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Patriots 2017 Hall of Fame finalists announced 04.21.17 at 10:17 am ET
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Mike Vrabel is a finalist for the Patriots Hall of Fame. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

Mike Vrabel is a finalist for the Patriots Hall of Fame. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

After the 20-person nomination committee met a few weeks back, they have decided on three finalists for the 2017 Patriots Hall of Fame — Raymond Clayborn, Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel.

Clayborn is a finalist for the fourth straight year, Vrabel is a finalist for the second straight year, while Seymour is a first-year eligible finalist. Fans have until May 15 to vote on for the former Patriot most deserving of Hall of Fame enshrinement. The winner will be announced that week.

Seymour spent the first eight seasons of his 12-year NFL career with the Patriots and played an important part in delivering six division championships, four conference titles and three Super Bowl championships to New England. He was named to five straight Pro Bowls with the Patriots (2002-06) and earned four straight first team All-Pro honors (2003-06). His five Pro Bowl berths are the most by any Patriots defensive lineman since the 1970 NFL merger.

During his eight-year tenure in New England, Vrabel played a major role in the Patriots’ run of three Super Bowls in four years (2001, 2003 and 2004). He started at both inside and outside linebacker positions during his Patriots tenure, regularly lining up on offense in short-yardage and goal-line situations and continuing to make valuable contributions on various special teams units throughout his career.

Clayborn was a three-time Pro Bowl player (1983, 1985, 1986) for the Patriots during a career that extended from 1977 through 1989.

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Richard Seymour, Kevin Faulk to announce Patriots draft picks 04.28.16 at 4:20 pm ET
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Although Patriots draft headquarters is out of Gillette Stadium, they will be represented in Chicago by two former greats.

Richard Seymour will announce the second-round pick and Kevin Faulk will announce the third-round pick.

It’s worth noting the last time Faulk announced a pick, it was Jamie Collins.

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Minnesota DL Ra’Shede Hageman talks about transition to NFL and possibility of playing for Patriots 02.22.14 at 3:15 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — The Patriots were a team that was racked by injury along the defensive interior over the course of the 2013 season. That, combined with the advancing age of defensive tackles Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly, should spark some conversation about finding the next great big body in this year’€™s NFL draft.

Enter Minnesota’€™s Ra’€™Shede Hageman. The defensive lineman was first-team All-Big Ten, and finished the 2013 season with 34 tackles, including 11 for loss, as well as one interception and eight pass deflections.

Hageman is a longer, leaner presence in the middle — at 6-foot-6 and 318 pounds, he’€™s built more like Richard Seymour and Kelly than Vince Wilfork. But his positional versatility can’€™t be overlooked: The Minnesota product was mentioned by NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock as someone who could be a fit with the Patriots at No. 29, and Hageman said Saturday afternoon that he believes he has a meeting set up with New England later at the combine.

“I think Hageman from Minnesota is kind of the big question mark there,”€ Mayock said earlier this month when asked about New England. “If he’€™s still on the board — because he’€™s an explosive kid –€” he could play a couple different spots, and coach Belichick likes those versatile guys.

“€œHe’€™s had some off-the-field questions attached to him, but he’€™s got a ton of ability and talent. So if Hageman was sitting there, I think he’€™d be really interesting.”

On Saturday, Hageman confessed he didn’€™t know much about the Patriots defensively.

“It’€™s 32 teams — it’€™s a lot to take in,”€ he said when asked specifically about New England against the rest of the league. “œI’€™m pretty sure they run either a 3-4 or a 4-3. I’€™m capable of playing both positions. Just the fact if I had the chance to play for New England, I’€™d be ready.”

Hageman said Friday he tries to emulate Detroit’€™s Ndamukong Suh and Houston’€™s JJ Watt, saying he tries to be ‘€œstrong and disruptive’€ like Suh, but also attempts to bring the speed and technique of Watt to the field.

