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Ty Law: Hall induction would be ‘icing on the cake’ as far as career with Patriots 04.16.14 at 7:24 pm ET
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Ty Law was a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots. (AP)

Ty Law was a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots. (AP)

For Ty Law, it’€™s the chance to bring a legendary career full circle.

The cornerback, who is one of three finalists for the Patriots Hall of Fame, admitted Wednesday that when it came to how things ended with the franchise, it was a less than ideal scenario.

After playing 10 years with New England, he left as a free agent following the 2004 season. He ended his career with brief stints with the Jets, Chiefs and Broncos (and retired following the 2009 season), but it was a bittersweet final act for one of the best defensive backs of his era.

“€œI’€™d be the first one to admit now, I’€™m older, wiser, more mature, that if I could have done something all over again, I would have tried my damnedest to stay in New England and finish my career,” he said on a conference call with New England media.

“€œNot that I have any regrets about the teams that took me in as far as the New York Jets, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs — I’€™m thankful for the opportunity. I think I said this early in my career; I would have loved to start and finish my career with the Patriots. Unfortunately that didn’€™t happen, but if I had to do it all over again, I would have made more effort to stay a Patriot.”

Now, Law has the opportunity for a final farewell. It was revealed Wednesday that he’€™s one of three finalists for the Hall of Fame, a class that includes cornerback Raymond Clayborn and former coach Bill Parcells. (Fans can vote on the finalists for the next month at Patriots.com.)

Law was a three-time Super Bowl Champion (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX), a four-time Pro Bowl player (1998, 2001, 2002, 2003) and a two-time All-Pro (1998, 2003) during his tenure with the Patriots. Law tied Clayborn’€™s career franchise-record with 36 interceptions and finished with the most interception-return yards in team history with 583

Law, who said he was “€œspeechless”€ when he was informed that he was a finalist, said, ‘€œit would mean a lot’€ if he gets the nod.

“€œIt will put the icing on the cake, as far as my playing career with the Patriots, and give some validation to me that I’€™m appreciated by the fans, they still care for me and they show me that with my business on and off the field and it just puts a stamp of approval [from] Patriot Nation,”€ he said. “€œI’€™m really humbled by that to even be considered with the great Bill Parcells and Raymond Clayborn, who was such a great player and spent so much time in New England. I’€™m honored just to be considered and on the list with those two guys.”
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Resetting list of Patriots and their own free agents 04.09.14 at 1:04 pm ET
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Will Svitek

Will Svitek

With Matthew Mulligan agreeing to a deal with the Bears on Tuesday, here’s an updated look at the Patriots 2014 free agent class. If you’re scoring at home, of its 12 free agents, New England has retained four and lost five, while three remain on the market.

Long snapper Danny Aiken: Signed a one-year deal to return to New England.
Running back LeGarrette Blount: Signed a two-year deal with Pittsburgh.
Defensive end Andre Carter: Free agent, but has expressed an interest in returning.
Wide receiver Austin Collie: Free agent.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman: Signed a four-year contract to return to New England.
Linebacker Dane Fletcher: Signed a one-year deal with Tampa Bay.
Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui: Signed a two-year deal to return to New England.
Tight end Matthew Mulligan: Singed a one-year deal with Chicago.
Linebacker Brandon Spikes: Signed a one-year deal with Buffalo.
Offensive lineman Will Svitek: Free agent.
Cornerback Aqib Talib: Signed a six-year deal with Denver.
Center Ryan Wendell: Signed a two-year deal to return to New England.

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Updates on Patriots rules proposals, Michigan’s Jeremy Gallon working out for New England and other notes from league meetings 03.25.14 at 2:57 pm ET
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It looks like Bill Belichick's proposal to extend the goal posts is going to pass. (AP)

It looks like Bill Belichick‘s proposal to extend the goal posts is going to pass. (AP)

ORLANDO — A few picked-up pieces to report from the NFL’s annual meetings in Central Florida:

1. The proposal to extend the goal posts by an extra five feet “seems likely to pass” when voted on Wednesday, according to Judy Battista of NFL.com. An initiative sponsored by Bill Belichick and the Patriots, the coach said Tuesday that the idea of doing it certainly seems like a no-brainer. “Virtually every kicker at the combine can kick them over the top of the goal posts [and] some of those guys aren’€™t even going to be in the league,” Belichick said Tuesday morning when asked about the idea. “I’€™d say every kicker can do that.” In addition, the other three proposals proposed by the Patriots are also scheduled to be voted on by the owners Wednesday.

