It’s Tom Brady‘s 38th birthday and his wife Gisele Bundchen took to Instragram to send a birthday message saying: “Happy birthday my love! We’re so blessed to have you in our lives. Thank you for always giving us so much love. We love you! #Love #Family

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Patriots have claimed guard Harland Gunn off waivers, according to Field Yates of ESPN.

Gunn is a 25-year-old who has been with the Cowboys, Saints and Falcons since he arrived in the league as an undrafted free agent out of Miami. The 6-foot-2, 310-pounder has played in 12 games with one start in his NFL career.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

NFL officials have started to make their annual tour of training camps, and at most of the stops, it’€™s a chance for players and reporters to quiz referees about any new procedures or protocols for the upcoming season.

NFL officials have started to make their annual tour of training camps, and at most of the stops, it’€™s a chance for players and reporters to quiz referees about any new procedures or protocols for the upcoming season. So it was no surprise that when Friday at Steelers’€™ camp, officials met the the media and were asked about the new procedures surrounding treatment of the footballs — from now on, officials will mark each ball specifically and record the air pressure so they then can randomly test a ball in question at a later point if directed. It’€™s a routine that has grown out of the Deflategate drama.

Central Region supervisor of officials Gary Slaughter acknowledged there have been football inflation issues in the past.

“These are man-made products,” Slaughter explained Friday, specifically talking about the footballs. “There is a bladder and a valve. We have all checked them for many years. Sometimes when you check the ball in the locker room right out of the box, there could be a problem. (There) could have a slow leak, and you wouldn’t even know it at the time.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss the return of LeGarrette Blount to Patriots training camp on Saturday, the first day of full pads practice for the defending Super Bowl champions.

The Patriots have announced their training camp schedule for the coming week:

The Patriots have announced their training camp schedule for the coming week:

Monday: No camp.
Tuesday: Practice starts at 1:45 p.m.
Wednesday: Practice starts at 7 p.m., an in-stadium, ticketed event for Foxboro residents and season-ticket holders. (In addition, the 2015 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for Houston Antwine and Willie McGinest on the NRG Plaza outside The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon will start at 5 p.m. That is open to the public.)
Thursday: Practice starts at 1:45 p.m.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Malcolm Butler speaks after Sunday Patriots practice. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Malcolm Butler speaks after Sunday Patriots practice. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — A Super Bowl-winning play won’t keep teammates from picking on Malcolm Butler in training camp.

Butler certainly was made aware of that on Sunday, during the second day of full pads training camp practice.

During 11-on-11 drills, Tom Brady lofted a ball deep down the right sideline for Aaron Dobson. The third-year receiver went airborne over Butler and came down with the ball.

“I know I was in good position,” Butler explained. “The sun out here, it’s shining real bright. I kind of lost the ball, too, at the same time. I think he bumped me a little bit but not to take any credit from Dobson, great play. When you have those opportunities, you just have to make them, you just have got to make them.”

Then later, in a red zone drill, Brady fired a seed to Julian Edelman, who was being defended by Butler. The defensive back lost his balance and fell to the ground. Edelman took the ball, went over to the prone Butler, face down. and placed the ball at his feet.

“I knew something was coming. I knew something was coming so I was expecting that,” Butler said of the Edelman gesture. “He didn’t saying anything. I knew it was just competitive and just playing around. But serious at the same time. Shook hands afterward.”

Message delivered?

“Yessir,” Butler laughed. “It’s going to get you a lot better. He’s got quick, fast get in and out of his breaks. Also, there are couple of other receivers. It’s not just Julian. We have Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, getting work from all those guys.”

Butler can laugh it off because his preparation is intense.

“I have to come out here and play like my hair is on fire. Just play hard, play hard,” Butler said. “We all are leaders. We’re all supposed to be leaders. If I have to do that, I will. But we know we have Logan Ryan, we’ve got Tarell Brown and a couple of vets on the team that have been here longer than me. I’m pretty sure one of those guys will step up. Actions speak louder than words.

“Just coming out and competing against each every day. He’s going hard and I’m going hard. [But] there’s a couple of other receivers and other cornerbacks out there playing hard, making plays. It’s not just me and Julian. It’s a whole unit. The wide receiver unit, whole cornerback unit, safeties. We’re all out here trying to get better each and every day.”

While Edelman didn’t say anything, such was not the case with Brady.

