|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.
|11.02.10 at 11:18 pm ET|
While most everyone else was taking bets on where he would end up ‘ the Dolphins, the Rams, the Seahawks, the Jets … or even (gasp) the Patriots ‘ wide receiver Randy Moss wants your opinion on where he should go.
Moss’s rarely used official Twitter feed chirped just after 11 p.m. on Tuesday with a link to a page on his personal web site that asks fans to weigh in on where they think he should go. The poll offered the following choices: Miami, Seattle, St. Louis or Tennessee. (Fans can weigh in in the forum.) Not sure if that’s a list of finalists already put together by Moss and his agent Joel Segal, but it’s an intriguing collection of teams, nonetheless.
Moss was officially placed on waivers by the Vikings on Tuesday afternoon, and teams have 24 hours to put in a claim on him, with the worst team in the league getting first crack at Moss. At 6-1, the Patriots have the best record in football, and so they would be the last team in the league to get a chance to re-sign their former wide receiver. If Moss clears waivers, he becomes a free agent and is eligible to sign with a team of his choice.
|11.02.10 at 4:34 pm ET|
The Patriots have signed quarterback Jonathan Crompton to the practice squad, according to a league source. The 23-year-old Crompton was a fifth-round pick of the Chargers in 2010 out of Tennessee, but was cut before the start of the regular season. Last season with the Vols, the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder completed 58.3 percent of his throws for 2,800 yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
|11.02.10 at 4:15 pm ET|
According to multiple reports, wide receiver Randy Moss has officially been placed on waivers by the Vikings.
Moss, who was traded from New England to Minnesota on Oct. 6, had one catch for eight yards last Sunday in the Patriots’ 28-18 win over the Vikings. After the game, Moss delivered a memorable monologue, saying he missed playing for New England and complimenting Patriots coach Bill Belichick. In addition, Moss reportedly stayed in New England after the contest, not flying back to Minnesota with the team.
Minnesota coach Brad Childress reportedly told the team in a Monday meeting the Vikings were going to release Moss, but the team wasn’t able to complete the paperwork until Tuesday.
‘This decision was made based on what we thought was in the best interests of the Minnesota Vikings, both in the short and long term. We wish Randy the best as he moves forward in his career,’ said Childress in a statement issued by the team Monday evening.
Now, teams have 24 hours to claim the receiver, with the team that has the worst record getting first crack at landing him. The Patriots, who at 6-1 have the best record in the NFL, will have the last chance to claim him.
|11.02.10 at 1:48 pm ET|
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the complete transcript of the conference call between Bill Belichick and the local media from earlier Tuesday afternoon:
BB: Well, we are starting to dig into the Browns here and they have played a lot of good football teams and they’ve really taken them all right down to the wire, of course other than New Orleans ‘ they handled them. It was a very convincing win over New Orleans, which is kind of scary in itself, of course, down in New Orleans. [They are] a real physical team, tough, hard-nosed, running football team. [They are] tough on defense, good in the kicking game, have some young players that have stepped up. [Josh] Cribbs is a major threat, of course. They don’t give up a lot of points. [Peyton] Hillis has done a real good job for them, running the ball, breaking tackles, keeping them in short-yardage situations with his first and second-down carries and then converting on third down. They are going to play very competitively. They are a good, tough football team. It is going to be a challenge for us to go up there and deal with this type of team, playing at home, coming off a big win they had against the Saints. I’m sure they will be ready to go with the extra week of preparation and the momentum they had from that big win last weekend.
Q: Was there that something you saw in the Saints game that hadn’t translated to the other games that led them to win so easily?
BB: I think they played like they normally do; they played a good, solid, tough football game, but they had some big plays in the kicking game and that gave them some great field position which ended up in some bonus points that really tilted the game pretty heavily in their favor. They did a real good job on offense, defense [and] special teams. Of course they had the two returns on defense, the throwback, [and] the fake punt, so when you put those really four big scoring and field position change plays into that New Orleans game, it is a close game and it really broke it open.