But the versatility is what really stands out about Hageman: He’€™s played multiple spots on the defensive line, including lining up on the nose, as well as wide against a tackle and tight end.
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Read More: Ra'Shede Hageman, Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, Vince Wilfork
Tom Brady on D&C: ‘Such a disappointment to lose’ Vince Wilfork 10.01.13 at 10:15 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, in his weekly chat with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning, talked about Sunday night’s 30-23 victory over the Falcons that put New England at 4-0 heading into next Sunday’s game against the Bengals, and he lamented the loss of veteran defensive lineman Vince Wilfork.

Wilfork, who suffered an Achilles injury that reportedly is season-ending, has been one of the team’s defensive leaders for almost a decade.

“He’s such a great presence obviously in the locker room, as a leader, as a veteran player, as a guy who’s been in so many big games and big situations. It’s such a disappointment to lose him,” Brady said. “He’s irreplaceable. We’ll have to find a way collectively as a team fill the void. But it’s an unfortunate injury. Injuries are a part of the game. But the season-ending ones are always tough to swallow.”

A five-time Pro Bowler, Wilfork has missed only six games in his nine-plus NFL seasons.

“He makes everybody’s job a lot easier when you play at that caliber and that level that he’s played at for so long,” Brady said. “He’s so dependable, consistent, and he makes his biggest plays in the biggest moments. Someone else is going to have to step in and do that, and I think we’ve dealt with injuries in the past. The league really doesn’t slow down for anybody. I’ve said before, no one really feels sorry for the Patriots. We’re going to have to go out and try to find a win regardless.”

Added Brady: “His message was always taken to heart by everybody. Vince always backed it up on the field. Coach always talked about tough, physical teams, and that was Vince. The other guys, hopefully they’ve watched, the other guys on the roster have watched and learned a little bit about how Vince was able to do some things. And maybe that aspect of what Vince’s leadership has provided will pay off for our team.”

Cornerback Aqib Talib had an impressive game against the Falcons, picking off a pass and coming up with the game-clinching pass breakup in the end zone in the final minute.

“He’s doing great,” Brady said. “He’s been another positive influence on our team since he got here. He’s just been great on the field, great off the field. In the offseason he was a full-time participator, he won the offseason award. I think that really shows what his leadership style is all about, too. And then to go out against one of the best offenses in the league, with that caliber of receiver that he was matching up against all night — Julio Jones and Roddy White — and to play as well as he did was really a huge boost for our team.

“The guys who are as talented as Aqib on our team need to play at high levels every week. That’s what we’re going to need to have. We just don’t have a lot of margin on error right now. Who knows if we will all year, but in order to win these games we’re going to have to really be at our best.”

Added Brady: “I love having Aqib on the team. I go against him every day, and I know how hard it is. He’s really got a unique combination of size and speed and ability to play the ball in the air. His length is impressive. I know a lot of times when I throw the ball in practice and I feel like, ‘OK, I’ve got the completion, I got it over the top of him,’ he’ll jump up and knock the ball away. You go, ‘God, he’s just hard to throw over the top of,’ because of his reach, his wingspan, his ability play the ball at the highest point. And when you make a mistake, he makes you pay. That’s something that I see on a daily basis.”

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Read More: Aqib Talib, Richard Seymour, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady
Report: Richard Seymour dismisses possibility of return to Patriots 09.30.13 at 3:51 pm ET
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Richard Seymour played with the Patriots from 2001 through 2008 before being dealt to the Raiders prior to the start of the 2009 season, but don’t expect him back in New England any time soon.

The defensive lineman, who is now a free agent after four seasons with the Raiders, told Ron Borges of the Boston Herald “No way,” when he was asked if he would entertain the possibility of a return to the Patriots.

Some believe the 33-year-old Seymour — a five-time All-Pro — would be a stopgap for the New England defensive line, which has to deal with a season-ending Achilles injury to Vince Wilfork. Wilfork was injured in the first quarter of Sunday’s win over the Falcons.