“It makes us feel that he lets us know he want to come after us and get us better, and at the same time get his players better,” Butler said of Brady’s trash talking. “It’s a unit thing, working together and all getting better at the same time.

“As long as I don’t get [schooled] bad, it can go back and forth but it can’t just keep coming. Have to do something about that.”

The Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian noted how Butler has been spotted with tape around his gloves in practice, somewhat like a boxer. The reason? Butler does not want to be called for defensive holding and it reminds him not to grab on.

“Holding, it hurts you. I’m trying to prevent that from happening this season,” Butler said. “It’s just something I suggested. Just wrap my hands up. Not every practice.”

All of the talk about competition makes Butler feel like he’ll be ready for when the bullets are live.

“You’re supposed to be hungry,” Butler said. “The other 31 teams are coming after the champion. You’ve got to be ready because they’re going to be ready for you.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
NEW YORK - APRIL13:  (L-R) NFL Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning attend the Ermenegildo Zegna Flagship store opening April 13, 2004 in New York City.  (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)

NEW YORK – APRIL13: (L-R) NFL Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning attend the Ermenegildo Zegna Flagship store opening April 13, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)

Tom Brady turns 38 years old Monday. How have some of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game done at the age of 38? Here’s our take on the top 10 single-season performances for 38-year-old signal-callers.

1. Peyton Manning: While his team stalled out in the divisional playoffs at home against the Colts, Manning’s 2014 season with Denver was the best year statistically for any 38-year-old quarterback in the history of the game. He finished the season with a 66 percent completion rate, 4,727 passing yards (21st on the list of best single-season performances of all time), 39 touchdowns and 15 picks, to go along with a quarterback rating of 101.5. From a numbers standpoint, it’s hard to argue with this one.

2. Brett Favre: When he was 36 and 37, Favre had miserable back-to-back seasons with Green Bay, completing a combined 59 percent of his passes and throwing 10 times as many picks as touchdown passes. That all changed in 2007, when a 38-year-old Favre enjoyed a career renaissance, completing 67 percent of his passes while throwing for 4,155 passing yards and 28 touchdowns. (It’s the highest single-season completion percentage in the history of the game for any 38-year-old quarterback with at least 16 regular-season starts.) He ended the year with a QB rating of 95.7, but an interception late in the NFC championship game sealed his fate.

3. Kurt Warner: Speaking of a career renaissance, Warner propped up the Cardinals with a terrific 2009 — as a 38-year-old in his last full season in the NFL, he ended up throwing for 3,753 yards, as well as 26 touchdowns and a passer rating of 93.2. The numbers pale in comparison to his work with the Greatest Show on Turf, but are still nothing short of impressive for a 38-year-old nonetheless.

4. John Elway: He was pretty much a shell of his former self — at least statistically — when he reached the age of 38. (That’s not necessarily a knock on him, as the numbers from early in his career are absolutely mind-boggling.) In his final season, he completed 59 percent of his passes, finished with 2,806 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. And while quarterback wins is always a dicey way to measure overall ability, he went out in style with the second of back-to-back Super Bowl wins. He’s the oldest starting QB in league history to win a Super Bowl.

5. Joe Montana: Like Warner, Montana’s last full season as a starter came the year he turned 38 in 1994. With Kansas City, Montana willed the Chiefs to the postseason with 3,283 passing yards, 16 touchdown passes and a 61 percent completion rate, to go along with a QB rating of 83.6. His team lost to Miami in the wild card round of the playoffs.

6. Phil Simms: When you’re discussing great NFL quarterbacks of the 1980s, Montana and Simms are joined at the hip, and in this context, it’s worth mentioning that their respective seasons at the age of 38 were very similar. Like Montana, Simms’ last full year as a starter was as a 38-year-old, and while he wasn’t anywhere near the old form he flashed in his 20s, he was still spry enough to post numbers good enough to make this list: 16 regular-season starts, 62 percent completion rate, 3,038 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and a QB rating of 88.3. That year, Simms’ team lost in the divisional playoffs to the Niners, 12-6.

7. Warren Moon: He didn’t have the cleanest of seasons — he threw more interceptions (19) than touchdowns (18) at the age of 38 — but we felt compelled to put him on this list for a couple of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that he threw for an awesome 4,264 yards. When you’re talking about a 38-year-old quarterback, that’s second only to Manning in terms of overall yardage. He did finish with a 62 percent completion rate and a 79.9 quarterback rating for a Vikings team that lost in the wild card round of the postseason. (Of course, Moon was just getting started. Remarkably, he would play for six more seasons, working as a starter for three of those until he retired in 2000 at the age of 44. He threw for 77 touchdowns and 11,376 passing yards after the age of 38. How nuts is that?)