2. In other end-zone related news, the league announced Tuesday it will penalize players who dunk on the goal posts in 2014. In the past, the league has cracked down on group celebrations, as well as using the football as a prop, so it would appear that this is the next step in the process. In addition, it was announced Tuesday that the NFL officiating department will help referees rule on instant replay reviews starting next season. Referees will now be allowed to consult with director of officiating Dean Blandino and his staff — who will be monitoring games from the league offices in New York — to help determine whether a call should be upheld or overturned.

3. This doesn’t have anything to do with the goings on in Florida, but according to a league source, wide receiver and special teams coaches from New England were in Ann Arbor on Tuesday to work out wide receiver Jeremy Gallon. The 5-foot-8, 187-pound Gallon has put up impressive numbers over the last two years with the Wolverines, including 89 catches for 1,373 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013. He also posted good numbers as a return man, compiling 589 yards on 27 kick returns in 2010, and 192 yards on 31 punt returns in 2011.

4. Broncos coach John Fox was asked about the courtship process that brought former Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib to Denver, as well as comment on his thoughts on Talib as a player.

“œWe had an offer on the table to [Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie]. They were working through it. I don’€™t get involved in this stuff’€”this is agents and [Director of Football Administration] Mike Sullivan. It’€™s scholarships with price tags,” Fox said. “We obviously are an appealing place but the reality is it comes down to the contract, usually. We were all over that and then it flipped and we were very pleased to get Aqib.”

On Talib as a player: “€œHe’€™s long, he’€™s fast, he’€™s quick, he’€™s tough. The only real negative is he had some off-the-field issues early in his career. I knew him even when I was in Carolina and he was in Tampa. I knew their coaches there pretty well. You get a pretty good feedback on players when you’€™re in the division’€”even on other teams. I knew how he grew, got married, started a family and matured.”

5. Reports continue to link running back Maurice Jones-Drew to the Patriots, with one story saying that Jones-Drew was going meet with the Patriots, Steelers, Dolphins and Jets this week in Orlando. (Jones-Drew has already apparently met with Pittsburgh, but has not received an offer from the Steelers.) It remains to be seen how all of this will play out — given the Patriots depth at running back, as well as the current state of the market, you would have to think they’d be more inclined to bring back LeGarrette Blount at a cut rate price instead of likely investing more in Jones-Drew. (Jones-Drew could also sit out until the summer to see if the market shifts and he’s able to play one team against each other in hopes of reaching the reported $3 million annually he’s seeking.) But it’s certainly a situation that bears watching going forward for Patriots fans — even if he doesn’t land in New England, two of the three other teams reportedly in the hunt for the diminutive back are in the division.

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Resetting latest on Patriots and their own free agents 03.20.14 at 3:53 pm ET
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LeGarrette Blount

LeGarrette Blount

Just over one week into free agency, here’s a status update on each of New England’s free agents:

Long snapper Danny Aiken: Signed a one-year deal to return to New England.
Running back LeGarrette Blount: No updates.
Defensive end Andre Carter: Carter has left the door open for a possible return — he expanded on his feelings in a recent interview with ESPN — but he remains in limbo, at least at this point.
Wide receiver Austin Collie: No updates.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman: Signed a four-year deal to return to New England.
Linebacker Dane Fletcher: Signed a one-year deal with Tampa Bay.
Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui: Signed a two-year deal to return to New England.
Tight end Matthew Mulligan: No updates at this time, but a league source has expressed to WEEI.com some optimism the Maine product could return to the Patriots in 2014.
Linebacker Brandon Spikes: Signed a one-year deal with Buffalo.
Offensive lineman Will Svitek: No updates, but like Mulligan, league sources expressed a belief that the Patriots would welcome him back at a fair market rate.
Cornerback Aqib Talib: Signed a six-year deal with Denver.
Center Ryan Wendell: No updates.

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Aqib Talib loved playing for Bill Belichick, but Patriots’ contract offer was ‘a little shaky’ at 2:22 pm ET
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Aqib Talib said the contract offer from the Patriots “was a little shaky compared to Denver’s offer,” which was one of the reasons that caused him to sign a free agent deal with the Broncos earlier this month.

Speaking with Peter King of Monday Morning Quarterback, Talib touched on why he ultimately left New England.

“I definitely had an offer from the Patriots,” Talib told MMQB. “But there was language in there that definitely was a little shaky compared to Denver’s offer.

