on the state of labor uncertainty facing the league, it is a great one-stop site for all the labor information you need. A recent post provided a complete list of all 235 players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents — players with at least six seasons in the league and contracts due to expire — next month. (The site promises to update the list as more signings occur.)
As long as those players avoid the franchise tag (which can be assigned until Feb. 25), they are free to sign with another club in an uncapped 2010 season starting March 5.
That list includes the following Patriots: Tully Banta-Cain, Leigh Bodden, Derrick Burgess, Kevin Faulk, Jarvis Green, Chris Hanson, Stephen Neal, Junior Seau, Benjamin Watson and Vince Wilfork. Other notable players who make the list include Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers, Buffalo wide receiver Terrell Owens, New Orleans safety Darren Sharper, Indianapolis linebacker Gary Brackett, Oakland defensive end Richard Seymour and Arizona linebacker Karlos Dansby.
|02.18.10 at 9:15 pm ET|
Leigh Bodden doesn’t sound like he’s in a rush to get a deal done.
The laconic cornerback, who will likely test the free agent market this spring, told Sirius NFL Radio’s “Late Hits” on Wednesday night that while “first and foremost” he’d like the chance to return to the Patriots, he’s in no rush to get a deal done.
“I think it’s really not time for that,” Bodden said. “I did talk to Bill [Belichick]. But all the business has to be done through my agent and through those guys over there. But I feel like it’s too early, you know? The combine is still around the corner. That’s where a lot of guys talk — you see all the GMs, all the coaches, agents and everything. Right now, I’m just focused on the offseason. Relaxing. Working out, here and there. Trying to stay on top of my cardio and things like that. But nothing major right now.”
Bodden has good reason to sound confident in his situation. The Duquesne product, who signed a one-year deal with the Patriots last offseason, was New England’s most consistent cornerback in 2009. The market for cornerbacks figures to be thin, and coming off a year where he finished with five interceptions (tying a team-high) and 17 passes defensed (best on the team), the 28-year-old figures to land a pretty good payday.
That, combined with the looming labor uncertainty, has him sitting pretty.
“Yeah, there’s not many [corners] to choose from now because the [Collective Bargaining Agreement] not getting done,” Bodden said. “But you never know — it could get done and it might not.”
|02.17.10 at 9:57 pm ET|
How’d you spend your Wednesday? Patriots coach Bill Belichick was spotted in Amherst, watching the UMass women’s lacrosse team lay a 15-6 smackdown on Holy Cross. (Belichick’s daughter, Amanda is an assistant coach for the Minutewomen.)
|02.17.10 at 9:41 pm ET|
Former Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch told the Boston Herald on Wednesday he’d welcome a return to New England, saying it would be “interesting to see” if a deal could be worked out that would bring him back to the Patriots.
Branch, who was traded to Seattle for a first-round pick in 2006 after an acrimonious holdout, said he never wanted to leave New England, where he caught 213 passes in four seasons, including a career-best 78 for 998 yards his final year.
“You know what, I talk to guys all the time,” said Branch, the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX. “I never wanted to leave, nor did Coach Belichick and his staff and the organization want me to leave, either.
“We just couldn’t get the contractual part down. We just couldn’t come to an agreement. And that stuff happens.
“I still love Coach Belichick and if the opportunity presents itself to come back, I would love to be there.”
Branch has played the last four years in Seattle, and has caught 177 passes with the Seahawks despite being dogged by injury over much of his time in Seattle. He remains under contract to the Seahawks, but it’s believed that with a new regime taking charge in Seattle, he could be released or traded. That would pave the way for a possible reunion with quarterback Tom Brady.
“For us to reunite, I don’t know. I would probably be crying at the press conference, if it happens,” he said. “Look, I’ve enjoyed my time with the Seahawks. I would love to stay in Seattle. But if it happens, if it presents itself, that would be great.”
|02.17.10 at 9:11 pm ET|
Leading up to the draft, WEEI.com will ask NFL analysts and draft insiders their thoughts on what the Patriots should do this year. This week, Brian Baldinger of the NFL Network gives his thoughts on what type of players New England should go after on draft weekend. Baldinger, a co-host of the show “Playbook,” believes the Patriots should target — in order of importance — outside pass rushers, wide receivers, running backs and cornerbacks this April. Here’s why:
“The Patriots were an average defense at best last year, and losses to the Broncos and Dolphins and Ravens, they were unable for long stretches of the game to apply pressure from their 3-4 defense. Thirteen teams currently run a 3-4 defense, and the good ones made the playoffs. Off the top of my head, there’s San Diego, Baltimore, the New York Jets, Dallas, Green Bay and Arizona, not to mention the former Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. In all examples, you can name one if not two very good outside linebackers who can rush the passer.
“The Patriots don’t have that guy, and Belichick is not a creative blitzer. If they want to play with the pressure packages of the Jets, Steelers and Ravens in the AFC, then they need to find that guy, just the same way the Packers found Clay Matthews this year.
“As for receiver, Randy Moss looked disinterested down the stretch this season, and Welker is coming off major surgery. Watson was barely looked at by Brady, and Sam Aiken was hardly an option. Brady needs go-to guys that can win his trust immediately, the way Garcon and Collie did for Manning.
“At running back, Maroney is OK, but Taylor is done. They need help there with young, fresh legs. They could also use corner help, because they can’t seem to keep the ones they draft, and the veterans they brought in aren’t the answer.
“They need to continue to get younger and faster and more athletic. The answer for Belichick in his glorious run has always been to draft well and fortify the ranks with smart veteran players. This year, the additions of Springs, Galloway and Taylor were those guys, and it didn’t work.”
|02.17.10 at 7:48 pm ET|
Patriots offensive lineman Stephen Neal apparently isn’t ready to call it a career after all.
Neal’s agent Neil Cornrich told ESPN Wednesday that his client not only intends to play in 2010, he expects a “vibrant free-agent market for his services.”
“He’s going to be playing,” Cornrich told ESPN.
The news comes as a bit of a surprise, especially in the wake of his comments after the playoff loss to the Ravens where the 33-year-old guard spoke openly about the possibility of retirement.
“I’m not sure,” Neal said after the game when asked about whether or not he’ll be back in 2010. “I’m not sure how my body is going to feel. I’m not sure if I’ll keep playing, keep getting in these car accidents each week. I don’t know. We’ll have to find out — talk to the family, see what options are available.”
Considered one of the toughest players in the New England locker room — he has reportedly played through a myriad of injuries over the course of his career — the former collegiate wrestling champion joined the Patriots in 2001. After not playing football in college, he eventually won a spot with the Patriots. He worked his way up from the practice squad and earned three Super Bowl rings in the process. In his career, Neal has played in 78 games, starting 73, and earning the respect of Bill Belichick and his teammates.
“It is a wonderful story about a guy that with hard work, dedication, overcoming the setbacks of the injuries and the lack of playing experience, has turned into, really, a good football player,” Belichick said of Neal’s football journey.
“You have to be amazed at him,” center Dan Koppen said of Neal. “When you look at him on the field, especially when you see his wrestling tapes, you know what kind of athlete he is. And he shows it out there on the field. He’s more athletic than any other lineman that we have out there right now, bar none. I have no problem saying that. He just loves to work. He gets in there and he studies and he just wants to do better every day. When you have a guy like that with that athleticism, it’s hard to hold him down.”
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