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Appeals court overturns Nelson lockout ruling 04.29.11 at 7:39 pm ET
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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis granted a temporary stay of the injunction on Friday, reversing the decision of U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson‘s ruling that lifted the NFL lockout. The news comes hours after the league opened the doors on Friday after Nelson refused to overturn her decision. It’s unclear at this point how long the doors will be locked at this point ‘€” the NFL did not issue an immediate word on whether the lockout would resume.

Read More: lockout, Susan Richard Nelson,
New Patriots cornerback Ras-I Dowling: ‘If we had camp tomorrow, I’d be ready to go’ 04.29.11 at 7:15 pm ET
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New Patriots cornerback Ras-I Dowling just finished up a quick conference call with the media. Here are a few quick highlights:

Where were you when you got the call from the Patriots?
I was in  Chesapeake, Virginia at the house with my family and friends.

Surprised?
No sir, no sir, no sir. I was just rejoicing with my family, and when the opportunity came to me, I really wasn’t surprisd. I believe in my ability.

Were you surprised it was the Patriots who took you?
No, I’m just really happy it was the Patriots. It’s a great organization and I’m just happy to be there.

Any pre-draft contact with the Patriots?
I spoke to them at the combine like I spoke to many other teams.

You didn’t do any pre-draft workout for them?
No.

On his health status:
I’m feeling great. I’m 100 percent. If we had camp tomorrow, I’d be ready to go.

When were you at the point when you were 100 percent?
I had my Pro Day not too long ago, my private workout not to long ago. I felt 100 percent then. So I’ve been 100 percent for awhile now.

On fighting through the adversity that the injuries presented:
It wasn’t that difficult. I’m a strong believer in Jesus Christ, and just having my faith. Whenever my time is up, He’s going to lift me up in His glory.

Did you miss games before your senior season or was it one year of bad luck?
Just one year of bad luck.

How important is special teams to your game?
Very important. I think that special teams is a big part ‘€” there are some game-changing plays. I just continue to buy into special teams. I really believe that’s a way of winning.

How familiar are you with the Patriots secondary?
I don’€™t know. I’€™ll just come in and just work hard everyday, learn something from each one of those guys because they’€™ve done something that I haven’€™t done before: play a down in the NFL. So, that’€™s one thing I really want to learn bits and pieces from each one of those guys and just come work hard everyday.

What were your pre-conceived ideas about Bill Belichick and the franchise?
It’€™s a great organization. I think everybody knows that. They win year in and year out. And nothing else is expected [other] than winning. And they do things right there.

Do you have any slot cornerback or safety experience?
No, sir. Not in college.

Is there anyone on the Patriots roster you look up to?
I look up to all those guys, just being in the NFL and coming to work everyday. It’€™s not an easy position. So, I look up to all those guys, and I don’€™t want to single one guy out. I respect every single one of them.

What players did you look up to when you were growing up?
I liked a lot of cornerbacks growing up. Ronnie Lott was a real good corner. Rod Woodson. There are a lot of corners. I can’€™t just name every single one of them because there are so many that I used to watch growing up.

Lott and Woodson both played cornerback and safety. Does that appeal to you?
Not really, but I’€™m willing to do whatever the Patriots want, where they can use me, and whatever helps the team.

Do you have a preference?
Whatever the Patriots want me to do, sir.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Ras-I Dowling,
Patriots take Virginia CB Ras-I Dowling at No. 33 overall 04.29.11 at 6:17 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling was taken with the first pick of the second round (No. 33 overall) by the Patriots in Friday night’s NFL draft.

Dowling is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound corner out of Virginia who struggled with injury over the course of his career, but was a two-time second-team All-ACC selection. Dowling has his best year as a junior, when he recorded three interceptions, eight pass breakups and 58 tackles. In all, he registered eight interceptions in his collegiate career. Dowling started 25 of 40 games at right corner for Virgina, recording 160 tackles (including 115 solos) with six sacks and 7.5 tackels for loss of 24 yards. In addition, he became the 11th player in school history to lead the team in interceptions in consecutive seasons,and in 2007, he became the first true freshman to lead the Cavs in interceptions.

His strength early, however, may be as a special teamer ‘€” he had a team-high 21 special teams tackles as a true freshman at UVA. The Patriots had success last season with Devin McCourty, another corner who made his mark on special teams, and New England would love to duplicate the success they had with McCourty.

New England has two other picks in the second round, the 56th and 60th, and two in the third.

Here’s some video of Dowling in action:

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Devin McCourty, Ras-I Dowling,
Patriots hold five picks on Friday night 04.29.11 at 5:53 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” We are back here at Gillette for the second and third rounds of the NFL draft. The Patriots have five picks tonight ‘€” Nos. 33, 56, 60, 74 and 92.

New England has traditionally found some gems in the second round ‘€” 11 of the players on the current roster have been taken in the second round, including Ron Brace, Patrick Chung, Rob Gronkowski, Brandon Spikes and Sebastian Vollmer are all second-round picks.

There is some thought that the Patriots are interested in dealing the No. 33 pick, the first of the second round, but no announcement has been made as of yet.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Brandon Spikes, Patrick Chung, Rob Gronkowski
Check out video of Nate Solder flattening a scout during his pro day 04.29.11 at 12:56 pm ET
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Newest Patriots offensive tackle Nate Solder drew some attention during the pre-draft process when he was seen knocking Broncos scouting executive Matt Russell into next week during a blocking drill. The scene was captured on video ‘€” as of Friday morning, the video had nearly 100,000 views.

“Matt Russell was the guy,” recalled Solder with a laugh on Thursday night. “He was a guy that played at CU, he was a Butkus award winner at CU and he’s around the program a lot, so he kind of thought that was kind of comical, too.”

One side note ‘€” Russell worked in New England as a part of the front office in 2001, and from 2003 through 2005. He’s now the director of college scouting for the Broncos.

Check out the video below:

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Matt Russell, Nate Solder,
Nate Solder shows off his skills via video 04.29.11 at 2:44 am ET
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You want to see a video of new Patriots’ offensive lineman Nate Solder showing off his skills in a recent edition of the ESPN show “Sports Science”? Of course you do. Check him out as he shows off his speed, strength and blocking skills.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Nate Solder,
Complete transcript of Nate Solder’s Q&A with the New England media 04.28.11 at 10:53 pm ET
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Nate Solder just wrapped up a conference call with New England reporters. Here’s the complete Q&A:

Where were you when you got the call?
In my parents’ bed and breakfast in Colorado.

Were you surprised?
I was sitting there hoping and praying that they’d pick me, because it’s such a great organization.

How much contact did you have with them?
Fairly limited contact.

Did you come up for a visit?
I never came up for a visit.

Can you explain how that unfolded? You were scheduled to come up by it was cancelled?
I don’t know exactly what happened? I was scheduled to visit, but right before I left, it was cancelled. That’s all I know.

You were on your way to the airport?
Nope. It was the day before I was going to go it was cancelled.

What was going through your mind?
There’s been so many question marks going through my mind this whole process that i didn’t think anything of it.

Did that happen with other teams?
No it did not.

Did they come out to visit you?
Yes they did.

When did that happen?
Monday.

How did you miss two snaps in three years?
[laughs] That was an end of game situation. I think one of the backups was in there just to kneel the ball.
Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Nate Solder,
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