|Report: Patriots in on Brian Hartline, possibly to replace Danny Amendola||03.05.15 at 3:55 pm ET|
The Patriots are considering all of their options when it comes to their wide receivers, and one of them may be veteran Brian Hartline.
According to Cleveland.com, the Patriots are among a group of four teams seriously considering making a bid for the 28-year-old veteran of five NFL seasons and may have already made a preliminary offer. Hartline hit the market after playing just two of the five seasons in his contract he signed with the Dolphins in March 2013. Miami signed him for five years and $30 million, with $12.5 million guaranteed and a $7 million signing bonus.
Amendola, 29, signed a similar contract at the same time, inking for five years and $28.5 million with $10 million guaranteed and a $6 million signing bonus. Amendola’s production picked up in the second half of this season and he played a key role as a kick returner. He had five catches for 48 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl win over the Seahawks. He also had two touchdown receptions in the playoff win over the Ravens.
Still, Amendola’s targets and catches were down drastically in 2014, his second season in New England, catching just 27 passes for 200 yards and only one touchdown on 42 targets. He caught 54 passes for 633 yards on 83 targets in 2013. His biggest impact came on kickoff returns, returning 20 kicks for an average of 24.1 yards.
Cleveland.com reports that the Patriots could be willing to cut Amendola and replace him with Hartline if it clears cap space and gives them more flexibility.
The Patriots are reportedly in the mix with the Texans, Browns (Hartline went to Ohio State and is from nearby Canton, OH), Bears and possibly the Colts. The Dolphins have already not ruled out making a run again at the receiver, who was a fourth-round pick of Miami in 2009 and has played his entire six-year career in South Florida. Hartline caught 298 passes for 4,243 yards and 13 touchdowns. In 2012 and 2013, he became just the fifth receiver in Dolphins history to record back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Last season, Hartline was relegated to a back-up, grabbing only 39 passes for 474 yards and two touchdowns.
If he chose his hometown Browns, he could help fill the void left by Josh Gordon, who’s serving a minimum one-year ban for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
|Florida is closing in on a new head coach and it’s not Josh McDaniels||12.03.14 at 4:37 pm ET|
Patriots fans can stop worrying about whether Josh McDaniels will be distracted by the Florida head coaching job.
A source tells FOX Sports that the Gators are closing in on a deal with Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain to take over for the ousted Will Muschamp starting in 2015. Muschamp went just 10-13 in the last two seasons in Gainesville. Yahoo! Sports first reported that the school and McElwain were closing in on an agreement on Tuesday.
This would be a return to the SEC for the 52-year-old McElwain, who spent four seasons on Nick Saban‘s staff at Alabama as the offensive coordinator. He has spent the past three seasons revitalizing the Rams program, going 4-8 in his first season to 8-6 in 2013 to this year’s 10-2 mark. One of those 10 wins was a 24-21 come-from-behind victory over Boston College on Sept. 27 at Alumni Stadium.
Florida AD Jeremy Foley has publicly listed several requirements for Muschamp’s replacement, saying his next coach had to have high integrity, character and needed to be a fit at Florida. This is the second straight season McDaniels’ name came up in rumors about a head coaching vacancy. Last January, he interviewed with the Cleveland Browns to replace Rob Chudzinski and was considered a leading candidate before turning them down.
Florida was rumored to be interested in speaking with McDaniels but nothing ever materialized.
McElwain’s pro-style offense has led the Rams to eye-opening numbers this season. They are No. 3 in the nation in passing efficiency, No. 7 in passing offense and No. 7 in third down offense. The Gators struggled badly on offense in the Muschamp era, which included quarterback Tyler Murphy in 2013 before he transferred to Boston College this season.
|Report: MRI reveals pectoral muscle tear, ending the season for Ryan Mallett||11.24.14 at 1:48 pm ET|
Ryan Mallett‘s first chance as an NFL starting quarterback lasted just two weeks.
