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5 picked-up pieces from end of Patriots minicamp

06.20.14 at 6:00 am ET
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1. Darrelle Revis was pretty much instantly identifiable whenever he stepped on the field this spring for a few reasons, not the least of which was the fact that — no matter the weather — he was always dressed in long sleeves and long sweatpants. Not only that, he was layered, even though things were pretty hot and steamy on two of the three days of mandatory minicamp. He was asked why he wore so many clothes throughout his workouts, and he smiled and said he’s always been about the long sleeves.

“Always, man,” he said. “It’s just learning from the old guys when I was younger, man. The Ty Laws. The David Barretts. Guys that I used to look up to. Then you asked them the question, you come out in shorts and a T-shirt. They’re dressed in long sleeves and sweat jackets and you’re like ‘Why you wearing that?’ All DBs say you’ve got to stay warm, because we run a lot. That’s the answer. We’ve got to stay warm. I always try to stay covered, man.

“And I don’t want to get a tan, either.”

For what it’s worth, Revis acknowledged he wasn’t on the field at the end of practice on Wednesday. Asked if there was any cause for concern, he seemed to suggested there wasn’t a problem.

“No [cause for concern]. I’m fine. I’ll leave the injury report up to Bill,” he said. “Whatever he says, he says. But I’m fine. I was here today and I practiced today.”

Two more notes about the defensive backs: One, the last two years, they were a very happy-go-lucky group, with Aqib Talib serving as a good time ringleader, and veteran Marquice Cole always managing to keep things light. It’s still early (and things could change once we get a chance to see them interact on a daily basis together in the locker room), but this year’s group appears to be much more businesslike than the last couple of seasons. In their initial meetings with the media — Thursday’s joke from Revis about tanning aside — there’s a different tone about this group this time around. And two, when it comes to the rest of the secondary, the job of the safety position opposite Devin McCourty is Duron Harmon‘s to lose, with Tavon Wlson and Patrick Chung behind him.

2. With Aaron Dobson still on the shelf because of a foot issue and Brandon LaFell in and out of the lineup, fellow wideout Kenbrell Thompkins did a nice job of taking advantage of the opportunities that were afforded him this spring, at least from this viewpoint. The receiver, entering his second season in New England, got extensive work with the starting offense, and had perhaps the sweetest offensive play of minicamp relatively early in Wednesday’s session. In 11-on-11 work, he and quarterback Tom Brady connected on a pass play in the corner of the end zone. The ball was lofted over the outstretched arms of cornerback Brandon Browner, floated out there by the quarterback to a spot where only Thompkins could catch it. The receiver came down the with ball, much to the delight of the rest of the offense.

“That was very challenging,” Thompkins said when asked about the play after practice. “Brandon Browner is a tremendous athlete — [a] lengthy guy, long arms. But it’€™s our job to come down with it.”

From this viewpoint — if history is any indication — Thompkins is still a candidate for the roster bubble. But in the series of workouts that were open to the media, he certainly made an impressive statement, and likely solidified his spot on the roster as a result.

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Patriots release WR Reggie Dunn

06.19.14 at 4:43 pm ET
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The Patriots released wide receiver Reggie Dunn Thursday.

Dunn, 25, was originally signed by Pittsburgh as a rookie free agent on April 7, 2013, out of Utah. The 5-foot-9, 178-pounder was released by the Steelers after training camp and spent time on the practice squads of Green Bay, Cleveland and Miami in 2013 before joining the New England practice squad on Jan. 7.

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Rex Ryan: Idea that Patriots got copy of Jets playbook ‘ridiculous’

06.19.14 at 4:39 pm ET
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Rex Ryan said Thursday the idea that the Patriots had gotten their hands on a Jets playbook was “ridiculous.”

The Jets coach was responding to a story in Monday Morning Quarterback where former New York assistant Mike Pettine said that during Wes Welker‘s 2012 wedding, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had bragged to former Jets assistant Mike Smith — Welker’s college roommate — that New England “may or may not have had possession of a couple Jets defensive playbooks.”

That charge didn’t sit with with Ryan.

“No. 1, I think it’s disrespectful to New England to sit back and say that they did this,” the Jets coach said. “‘Because I can tell you, every single game that we’ve ever had with New England has been decided on the field. Nobody’s had a competitive advantage. And that’s a fact. So all that type of stuff, is ridiculous.”

Pettine said that Ryan — who “would give [Jets playbooks] out like candy,” according to Pettine — gave one to Alabama coach Nick Saban, a close friend of Belichick. Pettine told Ryan, “Don’t you know Saban and Bill are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it’s going to end up in New England.'”

However, Ryan wasn’t having any of it on Thursday.

“Every single game’s different. So when you go into my room … you’ll see every one of those playbooks. And if you flip [through] them, they’re a lot different each week. And it’s always gameplan-specific. So, to me, it’s ridiculous.

“But it sounds like everybody needs to talk to Pettine because apparently he’s got all the information,” he added.

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Vince Wilfork: ‘I’m holding no type of grudge’ against Patriots

06.19.14 at 2:43 pm ET
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FOXBORO — All is forgiven, if not forgotten, when it comes to Vince Wilfork and the Patriots.

The perennial Pro Bowl nose tackle spoke Thursday after the conclusion of minicamp for the first time since re-working his contract to return to New England.

