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Several rule changes reportedly coming to NFL next season 05.23.17 at 1:40 pm ET
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The NFL has several rule changes coming next season. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

The NFL has several rule changes coming next season. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

At the NFL owners meetings in Chicago, a few rule changes have been implemented for the 2017 season.

— According to multiple reports, overtime will now be 10 minutes, opposed to 15 minutes. This obviously will create more ties and teams being more aggressive in the overtime periods.

— Also according to multiple reports, there will only be one roster cut down day during training camp going from 90 players to 53 players. Before teams had to get down to 75 players midway through camp. This means the fourth preseason games should be more competitive with players competing for roster spots actually playing. It should also create a wild few days with so many players not knowing their fate for the upcoming season.

— Lastly, Roger Goodell announced on Twitter with a letter to fans the league is cutting back on penalizing celebrations. “We are relaxing our rules on celebrations to allow players more room to have fun after they make big plays,” Goodell wrote. Celebrations now allowed are: using the football as a prop after a touchdown, celebrating on the ground and group demonstrations.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

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Patriots announce 2 joint practices with Jaguars before 1st preseason game 05.23.17 at 12:30 pm ET
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Bill Belichick and the Patriots will host the Jaguars for two joint practices. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Bill Belichick and the Patriots will host the Jaguars for two joint practices. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

For the sixth straight season, the Patriots will hold joint practices before a preseason game.

The club announced on Tuesday it will have two joint practices with the Jaguars August 7-8 at Gillette Stadium before the preseason opener on August 10. The sessions are free and open to the public.

In the past, the Patriots have had joint practices against the Saints, Bears, Redskins, Eagles, and Buccaneers.

These are very valuable to Bill Belichick and his staff as it gives them a chance to see their players against other competition and also a chance to scout other teams.

Over the years Belichick has added players he’s gone up against during joint practices, including Brandin Cooks this offseason.

There have been talks the Patriots could also have joint practices with the Texans this summer as well, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

5 Patriots players who have most to prove during OTAs 05.23.17 at 11:57 am ET
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OTAs will give us an idea of Brandin Cooks' connection with Tom Brady. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

OTAs will give us an idea of Brandin Cooks’ connection with Tom Brady. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots began OTAs this week with sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday (Thursday will be open to the media). There is no contact permitted, but teams can run 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.

Much of the work done isn’t so much competition, but rather making sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to schemes, techniques and plays. OTAs are especially important for newcomers and rookies, as it is their first exposure to the Patriots system.

Here are five Patriots players who OTAs are especially important to.

Brandin Cooks — One of the things we’ll be looking for is Cooks’ connection with Tom Brady. As we’ve seen over the years, Brady demands a lot out of his receivers in order for them to get in “the circle of trust.” Many just assume Cooks will come in and immediately make an impact, but that is dependent upon him having the trust and connection with Brady. That work begins now and could show up during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work.

Derek Rivers — The Patriots’ top draft pick likely has a lot to learn as he comes from FCS Youngstown State and OTAs are the first chance to see how he’s doing. The third-round pick has a lot of talent, but as of now it’s unclear how much he will be able to contribute during his rookie season. It could be a case of this being more of a “red-shirt” year where he learns the system and gets acclimated to being a professional. OTAs will give a glimpse at how much he’s learned and what he can do.

Kony Ealy — Ealy came over from the Panthers in a trade and will now have to learn a new system and be led by defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. The defensive end can line up all over the defensive line — both inside and outside — and OTAs will likely show where he’s most comfortable and show what the team envisions him doing.

Malcolm Butler — It was an interesting offseason for the cornerback as he was reportedly upset following the signing of Stephon Gilmore and even visited the Saints as a restricted free agent. Ultimately, he signed his $3.91 million tender with the Patriots and will be on the 2017 roster. How he interacts with his teammates will be worth watching to see if he’s put what’s happened in the past and isn’t showing signs of being upset.

Mike Gillislee — The Patriots signed Gillislee as a restricted free agent the week of the draft and it is assumed he will be the lead back. Obviously, the Patriots don’t use running backs like other teams, but he should get the majority of the carries. OTAs could give an idea to how the Patriots plan on splitting the carries. Gilleslee, Rex Burkhead and Dion Lewis appear to be the three backs who will be competing for reps.

Read More: Brandin Cooks, Derek Rivers, Kony Ealy, Malcolm Butler
Raymond Clayborn ‘surprised and very happy’ to be elected to Patriots Hall of Fame 05.22.17 at 6:59 pm ET
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Raymond Clayborn is the Patriots' 2017 Hall of Fame inductee. (Otto Gruele Jr/Getty Images)

Raymond Clayborn is the Patriots’ 2017 Hall of Fame inductee. (Otto Gruele Jr/Getty Images)

For the past three years, former Patriots cornerback Raymond Clayborn was nominated for the Patriots Hall of Fame, but never was elected.

That changed this year when Clayborn beat out Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel to be the 26th member of the Hall of Fame.

