|06.08.11 at 9:21 am ET|
Two ex-Patriots we’ve talked to over the last couple of days have big events on the horizon.
First, Heath Evans, who was in New England from 2005 until 2008, will be holding his sixth annual 7-on-7 tournament on June 18 at King’s Academy in West Palm Beach, Florida. (If you haven’t done so already, check out our story on Heath from a couple of days ago here.) If you’re in the area, it’s a chance to see some of the top high school football talent Florida has to offer ‘ as well as Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, who is scheduled to attend. (For more information, check out Evans’ web site.)
‘This thing has just gotten bigger and bigger,’ Evans said. ‘This year, we’re going to have over 50-plus Division 1 signees take part in this year’s camp. We’ve got seven state championship teams from the year before signed up. It’s a special, special, special event. It’s a character-building day, along with serving as a 7-on-7 tournament. We get a lot of speakers in who talk about what it takes to be men of character and faith and integrity to help them reach their goals.’
A little closer to home, Ellis Hobbs, who was also in New England from 2005 through 2008, talked to us Tuesday about a bunch of different topics, including the fact that he’s in the final stages of putting together the Ellis Hobbs Youth Football Camp and Life Skills, which will be held in West Warwick, R.I., from July 18-22 for kids between the ages of 6-18. (For more on that camp, click here.)
‘There’s a lot of kids out there who are lost, kids with single parents and from broken homes who have a lot of talent but can’t make their way in the world because they might not have the social skills necessary to survive in the real world,’ said Hobbs. ‘My mission is to show people ‘ and kids especially ‘ that sports and life go hand in hand.
‘Everybody isn’t going to make it in the NFL, but if you take the same skills and ability you have learned in the sports world and apply them to the real world, then you can make it ‘ things like working hard, being part of a team, finding that angle and giving good effort, those things will make you a success in the real world. I want to show them there’s another way of going at this thing ‘ other than acting like a plumb fool ‘ just to get some acknowledgement.’
|06.08.11 at 1:08 am ET|
While there’s still some question as to how much ‘ if any ‘ of the 2011 NFL season will be played, it hasn’t stopped The Sporting News from making their prediction as to which team is going to win it all. They have the Packers meeting the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, with Green Bay winning the whole thing. “It’s hard to repeat, but it’s easier when you’re as good as the Packers. Rodgers and company will be too much for the Patriots,” writes Clifton Brown.
|06.07.11 at 9:06 am ET|
A couple of nice hometown stories today on the Patriots:
First, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a look at the Memorial Day backyard BBQ put together by Patriots offensive lineman Dan Connolly and his brothers. While the story discusses Connolly ‘ and his place in history after delivering a 71-yard kickoff return against the Packers last season ‘ the focus is more on Connolly’s brother Patrick, an elite chef who has worked at Boston’s Radius Restaurant in the past, and now works at Bobo in Manhattan. A fun read.
Second, the Buffalo News interviews tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was back in his old neighborhood Monday for the 25th annual Jim Kelly Celebrity Golf Tournament. Gronkowski talked about the lockout and its effect on the players, and he also addressed what the team was able to get out of the three players-only workouts held last week at Boston College.
“We got those three days last week and that was huge,” said Gronkowski, who turned 22 in May. “Everyone got their minds refreshed. Everyone was looking sharp out there. No one was really looking out of shape. It’s huge to get together as a team whatever chance you have.”
|06.06.11 at 2:19 pm ET|
USA Today has started a series where they rank the NFL’s best players, position-by-position. Monday, they looked at the cornerbacks, and New England’s Devin McCourty was ranked seventh overall. McCourty, who was a Pro Bowler as a rookie, and finished with seven interceptions, is ranked behind the following players: Darrelle Revis, Nnamdi Asomugha, Charles Woodson, Asante Samuel, Champ Bailey and Tramon Williams.
McCourty got some more love on Sunday night: After Bailey was named the 48th best player in the league in the NFL Network’s “Top 100″ series, the Denver corner called in as a guest to the reaction show, and was asked about some of the “up-and-comers” at cornerback who might be on a Top 100 list in the coming years.
“I’ll tell you what, a guy that I really like, and I watched in the later part of the year was Devin McCourty,” Bailey said. “He’s tough, challenging, and to get to meet him at the Pro Bowl this past year, I like the feel of him. I think he’s going to be a great corner. He’s playing in a great defense, a great system, so I expect to see big things from him.”
|06.06.11 at 12:24 am ET|
Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker checked in at No. 50 on the list of the NFL’s “Top 100″ Sunday night, a feature running on the NFL Network that counts down the best players in the league as voted on by the players. Presenting Welker was Bills head coach Chan Gailey. Here are a few highlights of Gailey’s presentation (click here for the complete piece):
‘A lot of people think he’s just an underneath threat, but he gets it in so many different ways. He can get it on the quick screen. Short in-routes. Short out-routes. Double juke route. He can get down the field in the seam. People don’t probably give Wes enough credit for his down-the-field stuff because he is so known for the underneath.’
‘He has this great understanding of the game and of route-running and where the holes are in the defense, and how to get a guy off-balance and create just enough opening for Tom [Brady] to get him the ball. That little motion stuff he does allows him to set a guy up and keep a guy off balance. If he gets a half-step, that’s all he needs.’
‘Yards after the catch are probably one of the most underappreciated stats in the NFL ‘ he breaks a tackle, runs through a tackle, makes somebody miss. Sometimes you say ‘How did he outrun that guy to the corner after he caught the ball?’ But he does. You don’t know how he did it, but he did.
‘Now with the development of Wes, and what he’s done in the short area ‘ inside, especially third down ‘ he’s the guy that everybody compares the next guy to. Can he be the next Wes Welker?’
Welker is the second Patriots player to a part of the countdown thus far ‘ linebacker Jerod Mayo came in at No. 62.
|06.04.11 at 7:01 pm ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spoke Friday night at halftime of his charity football game at Harvard Stadium about a variety of topics, including his health, the recent players-only practices the team has held during the lockout, the labor unrest and his role as a leader for the players’ union. Check out the video below:
|06.03.11 at 8:43 pm ET|
Here are a few more highlights from Tom Brady’s five-minute Q&A with the media Friday night at Harvard:
His participation as part of the weekend of events: ‘It’s a great event. We have much more support this year than we did last year. This is something very close to me. Katie Meade is my buddy. She is a great person, a great woman, and I think she is a great representative of Best Buddies. It’s good to be here with her.’
On the workouts the team has held the last three days at BC: ‘It’s been fun; it’s been fun to see a lot of the guys. I think there was a lot of good work. You see a lot of the guys who came out to support this, with Wes [Welker] and Julian [Edelman] and Nate Solder, who is a rookie. This is a great event. Tedy [Bruschi] is out here. His new nickname is Kilimanja-Bru. It’s been a lot of fun this week. This is a great way to cap it off.’
On bringing the players together for workouts ‘ did you feel obligated to do that? ‘No, there were a lot of people that were instrumental in getting everybody together. We have a lot of great leaders on our team. I’ve been here for a long time, so as a veteran on the team, not just a quarterback, there are a lot of guys who are really working hard. That’s what we need.’
On his health after January foot surgery: ‘I feel good, good enough to run around here and have fun. I’m excited for football season.’
On the Bruins and their recent Stanley Cup run: ‘It was exciting the other night. I wish we would have pulled it out. It was a bummer about the Celtics. The Red Sox had a tough four days. We have a pretty good thing going in Boston right now with our sports teams. We get such great support from our fans and from you guys who cover us and care so much about what we’re doing. I think it’s really a pleasure to play in front of people who really care.’