An MRI performed Monday on the Houston Texans quarterback revealed a torn right pectoral muscle that he played through in Sunday’s 22-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The news was first reported by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle and Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.
The former back-up to Tom Brady, who is a free agent after this season, suffered the injury in his first career start Nov. 6 against the Cleveland Browns. He practiced fully all week but was on the injury report with a chest injury throughout the week leading up to Sunday’s game against the Bengals.
In his first start Nov. 16 in Cleveland, Mallett completed 20 of 30 passes and threw two touchdowns and one interception. He had the 10th-best rating of any Texans starting quarterback since 2001. On Sunday against the Bengals, Mallett completed only 21 of 45 passes and looked off target all afternoon.
Mallett won the job from Ryan Fitzpatrick just before their bye week in early November as head coach Bill O’Brien turned to the quarterback he coached in New England in 2011 and 2012. The Patriots traded Mallett to the Texans on Aug. 31 after spending the first three years of his career in New England. Mallett threw only four passes in those three years.
The Texans acquired him for a conditional draft pick. The pick is a sixth-rounder if Mallett plays 40 percent of the team’s snaps this season and a seventh-rounder if he plays less.
‘ Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 24, 2014
What a terrible blow for Mallett. Started first game and played well against Browns then played hurt and lost for season.
‘ John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) November 24, 2014
Torn pec for Mallett ends his season, but good chance of return. It’s not a “chest” injury as much as a “shoulder” injury, anatomically.
‘ Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) November 24, 2014
|Tom Brady thinks Brian Hoyer against Ryan Mallett is ‘pretty cool’||11.12.14 at 11:20 am ET|
FOXBORO — Tom Brady can’t wait to see his last two back-ups square off against each other.
Brian Hoyer will lead his 6-3 Cleveland Browns into battle against the 4-5 Houston Texans Sunday in Cleveland. The Texans starting quarterback will be Ryan Mallett, getting his first career NFL start.
Hoyer has his team all alone in first place in the AFC North while head coach Bill O’Brien decided to make a change, giving Mallett the chance after Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled heading into last week’s bye.
“It’s pretty cool,” Brady said. “It speaks to their work ethic and I think what they’ve been able to accomplish. They’ve both overcome quite a bit in their career, so it will be fun to see. We play at 8 o’clock, so I’m sure a lot of guys from our team will be paying attention.”
Of course, Brady will have some extra time to pay attention Sunday afternoon if he’s not napping. The Browns and Texans play at 1 p.m. in Cleveland while the Patriots don’t kick off in Indianapolis until 8:30 p.m.
Brady has already faced another former back-up this season head-to-head, when the Patriots beat Matt Cassel and the Vikings, 30-7, in Week 2.
|Bill Belichick shows an edge with Bills media, remembers his 1995 nightmare with Browns||10.08.14 at 11:57 am ET|
FOXBORO — Every so once in a while, Bill Belichick shows he has a sense of humor. And every once in a while he shows a sharp edge.
On Wednesday, in a conference call with Bills reporters, he showed both.
Belichick spoke for about 10 minutes with the Buffalo media after his weekly Wednesday chat in the Gillette media work room with New England media.
In the standup session, he spoke of the emotion that came from winning, Sammy Watkins looking like Larry Fitzgerald and even Brandon Spikes‘ dreads. He also spoke of how well Spikes has played in the system but the Bills media decided to pick up on the longer hair reference.
Q: What has Brandon Spikes brought to the Bills defense?
BB: I think we know Brandon well. He’s a good, strong, physical player inside, does a good job in the running game.
Q: You made a comment about maybe his hair being longer. Is that what you’ve noticed?
BB: No, I said that he looks pretty much the same as a player that we had here, which I think he does. The strengths that he had when he played for us are I’d say the same strengths that he’s shown with Buffalo.
Then the Bills media tried to move onto the subject of Darrelle Revis playing mostly man on Cincinnati’s A.J. Green Sunday night. That didn’t go so swimmingly either.
|Patriots sign WRs Cole Stanford, Brian Tyms, release injured WR Greg Orton||07.27.14 at 9:51 am ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots made a pair of signings for the back end of their roster, adjusting for the loss of receiver Greg Orton on Friday.