“I really felt real good about it and had two excellent guys that were also nominated with me,” Clayborn said on a conference call Monday. “I keep reverting back to the Super Bowls and previous years when I was a candidate, it always had gone to one of those guys. I thought the same thing was going to happen again. I was totally surprised and very happy.”

Robert Kraft called Clayborn to deliver the news, and he didn’t believe him at first.

“He said a few things. He said, “Raymond, you were the guy that we picked this year,” or something like that, and then he kept talking,” Clayborn said. “I had to ask him. I said, “Are you telling me that I won the vote against Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel?”

Clayborn, who played for the Patriots from 1977 to 1989, set a franchise record with 36 career interceptions, a record which Ty Law tied in 2004. He described himself as a player who could do a number of different things.

“I was the kind of guy that could use different techniques,” he said. “I mainly liked to get close up to the line of scrimmage. I don’t know if you guys remember that we were a man-to-man blitzing team under Hank Bullough, the defensive coordinator up there, so you had to disguise, try to cover up what you were actually doing, not let them know you were in man-to-man by moving up and back and using different techniques – off bump-and-run, off 7 yards. They wouldn’t let us be but 7 yards off of them. They said we had to do that. We just came together and did a great job.”

He will be honored over the summer with a ceremony outside the Hall at Patriot Place.

Read More: Raymond Clayborn,
Patriots add wide receiver, roster now has 90 players 05.22.17 at 6:50 pm ET
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The Patriots’ roster was at 89 entering Monday, the first day of OTAs, and at the end of the day the roster is full at 90.

New England signed wide receiver DeAndrew White. White spent last season on practice squad after being signed on Sept. 14.

The 25-year-old was originally signed by the 49ers as a rookie free agent out of Alabama in 2015. The 6-foot, 192-pounder, made the 49ers’ 53-man roster as a rookie and played in four games, finishing with two receptions for 18 yards.

White will battle with Devin Lucien and Austin Carr for potentially a spot on this year’s practice squad.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: DeAndrew White,
Raymond Clayborn elected into Patriots Hall of Fame 05.22.17 at 3:34 pm ET
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Raymond Clayborn is the Patriots' 2017 Hall of Fame inductee. (Otto Gruele Jr/Getty Images)

Raymond Clayborn is the Patriots’ 2017 Hall of Fame inductee. (Otto Gruele Jr/Getty Images)

On Monday, the Patriots announced former cornerback Raymond Clayborn has been elected into the Patriots Hall of Fame.

Clayborn beat out Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel following being nominated by a committee and then winning an online vote by fans.

He had been nominated four straight years.

The cornerback was a three-time Pro Bowl player (1983, 1985, 1986) during his 13-year Patriots career that extended from 1977 through 1989. He set a franchise record with 36 career interceptions, a record which Ty Law tied in 2004. His 555 interception return yards rank second in franchise history to Law’s 583 return yards.

Clayborn also returned 57 kickoffs for 1,538 yards and three touchdowns. He is one of just 20 NFL players since the 1970 merger to finish a season with a better than 30-yard average on kickoff returns (min. 20 returns) and is the only Patriots player to accomplish the feat.

“I was fortunate to be a season ticket holder during Raymond’s entire Patriots career,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft in a statement. “For the first half of his career, he teamed with Michael Haynes to form one of the best corner tandems in league history. Throughout his career, Raymond was a physical, shutdown corner. One of my favorite memories was watching the 1985 team advance to the Super Bowl after Raymond helped us break the Orange Bowl curse when he stymied future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino with a dominant performance against Pro Bowl receivers Mark Duper and Mark Clayton.

“Raymond had six passes defensed and an interception to help us claim our first conference title. It was the greatest upset victory in franchise history at the time and one the entire New England region celebrated. It is a well-deserved honor and I look forward to presenting him his hall of fame jacket.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Raymond Clayborn,
Darrelle Revis reportedly won’t be punished by NFL for February incident 05.22.17 at 11:15 am ET
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Darrelle Revis reportedly will not be disciplined by the NFL. (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis reportedly will not be disciplined by the NFL. (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

In March, Darrelle Revis had felony assault charges dismissed by a Pittsburgh judge, and now according to ESPN’s Rich Cimimi, the free agent cornerback will not be disciplined by the NFL.

In February, Revis was arrested when he was said to be involved in a street fight that left two men unconscious.

He was charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault, one felony count each of robbery and conspiracy and a misdemeanor count of terroristic threats. After appearing in court a month later, the charges were dropped.

With this news, it may mean teams might be more willing to sign him than they were before. If Revis were to be suspended by the league, teams likely wouldn’t want to take a risk by signing him and then be forced to lose him for any portion of the season.

Revis is 31 years old and coming off his worst NFL season, but the seven-time Pro Bowler likely could help any team if used properly. As it relates to the Patriots, with Malcolm Butler returning there doesn’t appear to be a fit.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Darrelle Revis,

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