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Tom Brady: ‘I just hope I’m the one most entitled to play [QB] for a long time here’ 05.26.14 at 10:47 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady sat down with Sports Illustrated’€™s Peter King for an interview featured on King’€™s website, MMQB. In the 40-minute conversation, Brady dished on his future in the NFL, New England’€™s selection of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round of the draft and his nine-year Super Bowl drought.

While Brady will turn 37 this August, he has not showed many signs of slowing down out on the gridiron. Last season Brady passed for 4,343 yards and 25 touchdowns while leading New England to the AFC championship game despite having a mostly inexperienced receiving corps at his disposal.

“It’€™s hard to explain this to people, but the commitment I make, in terms of keeping my body in shape and my nutrition right, should make me healthy,”€ Brady said. “I feel better today than when I was 25, and I know that’€™s hard for people to believe, but I do. I work at it. Basically, I work all offseason to prepare my body to not get hurt. I can’€™t help the team if I’€™m on the sidelines. I’ve got to be durable.”

Brady added: “There’€™s nothing that can wake me up at 5 o’€™clock in the morning on a Thursday morning in May like getting ready for a day of football. I want to play a long time. There’€™s nothing I like doing that’€™s close to football. What’€™ll I do when I’€™m done playing? I don’€™t know, but I know it won’€™t be nearly as fun. I can tell you neither me nor Peyton [Manning] will probably be very far from the game of football when we’€™re done.”

Bill Belichick surprised many at the draft by selecting Garoppolo out of Eastern Illinois 62nd overall. It was the highest spot that the Patriots have drafted a quarterback since Drew Bledsoe was drafted first overall in 1993.

“€œI felt like I had a pretty good idea we’€™d take a quarterback,” Brady said. “Coach Belichick doesn’t care who the quarterback is here. He’€™s always going to play the guy who he thinks gives him the best chance to win. It’€™s not my role to choose players here, thankfully. And this is not the first time they’ve taken another quarterback, either. There’€™s no entitlement in the NFL. I don’€™t expect to be given anything. I just hope I’€™m the one most entitled to play that position for a long time here.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Darrelle Revis, Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots
Photo: Bill Belichick goes bicycling on Nantucket 05.23.14 at 10:39 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick was spotted on Nantucket getting in some mileage on the bike in advance of Memorial Day weekend.

 

Have a great — and safe — weekend everyone.

Read More: Bill Belichick, welcome to the offseason,
Bill Belichick on trading Ryan Mallett: ‘That’s not really something we’re that interested in’ 05.22.14 at 8:09 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Thursday afternoon that when it comes to possibly trading backup quarterback Ryan Mallett, “that’€™s not really something we’€™re that interested in.’€

Belichick, who was appearing with hosts Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on the “Movin’ the Chains” show on SiriusXM Satellite Radio, was asked if New England had fielded any trade calls about Mallett from other teams.

“Ryan has done a good job for us. Fortunately for our team, maybe unfortunately for Ryan, he hasn’€™t really had any playing time in the last three years,” Belichick said of Mallett, who is going into the final year of his rookie contract. “But he’€™s improved tremendously as a quarterback and as a football player, and we have a lot of confidence in him. But at the same time, he’€™s in the last year of a contract, and Jimmy (Garoppolo) was the player we had with a high grade on. At that position, I just don’€™t think you can afford to pass up a player that you think has that kind of (value).

“We feel like we have a good quarterback situation. I think there are a lot of teams in the league that maybe don’€™t feel that good about that position, and that’€™s not a good position to not feel good about. We feel very good about the players we have at that spot.”

Belichick was also asked about his proposal that would give expanded challenge opportunities to coaches.

“There are a lot of plays in the current system that aren’t challengeable — frankly, the rules are pretty complicated as to what you can and can’t challenge,” he said. “It’s like every time there’s kind of a controversial play on the field, the heads linesman or line judge comes over to you and he’s trying to coach you along on war you can and cannot challenge. There are complicated rules for the fans, coaches and everybody else.

