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Chris Long shares what it means to play in New England, ‘where it all started’ for his HOF dad 04.07.16 at 2:33 pm ET
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Howie Long has roots in Boston. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

Howie Long has roots in Boston. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

Before Chris Long was born and well before the 31-year-old signed on the dotted line with the Patriots, his father had a connection and reputation in the Boston area.

Hall of Famer Howie Long (Class of 2000) grew up in Charlestown and has maintained his connections to Boston, evidenced by his Pro Football Hall of Fame honor in Sept. 2011, recognizing members who give back to their communities. Long chose the Boys and Girls Club of Charlestown as the place where he wanted to receive the plaque.

Accepting the plaque, he said that day, “I’m extremely proud that the plaque program is starting here, in Charlestown, where it all started for me. Where I first really fell in love with sports, watching the Bruins, the Celtics, the Red Sox and the Patriots.

“I remember being in my Aunt Edie’s kitchen on the ten-inch TV with a coathanger, and channel UHF, this is pre-cable, pre-satellite, all that stuff, and living in dying with the winter loss, like most Boston fans. Playing on Albion Place, playing football on a patch of grass on Rutherford Avenue next to Hood’s Hill, Eden Street Park, Bunker Hill, and as, as was mentioned here, at the Boys Club.”

On Thursday, son Chris, who signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Patriots on March 18, echoed that New England heritage and what it means to be playing in the area where dad grew up.

“It’s certainly cool to go back and play somewhere where my dad grew up,” Chris Long said in a Thursday conference call. “There’s a lot to his story coming out. To me, it’s not some place I had visited a whole lot when I was a kid but I’ve been there and just as much as anything, on a personal level, I’m just excited to be a part of such a great sports town, sports city. I can’t think of a better fan base or collection of great pro sports teams and how passionate these fans are about football, but also with the Celtics, and the Bruins, and the Red Sox.

“They love all their teams. They’ve won championships in everything in the past several years so it’s a special thing to be a part of. The family thing is real cool and I’m sure as I get up there some things that I hadn’t anticipated form a family standpoint will kind of develop in a great way and I might meet some people that say, “Hey I went to high school with your pops”, or are mutual friends. That’s part of it and it’s very cool to me but the sports city part of it I’m really excited about. Just from the day I was lucky enough to sign, the fans, the outreach on social media, and the excitement – you can really feel it.”

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Read More: Chicago Bears, Chris Long, Howie Long, Kyle Long
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross thinks he has the next Bill Belichick in Adam Gase 02.16.16 at 11:28 am ET
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Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase addresses reporters at his introductory news conference in Miami. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase addresses reporters at his introductory news conference in Miami. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross isn’t afraid to put a little pressure on his young new head coach.

Speaking Monday to the Palm Beach Civic Association, Ross told those gathered that he thinks 37-year-old wunderkind Adam Gase can become Miami’s Bill Belichick.

“Instead of getting a retread that really hasn’€™t had a great track record as head coach, I was looking for somebody that really could be the next, if you will, Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, you know, really great head coach, and I think we got one,” Ross declared Monday, per the Palm Beach Post.

Prior to his hire as head coach of the Dolphins in January, Gase earned acclaim around the NFL as an offensive guru for his work with Peyton Manning for three seasons in Denver and Jay Cutler in Chicago last year.

Ross pointed to Gase’€™s intelligence and work ethic as reasons for his remarkable optimism. But he hinted at a heavy caveat: Gase has just three seasons to get it done.

“After three years, if we haven’€™t made the playoffs, we’€™re looking for a new coach,” Ross said. “That’€™s just the way it is. The fans want it.”

The Miami Herald reported later that associates of Ross clarified that the Dolphins owner was speaking in only generalities, not specific to Gase. However, Tony Sparano and Joe Philbin, the last two full-time coaches of the Dolphins have lasted just over three seasons apiece.

The Dolphins haven’t made the playoffs since 2008, Philbin’s first season in Miami. That also marks the last time the Patriots didn’t make the playoffs and didn’t win the AFC East.

