Several injured Patriots on sideline at OTAs
The Sports Xchange
--New England began the final phase of its
offseason program this week with full-team OTA workouts on the practice
fields behind Gillette Stadium. Media had access to one of the week's
four workouts on Thursday, witnessing 82 of the 89 players under
contract work out. Some players, like Rob Gronkowski (ankle), Brandon Spikes (unknown), Nate Ebner (leg) and Matthew Slater (unknown) did not
take part, but worked with trainers. Logan Mankins (knee), Sebastian Vollmer (back), Brian Waters, Anthony Gonzalez and Daniel Fells were
notable names not seen on the field at all. The Patriots are practicing
without jerseys on, purportedly to help build communication and
camaraderie within the team, seeing teammates as faces and names rather
than simply numbers. The media session was the first of three in the
next few weeks leading up to the team's mandatory minicamp on June
Another Rookie Signed
--Defensive end/outside linebacker Chandler Jones
became the fifth of New England's seven draft picks to sign with the
team when the Patriots officially announced the top pick's rookie deal
on May 23. In the midst of full-team OTA work the only draft picks
remaining unsigned were first rounder Dont'a Hightower and third
rounder Jake Bequette.
--Tackles Stephon Heyer and Brandon Keith and
guard/center Jamey Richard all worked out for the Patriots this week according to Scout.com.
All three have started games in the NFL, Heyer having the most
experience with 35 career starts in time with the Redskins and Raiders.
No Football For Brady?
--Quarterback Tom Brady didn't step on the
football field until he was in high school, as his parents didn't
believe that he was physically ready prior to that age. Now, given all
the new information on concussions and head injuries, Brady's father
wonders if he'd even let his son play at all if that decision had to be
"No, not without hesitation," Tom Brady Sr. told
Yahoo! Sports. "I would be very hesitant to let him play."
Brady Sr. also relayed the tale that he actually
kept his son from the football field until high school in part thanks
to the advice of former 49ers star lineman and current Patriots
preseason game analyst Randy Cross.
"That was 27 years ago," Brady Sr. told Yahoo!
Sports of Cross' advice. "We know so much more now; we know that not
only is the body not physically developed to play football at five, six
and seven, but we know the neck and the brain aren't, either. At that
time, we thought it was kind of heroic to play at a young age. Now,
with the flow of information coming at us, it's obvious the bodies of
little people are not structured to absorb the hits."
The father also admits he still worries quite a
bit about his son suffering a head injury in the game he loves.
"Absolutely," Brady Sr. said. "That never goes
away. The answer is yes, I'm concerned. He claims that he's only been
dinged once or twice, but I don't know how forthright he's being. He's
not gonna tell us, as his parents, anything negative that's going on. I
wouldn't be shocked that he would hide that."
He does take some solace in the fact that Brady
tries to be as physically prepared as possible when he takes the field.
Brady Sr. says that his son, "better prepared than most to withstand
(head trauma)," because of "the way his physical therapist has prepared
him. They do specific exercises on the neck and the head that could
ameliorate some of the impact of the hits."
In the end, Brady Sr. thinks he probably would
allow his son to play football if that decision had to be made today,
but that it would not be a simple answer.
"If he were 14 now, and he really wanted to play,
in all likelihood I would let him," he told Yahoo! Sports. "But it
would not be an easy decision, at all."
Keeping It Light
--Matt Light didn't take long to make the transition from
player to opinionated onlooker. In making the round of the ESPN network
of radio and TV shows, Light offered up some interesting thoughts on
his now former team.
On NFL LIVE, Light played a game dubbed "Patriots
Percentages." So, what percentage does he put on Bill Belichick's
chances to win another Super Bowl?
"We'll go 50-50. The one thing that you hear from
a lot of guys that come in from other organizations is that 'I just
wanted to come here because I just want a shot at winning.' I think
they bank on the fact that because of the system and the dedication of
the coaching staff, the owner and everything else, they're going to
have that opportunity. So, each year 50-50."
Light also spent some time breaking down the
Patriots defense. After praising the trio of Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo
and Patrick Chung, the former left tackle said the unit needs young
playmakers that could get the group off the field on third down.
Finally Light chimed in on Wes Welker's contract
situation and his chances of getting a long-term deal with the Patriots
before this season.
"Can we say zero on that? That's a tough one.
Let's go with five percent," Light said not so optimistically.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Overall, I think they really need
a left tackle." -- Now retired Patriots Pro Bowl left tackle Matt Light
joking about his former team's needs.
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