Wilfork tore his right Achilles last September in Atlanta and was lost for the rest of the season.

Wilfork returned to Gillette Stadium to be around the team during his rehab but that loyalty didn’t immediately earn him the benefit of the doubt with the organization.

According to multiple reports, he felt slighted by the team and asked to be traded, going as far as removing his nameplate from his locker inside the Patriots locker room.

But after agreeing to a complicated, incentive-laden $23 million, three-year extension ($4 million signing bonus) in late March, Wilfork began the process of moving on. A big step in that process came this week when he stepped on the field for minicamp practices on Tuesday. On Thursday, he spoke for the first time about his return, making it clear that business is business and he’s all about football going forward.

“I’€™m here. That’€™s a dead issue,” Wilfork said. “I’€™m here for a reason. If I didn’€™t believe in the things that were brought to me, I wouldn’€™t have signed it. I’€™m here. There’€™s a reason that I’€™m here. I’€™m not upset. I’€™m not holding no type of grudge. Business is business. Everybody handles business different ways.

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Bill Belichick on report Patriots had Jets playbook: ‘Talk to Mike Pettine’

06.19.14 at 12:30 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Here we go again.

In the latest edition of Monday Morning Quarterback on, columnist Greg Bedard reports that new Browns head coach and former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine believes that old copies of the Jets playbook, circa 2011, may have wound up in the hands of the Patriots.

“The initial playbook itself is actually quite thin, and that’€™s by design,” Pettine told Bedard. “€œI don’€™t put a lot of graduate-level information in it. We know in places like New England, it’€™s only a matter of time that they somehow mysteriously end up with our playbook.”

Pettine told Bedard that there was a story circulating that at Wes Welker‘€™s wedding in 2012, Tom Brady laughed with Jets outside linebackers coach Mike Smith (Welker’€™s college roommate at Texas Tech) that the Patriots “may or may not” have had possession of some Jets defensive playbooks.

“It didn’€™t shock me because Rex would give them out like candy anyway,”€ Pettine continued. “€œHe gave one out to [Alabama coach Nick] Saban and I was like, ‘€˜Don’€™t you know Saban and Bill [Belichick] are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it’€™s going to end up in New England.’ ”

Belichick, who told reporters he was allowing just three questions before leaving for the summer, was asked about the charges after Thursday’s final minicamp session. Belichick was specifically asked if he has ever had the Jets playbook at some point.

“[Go] talk to Mike Pettine. I don’t know,” Belichick offered.

Darrelle Revis played for Mike Pettine as recently as 2012, when he tore his ACL in September in a game against the Dolphins. Revis was also asked about the playbook charges after Thursday’s minicamp. He laughed and was somewhat more insightful when asked if he knew the Patriots may have had the playbook.

“No, I don’t know anything about that,” Revis said. “I don’t know. I don’t even know how to answer that. If they did, they did. If they didn’t, they didn’t. At that point, it really doesn’t matter. You still have to go out there and compete and go out there and win the game.”

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Thursday minicamp notes: Rookie Dominique Easley on field working with rest of defensive linemen

06.19.14 at 12:02 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots held their final minicamp workout before their summer break on Thursday. The practice took place in the bubble, and was held in sweats, T-shirts and helmets. In the 40 minutes the media was allowed to watch, we came away with a few quick notes:

— The following players were not spotted during the media window: wide receiver Aaron Dobson, cornerback Malcolm Butler, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, wide receiver Wilson Van Hooser, wide receiver Josh Boyce and defensive lineman Armond Armstead were not spotted at the start. In addition, after the media was led out of the practice bubble, quarterback Ryan Mallett, wide receiver Jeremy Gallon and tight end D.J. Williams were working outside as part of a rehab group.

— The defensive linemen were working as a group in the corner of the bubble directly in front of the media, and it was hard not to notice the presence of rookie Dominique Easley, as well as veterans Tommy Kelly, Vince Wilfork and Will Smith all cutting and bursting in a series of footwork drills. All four — who are coming off season-ending injuries last year — appeared to be moving smoothly. As for Easley, the rookie had a long protective sleeve on his leg and was limited in his pre-practice stretching — he sat out some of that work. But he appeared to be moving nicely. It’s a long way between now and the start of the regular season, but Easley appears to be OK.

— The highlight of what we were able to see likely came roughly 20 minutes into the workout, when Wilfork got up to make a nice interception in a  defensive drill. He will never be mistaken for Darrelle Revis, but considering the fact that he was coming back from a season-ending Achilles’ injury, it was a positive sight for the New England defense.

Report: Patriots ‘in the mix’ for free agent cornerback Brandon Flowers

06.19.14 at 12:42 am ET
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The Patriots are one of the teams who are reportedly “in the mix” for free agent cornerback Brandon Flowers, according to a report from the Baltimore Sun.

Flowers was cut by the Chiefs less than a week ago. The 28-year-old is a 5-foot-10, 190-pounder out of Virginia Tech. Flowers has been in the league for six seasons, and has 17 interceptions over the course of his career, including a career-best five in 2009. Last year, he had 71 tackles (65 solo) and one interception.

According to the Sun, Flowers has also received interest from the Chargers, Falcons, Vikings and the Ravens, according to the Sun.

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