Something else should be noted for perspective. Even Bill Belichick wasn’t Bill Belichick when he was hired for his first job: Head coach of the Cleveland Browns in 1991 at the age of 38. Belichick lasted five years in Cleveland, making the playoffs in his fourth season and beating the Patriots. But then it all fell apart in 1995 when Browns owner Art Modell announced mid-season that he was moving the franchise to Baltimore.

File under: Beware the desperate owner.

Read More: Adam Gase, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins
Patriots reportedly trade Michael Hoomanawanui to Saints for DE Akiem Hicks; Cut Kenbrell Thompkins, 3 others 09.30.15 at 6:29 pm ET
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Michael Hoomanawanui

Michael Hoomanawanui

FOXBORO — The last day before the four-day bye was a busy one for the Patriots.

The team traded veteran tight end Michael Hoomanawanui to the Saints, according to a report from the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin. The Saints have been struggling on offense and are still trying to make up for the loss of tight end Jimmy Graham in an offseason deal to Seattle.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that the Patriots are receiving defensive end Akiem Hicks in return from New Orleans. The Patriots got an up close and personal look at Hicks in August when the Patriots and Saints held two days of joint practices in West Virginia prior to their game on Aug. 22. Hicks started that game at left defensive end and had one tackle.

The 27-year-old Hoomanawanui is in his sixth NFL season and played the last three seasons with the Patriots. The big blocking tight end was inactive last Sunday against the Jaguars. It had become apparent that Michael Williams had passed him on the depth chart. The Patriots now have three tight ends on their active roster in Williams, Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler.

Suddenly, the Patriots have become wheeler-dealers at the trading table. If it goes through (the trade was not on the NFL wire as of the close of business Wednesday), the deal will be the team’s second of the week, having acquired linebacker Jon Bostic from the Bears on Monday afternoon for a sixth-round pick.

The Patriots dealt for offensive lineman Ryan Groy from the Bears on Aug. 10 for linebacker and 2015 draft pick Matthew Wells. Groy was cut before the season began. The Patriots also acquired Williams from the Lions on Aug. 25 for a seventh round pick in 2017.

In addition to the trade, the Patriots cut veteran linebacker Dekoda Watson from the active roster and released receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, offensive lineman Chris Barker and defensive lineman Joe Vellano from the practice squad.

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Read More: Chicago Bears, Hooman, Michael Hoomanawanui, New England Patriots
Jon Bostic on coming to Patriots: ‘I’m just getting started’ 09.29.15 at 3:41 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Jon Bostic is all about fresh starts.

After getting traded from the 0-3 Bears to the 3-0 Patriots on Monday for a sixth round pick, a fresh start is exactly what the 24-year-old linebacker and special teamer has in Foxboro.

“One thing they tell you coming in, it’s a business. You can’t be surprised by anything. You just really have to keep looking ahead. Get in and learn the philosophy, special teams playbook, defensive playbook and keep moving,” Bostic said Tuesday, after attending his first series of positional meetings with the defense and special teams. After chatting with reporters, Bostic spent several minutes with special teams assistant coach Ray Ventrone at his locker going over plans for the next two days of the bye week.

It’s been a whirlwind two days for Bostic, who headed to New England Monday evening, hours after being informed that he had been traded.

“I just got here. I haven’t looked at too much,” Bostic said. “I went to a couple of meetings so far but I’m just getting started.”

Bostic wasted no time making an impact. In the second preseason game against the Chargers in 2013, Bostic laid out Chargers receiver Mike Willie. The hit earned him high fives from his teammates but also a $21,000 fine from the league for lowering his head while hitting a defenseless receiver. In Week 11 against the Ravens, Bostic recorded his first career interception, the first Bears rookie linebacker to do so since Lance Briggs in 2003. Bostic ended the 2013 season with 57 tackles, two sacks and one interception.