Q: Following up on today’s announcement that Logan Mankins has reported to the team, do the Patriots have a roster exemption?
BB: That transaction hasn’t been turned in yet. That won’t and wouldn’t happen until later on today, but I would expect it, though, yes.
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|11.02.10 at 1:18 pm ET|
The Patriots made it official Tuesday afternoon, announcing left guard Logan Mankins has returned to the team.
Mankins, who had stayed away from offseason workouts, training camp and the first seven games of the regular season because he was unhappy about his contract situation, has apparently signed his $1.54 million tender, and is on the premises at Gillette Stadium.
‘It’s good to have him back with the team. He’s part of the team now,’ Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a conference call, praising the two-time Pro Bowler for his toughness, intelligence and dependability. ‘Been a great player for our team. ‘¦ Good to have him back with us. [He's a] great player and person for our football team. He’s tough, he’s smart, he’s dependable. You just can’t have too many guys like that on your football team. We’re glad he’s back.’
‘He’s in the building,’ said director of player personnel Nick Caserio. ‘It’s good that he’s here. (But) he’s no different than any other player on the team, in the building ‘ they’ll start to prepare for opponent and we’ll make a decision on who play. Logan has been good player for us, he’s been solid, reliable, has a lot of the traits we look for.’
Asked about Mankins’ physical condition, Belichick suggested only that the team would treat the offensive lineman on a ‘day-to-day’ basis. He coach declined to discuss the degree to which he had been in touch with Mankins during his holdout.
‘I don’t want to get into any of that. It doesn’t matter right now,’ said Belichick. ‘We have a big game on Sunday. That’s where our focus is. I don’t want to rehash anything that’s happened in the past. That’s all behind us.’
Mankins was originally selected by the Patriots in the first round of the 2005 draft out of Fresno State. During his five seasons with the Patriots, he has started 80 regular-season games and nine postseason games. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2009, and was selected to the Associated Press All-Pro second team in 2007 and 2009.
The 6-foot-4, 310-pounder would have been an unrestricted free agent under the rules of the old Collective Bargaining Agreement. But when the owners opted out of the old deal, it meant only players with six seasons of professional experience in the NFL were granted unrestricted status. That meant Mankins was still bound to the Patriots, forced to sign a free agent tender if he wanted to play.
However, by signing now, Mankins assures himself a chance at becoming an unrestricted free agent ‘ he had a deadline of Nov. 16 to sign his tender and report by in order to accrue the service time he’ll need to reach unrestricted free agency next year.
Belichick said he expected to receive a roster exemption, meaning the Patriots would not have to release someone right away.
In place of Mankins, the Patriots have been primarily utilizing backup Dan Connolly at left guard for the first seven games of the season. There is a question as to how quickly Mankins could return to elite status, as well as how much trouble he might have dislodging Connolly ‘ who has played well for the first seven games ‘ from his starting spot.
However, the return of Mankins, a two-time Pro Bowler, should provide even greater depth for an offensive line that has allowed only 12 sacks through seven games, tied for seventh-best in the league.
‘The guys are jumping for joy having another playmaker like that come back to us. We’re kind of excited about it,’ said running backs coach Ivan Fears of Mankins’ return. ‘We can’t wait to see what he’s like on the practice field.’
|11.02.10 at 12:25 pm ET|
The Patriots issued an official statement on the return of Logan Mankins on Tuesday afternoon. Here’s the full text of their announcement:
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. ‘ The New England Patriots announced today that G Logan Mankins has reported to the team.
Mankins was originally drafted by the Patriots in the first round of the 2005 draft out of Fresno State. During his five seasons with the Patriots, Mankins has started 80 regular-season games and nine postseason games. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2009 and was selected to the Associated Press All-Pro second team in 2007 and 2009.
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