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Adam Schefter on D&C: Broncos ‘an unstoppable force’ like 2007 Patriots at 9:56 am ET
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Adam Schefter joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss the indomitable Broncos and a couple of injured Patriots.

Denver won a showdown of possibly the two fastest, most lethal offenses when the Eagles and new coach Chip Kelly visited the the Mile High City. The Broncos won in the fashion that they’€™ve won every game this season: a blowout. Denver moved to 4-0 with a 52-20 win and pushed its point differential to an NFL-high plus-88.

Schefter likened the Peyton Manning-led offense to the 2007 AFC champion Patriots.

‘€œJust think back to what you saw in 2007, you saw an unstoppable force, you saw a team that you knew was going to chew up and spit out the opposition every single Sunday, you saw a team that could not be stop, could not be slowed, a team that was going to put up numbers, stats, yards, everything, and Denver is the same kind of offensive outfit right now,’€ Schefter said.

Manning already has accumulated 1,470 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions in just four games, throwing the ball to a variety of playmakers including wide receivers Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker along with tight end Julius Thomas.

‘€œIt looks like right now they can’€™t be slowed down,’€ Schefter said. ‘€œNow, again, somebody at some point will be able to take them on, I’€™m sure, circumstances change, the year goes on, injuries happen, dynamics change, but right now they look unbeatable.’€

Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork reportedly suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in Sunday night’€™s 30-23 victory over the Falcons, leading to speculation about who the team might bring in to fill the void.

‘€œI think you have to do something there if indeed Vince Wilfork is out for the year, and I don’€™t know if it’€™s true, but I’€™m sure it is if The Boston Globe is reporting it,’€ Schefter said. ‘€œAssuming that he’€™s done for the year, I think you’€™ve got a case there where you’€™ve got a major hole there.’€

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Read More: adam schefter, Demaryius Thomas, Kyle Love, Peyton Manning
What does Patriots’ history of moving on from players early say about Wes Welker’s situation? 09.22.12 at 3:40 pm ET
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With Wes Welker getting less playing time this year than the four-time All-Pro receiver has grown accustomed to, everyone’s looking for answers as to why. Some say it’s the emergence of fourth-year man Julian Edelman, while others wonder whether Welker’s contract status — he’s signed for the year under his franchise tender and will be a free agent at season’s end — has something to do with it.

If they don’t re-sign him to a multi-year deal, Patriots could franchise (the number for receivers is set to increase) Welker again with the intention of keeping him or moving him (a la Matt Cassel). They could also let the 31-year-old walk.

During his appearance with Mut & Merloni on Friday, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King gave an interesting take on what the Patriots might be doing.

“I think they’re preparing for life without Wes Welker,” King said. “I think if you look at the reality of this situation, Bill Belichick has always — I mean always — had the future in mind when he is trying to figure out how he is going to put his team into play for both the present and the future. All you have to do is look back at Richard Seymour. When you look back at Richard Seymour you realize in essence good players can be traded and can be gotten rid of.”

King said that he didn’t think the Patriots would trade Welker this year, but that if someone presented them a strong offer — such as a second-round pick — the Pats would be wise to at least consider it. Either way, Welker departing even after the season would mark a rather abrupt ending to his Patriots career, which started in 2007. If the Pats were to part ways with Welker during the season or after it, it wouldn’t be the first time Belichick has let a big-name player go while they were still conceivably in their prime. In fact, it’s been established that the Patriots believe in parting with players — even popular ones — a year too early rather than a year too late.

Here are a few examples:

Lawyer Milloy

Accomplishments with Patriots: Super Bowl XXXVI Champion, three-time All-Pro, four-time Pro Bowler

Departure: Released prior to 2003-04 season after he wouldn’t renegotiate his contract

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Richard Seymour, Wes Welker,



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