Bostic was a second round pick (50th overall) by the Bears in 2013 after an impressive career at Florida. The Gators are a team that the Patriots have traditionally tapped into for talent, with players like Dominique Easley, Brandon Spikes and Jermaine Cunningham. Bostic was very aware of the lineage from Gainesville to Foxboro.

“They came down to Florida,” Bostic said of his first encounter with the Patriots. “I knew obviously they were a team that definitely liked Florida guys so you never knew. At some point in your career, whether it’s at the beginning, the middle or the end, they could be interested. That’s every team. You’ve got to be ready for every team. If they decide this is a guy we like, then you have to go with it.

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Read More: Chicago Bears, Florida Gators, Jon Bostic, New England Patriots
Report: Patriots add to OL depth by acquiring Ryan Groy from Bears 08.10.15 at 12:24 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots have beefed up their offensive line with some insurance.

According to the NFL Network, the Patriots acquired offensive lineman Ryan Groy Monday in a trade with the Chicago Bears. The Patriots traded linebacker Matt Wells in the deal. Wells was drafted in the sixth round (178th overall) by the Patriots this spring out of Mississippi State.

The left guard started three games for the Bears in 2014. According to Pro Football Focus, he totaled 237 snaps over the four games and graded out positively in two games, but he earned a -3.8 rating in his final start against the Vikings in Week 17.

The 24-year-old lineman known as “Yorg” was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and appeared in four games in his rookie season for the Bears. He played collegiately at Wisconsin.

At Wisconsin, Groy redshirted in 2009, and set a school record by playing all 54 games of his career. He played 13 games in 2010, starting two at fullback. In 2011, he played 14 games, starting four (three at left guard, one at center). He started all 14 games in 2012 (12 at left guard, two at left tackle), and all 13 games at left guard in 2013.

Groy was signed as an undrafted free agent to the Chicago Bears on May 11, 2014. He was then moved to the practice squad on Sept. 1. In November, he was promoted to the active roster.

Read More: 2015 Patriots Training Camp, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, Ryan Groy
Fun-loving Rob Gronkowski helps get everyone in Patriots offense ‘clicking’ 10.26.14 at 11:49 pm ET
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FOXBORO — There’s no doubt that when Rob Gronkowski plays like he did Sunday, everyone in the Patriots’ offense benefits. As a matter of fact, everyone gets better.

Just ask Tom Brady, who found Gronkowski nine times on nine targets for 149 yards and three touchdowns in a 51-23 demolition of the Bears at Gillette Stadium.

“It’€™s pretty sweet,” Brady said. “He was a big-time player today. It was great to get him going like that. Certainly running the ball was great. The guys up from played awesome. A lot of guys contributed. We got great play defensively. There were a lot of big plays and we got a lot of momentum, so it was a fun day. Those don’€™t happen like that very often.”

Don’t just take Brady’s word for it. Brandon LaFell had a career high 11 catches for a career best 124 yards and a touchdown. With Gronkowski covered in the second quarter, Brady found the other tight end – Tim Wright – racing the other way across the back line of the end zone for an easy touchdown.

Nothing symbolized Gronkowski’s dominance on Sunday than his 46-yard ramble through the Bears secondary for his third touchdown of the day. He disposed of three would-be tacklers on his way to pay dirt.

“Sometimes you see Gronk go out there and make a play like he made and you turn into a fan real quick, so it was a lot of fun today,” LaFell said.

It would be his last catch of the day as he left with dehydration. “Just have to drink more,” Gronkowski said with a wide smile that broke into a giggle when he realized the delicious irony of his words.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Chicago Bears, Gronk, New England Patriots
Mike Petraglia, Chris Price break down an epic game from Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Brandon LaFell at 8:06 pm ET
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FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price break down Patriots romp over Bears, as Tom Brady throws for 354 yards and five touchdowns in a 51-23 win at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots are now 6-2, and face Peyton Manning and the 6-1 Denver Broncos next Sunday for the top spot in the AFC.

Read More: Brandon LaFell, Chicago Bears, Chris Price, Denver Broncos

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