Patriots Notebook 6/18

The rumor mill has been churning since before free agency began, but had been relatively quiet recently. That ended last week when one speculative report surfaced raising the possibility of Asante Samuel being traded to another team in order to resolve his ongoing contract dispute. While that rumor may have lost some momentum on Sunday, questions surrounding the Samuel situation remain.

Asante Samuel and his representatives have a plan, or at least a strategy, they intend to use in negotiations with the New England Patriots. That plan, to get the deal they're looking for, became evident at the start of OTAs.

New England's mandatory veteran minicamp came and went without an appearance by the disgruntled cornerback. On the eve of camp the team's franchise player made his dissatisfaction over progress of the negotiations for a new contract clear.

"I'm not coming to camp," Samuel told The Boston Globe. "I'm not showing up until the 10th week (of the season). I feel unappreciated. They way they are treating me is just wrong."

The Boston Herald then reported that the Jets -- whose head coach, Eric Mangini, is a former Patriots defensive coordinator and secondary coach -- were one of "several teams" that might be interested in meeting Samuel's long-term contract demands that are believed to be in range of the eight-year, $80-million deal free agent Nate Clements inked in San Francisco this spring. But Samuel's agent, Alonzo Shavers, quickly refuted any reported dealings with New York.

"New York has not been in contact with us," Shavers told the Globe.

If and when Samuel does report to the Patriots he's scheduled to earn the $7.79 million cornerback franchise tender for 2007. The tender would boost Samuel's pay dramatically from the approximate $2 million the former fourth-round pick has earned in his first four years in the NFL.

Under the league's collective bargaining agreement the sides are on the negotiating clock and if they are to reach a long-term deal must do so by July 14. If a deal is not reached by then, by rule Samuel can only sign a one-year deal and cannot be extended until after the season.

Rumors surrounding Samuel's future with the team have come and gone. One, involving a possible trade for Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield, lost momentum over the weekend when the 8-year pro came to an understanding with Minnesota head coach Brad Childress. (read the whole story) (Vikings Update). Although Winfield's situation appears to be resolved, the possibility that a trade of some sort for Samuel remains. Until the former fourth-round draft picks finally signs a new deal, Rumors like the Winfield situation, will continue to surface in the Rumor Mill.


--New England Patriots Hall of Famer and Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist Andre Tippett will be inducted into the National Iowa Varsity Club Athletics Hall of Fame at the University of Iowa on Sept. 8, 2007, when the Hawkeyes host Syracuse.

Tippett was named a consensus First Team All-American his senior season and was a two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection. He currently holds the Iowa records for most tackles for loss in a season and career. Tippett led the Big Ten in sacks with 20 as a junior and was a member of Iowa's 1981 Rose Bowl Team as a senior.

--Boston's WBZ-TV announced an agreement with the New England Patriots and Kraft Sports Productions on a three-year renewal of "New England Patriots 5th Quarter."

The renewal secures the exclusive relationship between WBZ-TV and the New England Patriots to exclusively carry live post-game press conferences after every regular season and playoff game. The "New England Patriots Fifth Quarter" is the only instant access program to Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots immediately following the game.

--The New England Patriots Alumni Club (NEPAC), the Patriots Charitable Foundation and the Boston Centers for Youth and Families are teaming up to give over 100 pre-registered 12- to 14-year-old

--The Patriots announced the three final nominees for 2007 induction into the team's Hall of Fame last week. Wide receiver Stanley Morgan (1977-89), tight end Ben Coates (1991-99) and running back Ron Burton (1960-65) were selected by a 27-person nominating committee. Fans can vote for their favorite choice on the team's website through midnight August 1, 2007. The candidate who receivers the most votes will be inducted at the team's annual Charitable Foundation Kickoff Gala on August 27th.

--Addressing the media for the first time during a tumultuous off-season QB Tom Brady had little to say about his pending fatherhood. Brady's former girlfriend, actress Bridget Moynahan, is expected to give birth to the two-time Super Bowl MVP's first child later this summer.
"I don't want to talk about that much guys. I'll just try to stick to why I'm up here," Brady said during his mini-camp press conference. "Life changes for everybody, so there's different things that everyone deals with in their life. I'm excited about this season and this year, and with life and maturing come other challenges as well. I'm looking forward to seeing what this team's all about and looking for a great year."

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