“Whatever it happens to be, it wouldn’t give the coach any more challenges. It would just give him a chance to challenge a play he thought was ruled incorrectly. In the grand scheme of things, I think what we all want is to get the play right and for the best team to win and for the game not to be decided by a missed call. To not have the opportunity to correct that type of play, it just doesn’t seem like it’s the right way to do it.

“We had a situation this year where we added another exception to the replay rule because of a play that came up during the season, and it seems like that’s kind of the way it goes — something happens, and then, we have something else to challenge or make another play challengeable that wasn’t in the past, and we’re just going to keep adding to that. I’d just like to clean it up and have a coach have two challenges, and if he gets them right, he gets a third, and that’s it. He can use it on whatever play he wants.”

Ultimately, the proposal was rejected, but Belichick said he would consider bringing the idea up again.

“I think we probably would bring it up again — maybe change our presentation or try to assemble a little bit more support for it,” he said. “In the end, it’s what the membership wants to do — whatever the rules are, that’s what we’ll play by.

“I’ve coached with replay, without replay,” he added. “Whatever it is, we can deal with it.”

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

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jimmy Garoppolo, Ryan Mallett,
Agent: Patriots sign sixth-round pick Jemea Thomas 05.17.14 at 12:14 am ET
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The Patriots locked down the fifth member of their rookie class Friday night, as the agency for defensive back Jemea Thomas announced that the Georgia Tech product has signed with New England.

The 5-foot-9, 192-pound Thomas, who was drafted in the sixth round by the Patriots, played all four years at Tech as a defensive back, starting the final 28 games of his career on defense. As a junior, he finished second on the team with 86 tackles and four interceptions. In 2013, he started all 13 games as a senior, and led the team in solo tackles (73), total tackles (88) and pass break-ups (8). He had 9 interceptions in his last three seasons as a collegian.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Thomas has some positional versatility in that he could play in the slot, outside, or at safety at the next level.

“I think he has some versatility — he’€™s smart, he runs well, he’€™s a tough kid, he’€™s a good tackler. I think that there’€™s definitely a place defensively to have a player like that,” Belichick said of Thomas shortly after he was drafted. “Logan Ryan was different, but had some similarities to that last year where he played outside, he played in the slot, played some snaps at safety.

“We’€™ll see how much Jemea can do there. He’€™s done all those things in the past, plus he’€™s been a good special teams player. We’€™ll see exactly what that role is. Maybe he becomes very good at one thing or maybe he becomes a versatile player that is able to do multiple things. We’€™ll have to see, but it looks like he’€™s got the ability to compete at all three of those spots ‘€“ safety, nickel corner and on the perimeter. He’€™s an interesting guy.”

Thomas joins fourth-round draft choices Cameron Fleming (offensive line) and James White (running back), sixth-round draft choice Zach Moore (defensive end) and seventh-round draft choice Jeremy Gallon (wide receiver) as rookies who have already signed their initial contracts.

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

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jemea Thomas,
Report: Patriots sign fourth-round pick Cameron Fleming 05.16.14 at 3:25 pm ET
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The Patriots have signed fourth-round draft pick Cameron Fleming, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.

The 6-foot-5, 323-pounder is a two-time honorable mention All-Pac 12 pick who made his bones as a right tackle at Stanford ‘€” he started 28 games at the position the last two years. He graduated with a degree in aeronautics and astronautics, and was selected with the 140th overall pick by the Patriots.

“(He’s a) big kid that played against a lot of good competition out there, played against a lot of good players on a good football team,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of Fleming shortly after he was drafted. “They run the ball a lot. They run a very conventional offense compared to what some of the offenses are in college football, so you can kind of see him do a lot of the things that we see in the National Football League.”

Fleming is the second member of the Patriots draft class to sign — Zach Moore agreed to a four-year deal on Thursday.