Director of player personnel Nick Caserio announced Sunday morning during his press conference that the team signed receivers Cole Stanford and Brian Tyms. Both were in attendance Sunday morning as the team held its second straight practice in pads.
Stanford was wearing No. 14 while Tyms was assigned No. 84. Tyms was undrafted out of Florida A&M in 2012. He has spent time with the San Francisco 49ers and the Miami Dolphins. Last year, he played for the Cleveland Browns, where currently Patriots executive Mike Lombardi watched him when Lombardi served in Cleveland’s front office.
As for Stanford, he played collegiately at Cal Poly, catching 43 passes for 891 yards and four touchdowns during his four years. As a hybrid weapon, he also rushed 54 times for 314 yards with a touchdown.
The Patriots also waived (injured designation) Orton, who will go back to the Patriots on injured reserve if he clears waivers. Orton suffered a lower body injury during practice late in practice Friday and had to be carted off the field.
Orton, 28, was originally signed to the Patriots practice squad on Dec. 31, 2013, released by the team on May 22, 2014, and re-signed on July 23. The 6-foot-3, 199-pounder spent part of 2011 and all of 2012 on the Denver practice squad and went to training camp with Denver in 2013. He originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals out of Purdue in 2009. Orton had stints with the Arena Football League’s Spokane Shock and the United Football League’s Omaha Knights before joining the Denver practice squad.
|Rob Gronkowski says he’s ready to make a fearless return: ‘I’m going to keep smashing and dashing’||07.25.14 at 1:17 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Gronk was back in rare form Friday.
Rob Gronkowski held court on a sunny Friday morning after his second practice of training camp, announcing that he plans to make a fearless return to the field this season and put a string of injuries behind him. The most recent, of course, came on Dec. 8, 2013 when T.J. Ward drilled him in the right knee, causing a tear of his ACL and a subsequent knee reconstruction.
Gronkowski said that, while he won’t likely participate fully when he puts on pads with the rest of his teammates Saturday, he will be prepared mentally for the first game, whenever that comes.
“I’m pretty sure I won’t have any fear at that moment because that’s what we’re working here for, getting myself right, getting my knee right, getting everything strengthened around it so when I do hit the field, when I do start hitting, when I do start getting tackled, I’m out there ready to go [and] I’m not thinking about that in the back of my head,” Gronkowski said. “It’s a slow progression. I’m just working every single week to get to that progression, and hopefully and it comes down to where I’m ready and I’m ready to roll and I’m good to go and I’m out there for my teammates. I want to be out there for my teammates and give it all I got and make some plays for them.”
As for being at full strength, Gronkowski cautioned that there is still plenty of work remaining before that hurdle is cleared.
“If it were 100 percent, I’d be doing every single thing so no, I’m not 100 percent right now, obviously not,” Gronkowski said. “I’m working my way to get to that and I’m working every single day to get to that and improving every single day.
“I’m preparing myself to my max ability right now for the first regular game. I can’t really say anything from here on out because it’s far away. Every single day, I’m just giving it everything I’ve got in the rehab room and out here on the field. I’m preparing myself and listening to my trainers, what they have for me so that I’m ready to go when it comes down to it. Hopefully, I am.
“No timetable at all. Just keep improving every single day and we’ll see what the trainers want me to do. They’ve been through plenty of knee injuries throughout their years here.”
If you think he plans to change his style in light of ankle, back, forearm and knee injuries that have knocked him out of 17 of his last 26 games since 2012, think again.
“Nah, I ain’t changing that one bit,” Gronkowski said. “I’m going to go full speed when I’m out there and I’m going to keep smashing and dashing in everything I do. Maybe if it’s not necessary one single bit I’ll go down [to the ground]. But if I can make some plays and make some extra yards and get in the end zone, I’m definitely going to go full speed and do everything I can.”