“The Patriots are a great organization. I loved my time there. I loved playing for Bill. He’s a great leader. I’ll be able to tell my kids I played for Bill Belichick someday and I was Tom Brady‘s teammate. Really, it’s just a dream I’m experiencing, when two great organizations want you like this.”

Despite the fact that Talib signed a six-year contract, he doesn’t sound worried about the fact that the Broncos can fundamentally walk away from his deal after three seasons.

“I don’t really get into that part of the business too much, how much of a contract is guaranteed and whether I’ll make it all the way through,” he said. “I hope I stay here for six years. Hopefully I see all six years, because that means I’m playing well. But for me, I just come and play as hard as I can. It’s the same for me, thinking about this season, as it was last year, when I was in the last year of my contract. As a player, I don’t think you can worry about that too much.”

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Brandon Spikes takes exception to injury claims: ‘A false report’ by Patriots 03.18.14 at 4:17 pm ET
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Brandon Spikes said Monday the Patriots decision to put him on injured reserve at the end of the 2013 season was a “false report,” and added “that’s just how things go” in Foxboro when it comes to injuries.

The linebacker, who signed a free agent deal with the Bills earlier this month after four seasons with New England, made the statement Monday on WGR Radio in Buffalo.

“I know, I heard they put me on IR and stuff like that. That was just a false report,” Spikes said Monday during a radio interview with WGR in Buffalo. “That’s just how things go there. Almost like what happened with (Aqib) Talib and his hip.

“That was just from the labor throughout the season, man. It was just — you know how it is — it’s a tough 16 games. All I needed was rest and rehab.”

Spikes’ claim was the second in a month from a former player regarding how the team manipulates the injury report. When he signed with the Broncos, Talib said he was listed with a hip injury, but he was quick to say he had no such problem.

“The Patriots have their way of reporting stuff, but I haven’t had a hip problem since Tampa,” Talib said. “The injury I had was actually a quad injury. It was reported as a hip injury, but that’s how they do things.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

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Resetting Patriots depth chart in secondary at 1:42 pm ET
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Devin McCourty was a key defensive piece of the puzzle for the Patriots in 2013. (AP)

Devin McCourty figures to be the leader of the New England secondary in 2014. (AP)

To this point in the offseason, no position in New England has undergone more of a change than the secondary. The Patriots have lost cornerback Aqib Talib and strong safety Steve Gregory, but they’ve added Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. Here’s a look at New England’€™s current depth in the secondary.

Cornerback
Darrelle Revis: The veteran corner, signed earlier this month, figures to fundamentally step into Talib’s old spot as the No. 1 corner who will face off against the lead pass catcher on the other side of the ball. If Revis is that guy, he will face an impressive roster of receivers over the course of the 2014 season, including Mike Wallace (Miami), Reggie Wayne (Indy), Keenan Allen (San Diego), A.J. Green (Cincy), Demaryius Thomas (Denver) and Brandon Marshall (Chicago).

Brandon Browner: As of this point, the veteran figures to be in the mix for the No. 2 cornerback spot. Because of suspensions and health problems, he’€™s only played 20 games the last two seasons, and so he could be a little rusty out of the gate, especially considering that he’€™ll be getting adjusted to a new team, as well as the fact that he’€™ll sidelined the first four games of the 2014 season because of a ban for violating the league policy on PEDs. However, providing he stays healthy, there’€™s no reason to think he shouldn’t be a part of the rotation by the midway point of the season.

Alfonzo Dennard: He’s currently in the home stretch of his jail term in Nebraska, and his future when it comes to playing time could be fluid, with much of it tied to Browner’€™s situation. With Browner out for the first four games, however, he figures to be the No. 2 corner, at least for the short term.

Kyle Arrington: Many of his critics were hopeful that with the acquisition of Browner and Revis, the Patriots were going to get rid of Arrington. No dice — he remains one of the better slot corners in the game, and the pickup of Revis allows him to stay in the slot, a position he’€™s become suited to over the years. Barring injury, look for him there again in 2014.

Logan Ryan: For the most part, the Rutgers product had a very good rookie season, finishing with five picks (best on the team) and looking very comfortable over the course of the year. (He was overwhelmed a bit in the AFC title game against the Broncos, but even with his maturation, was probably playing a little over his head in that contest anyway.) With Revis and Browner in the picture, he figures to get most of his work as the nickel back and in sub packages, at least early on. The good thing is that the Patriots spent the majority of the season with five defensive backs on the field, so he should still get some significant snaps, even if he is bumped down the depth chart.
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