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

Read More: Bill Belichick, Cameron Fleming,
Agent: Patriots sign sixth-round pick Zach Moore 05.15.14 at 4:21 pm ET
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The Patriots have signed sixth-round draft pick Zach Moore, according to Moore’s agent Blake Baratz.

The 6-foot-6, 285-pound Moore is the first player in the history of Concordia to be drafted. A finalist for the Cliff Harris Division II Player of the Year Award, Moore is a two-time captain who had 33 sacks in 39 college games.

“I think Zach has a real interesting skillset to develop, and I think he will develop,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said shortly after Moore was taken 198th overall. “He’€™s a hardworking guy and he’€™s played very well at the level of (competition) that he was at.

“Obviously, he’€™s going to be playing against a lot better people than he played against. But I think if he works hard and can develop the skills that he has, I definitely think he can be a productive player for us, sure. We’€™re excited to work with all the guys, but I think Zach has a real good set of skills.”

Moore is the first member of New England’s draft class to sign a rookie contract.

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

Read More: Bill Belichick, Blake Baratz, Zach Moore,
Could Patriots make push for Andre Johnson? at 1:35 pm ET
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The news out of Houston that receiver Andre Johnson has started pushing for a trade has led many Patriots fans to openly speculate about the possibility of New England trying to put together a deal for the former All-Pro receiver.

Given the depth of the relationship between Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Texans coach Bill O’€™Brien, the two sides would appear to be natural trade partners. That, combined with the fact that New England and Houston have been talking on and off throughout the offseason about a potential deal involving quarterback Ryan Mallett, would naturally spark conversation on the topic. The starting point between the two sides likely would be Mallett and a draft pick (probably a second- or third-round selection) for Johnson.

Johnson is a tremendous talent. The 6-foot-3, 219-pounder has played 11 years in he NFL, all with the Texans, and has 927 career receptions, 12,661 receiving yards and 61 touchdowns. The most impressive thing about those numbers? The fact that he’€™s had a relatively mediocre (at best) group of quarterbacks throwing him the ball over the course of his career: Matt Schaub, Case Keenum, T.J. Yates, Sage Rosenfels and David Carr. Considering the level of talent on the pre-2012 Texans offense, it’s a remarkable run.

However, when it comes to assembling a trade, the biggest hurdle might be trying to work around Johnson’s sizable contract. According to Rotoworld, Johnson still has $34.5 million remaining on a deal that runs through 2016. For a receiver who is set to turn 33 in July — even one who has been as productive over the last five years as Johnson — that’€™s a major financial hit. While the Patriots could get some cap relief via the recent indictment of former New England tight end Aaron Hernandez, that might still be too much to handle from a financial perspective.

In addition, a Johnson trade would leave $11.96 million in dead money against Houston’s 2014 cap, according to NFL Media’€™s Albert Breer. It is worth noting that overthecap.com reports that the Texans would save $3.68 million against the cap if he was dealt before June 1, so if there is going to be a trade, it would be in Houston’s best interest to do something as soon as possible.

Some have drawn an analogy between Johnson and Randy Moss, who was acquired by the Patriots in the spring of 2007 after two sad and sorrowful seasons in Oakland. While Johnson doesn’t necessarily have the reputation as the third rail of the NFL that Moss had over his first decade or so in the league, both have put up great numbers over the course of their career, and both did it with some decidedly average quarterbacks. Sprung from the Raiders, Moss went on to three-plus seasons of great success with New England before being dealt to the Vikings.

However, it is important to note that Johnson is set to turn 33 this summer, while Moss had just turned 30 when the Patriots picked him up. That’€™s not a colossal age difference, but something that has to be taken into consideration when you are approaching the team-building process for the next few years.

Ultimately, the Patriots should be expected to at least inquire about the possibility of Johnson. But unless the receiver is willing to re-work his contract — or New England is able to move a lot of money around over the next couple of weeks — it seems like a bit of a long shot, at least at this point.

Read More: Andre Johnson, Bill Belichick, Bill O'Brien, Ryan Mallett
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