8. Craig Morton: Craig Morton? Yep. Morton, who played 19 years in the NFL, had one of his best single seasons at the age of 38 with the 1981 Broncos. Two years before Elway became a starter, Morton started 15 games and threw for 3,195 yards while completing 60 percent of his passes. His TD-to-interception ratio was a pedestrian 3:2, but still good enough to allow him to end the year with a 90.5 QB rating. That Denver team finished 10-6, but out of the playoffs. (Interestingly, the only team on this list with three different quarterbacks is Denver. We’re looking forward to seeing what a 38-year-old Brock Osweiler has to offer.)

9. Fran Tarkenton: It’s an apples-to-oranges argument here because it was a different era, but Tarkenton belongs on the list because he and George Blanda were the first real quarterbacks of note to post substantial numbers at the age of 38. Tarkenton did it as a member of the Vikings in 1978, when he started 16 games and threw for 3,468 yards and 25 touchdowns for Minnesota. Of course, he did add 32 interceptions to the mix, a single-season high for any 38-year-old quarterback, but he does deserve some credit for posting those numbers in the 1970s, when the game was was different than it is today. For the record, that Vikes’ team finished 8-7-1, but lost in the first round of the playoffs.

10. Vinny Testaverde: We’ve always had a soft spot for Testaverde, and while he doesn’t have the overwhelming numbers of some of the quarterbacks at the top of this list, the stats were still good enough to warrant a spot. As a 38-year-old with the 2001 Jets, he had a 59 percent completion rate and 2,752 passing yards to go along with 15 touchdown passes and a 75.3 rating. (Testaverde had some elements of Moon’s late-career numbers, albeit on a smaller scale. In all, he played until the age of 44, throwing 34 TDs after the age of 38, including 17 in 2004 as a 41-year-old with Dallas.) Testaverde’s Jets’ ended the year 10-6, but saw their season come to an end with a playoff loss to the Raiders in Oakland.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — If Aaron Dobson is worried about making the Patriots roster this summer he isn’t showing it.

The third-year receiver out of Marshall has had some highlights in his first two days of full pads practice.

He’s also had some missed assignments and mistakes that have resulted in his offensive unit taking a lap around the practice field.

That has really been Dobson’s career with the Patriots in a nutshell.

On Sunday, he raced down the right sideline on a fly pattern and made a leaping catch over Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler and crashed to the ground, still holding onto the ball. On Saturday, he made a leaping, twisting grab over another Marshall product, rookie corner Darryl Roberts.

What is he trying to show in camp?

“That I can play ‘€“ I’€™m here trying to make plays and do what I can do as a receiver,” Dobson said.

As for the pressure of fighting with the likes of Brandon Gibson and Zach D’Orazio for playing time behind Brandon LaFell, Dobson said he can’t worry about what he can’t control.

“I don’€™t feed into any of that,” Dobson said. “I’€™m just out here trying to have fun. I’€™m out here playing football. It’€™s a game, so I’€™m trying to have some fun and make some plays.”

Making any plays was hard for Dobson last year, which was riddled with injuries, including a hamstring that ended his season in Green Bay. He played in just four of the first 12 games as he struggled to come back from a foot injury in his rookie season of 2013.

That year, in a Week 9 win against the Steelers, Dobson had the first 100 yard game of his career. He caught 5 passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Then Dobson suffered a foot injury in week 12 against the Broncos and missed the next three weeks. Still, Dobson appeared in 12 games (started 9) with 519 receiving yards and four touchdowns in ’13.

Safe to say Dobson is having fun just being on the practice field again?

“It’€™s always fun. It’€™s always fun,” Dobson said. “Football is always fun for me. It’€™s a game I’€™ve always played since I was little, so it’€™s always fun. Last season was last year. This is a new year, so I’€™m just trying to do my best this year.

“I feel that the longer you’€™re in a system, the more comfortable you’€™re going to get. The more repetitions you get, the more comfortable you get. This is my third year being in the offense so I’€™m just getting more comfortable as time goes on.”

Dobson insisted Sunday that he’s ready to go full speed and that his offseason conditioning (which including working out in Phoenix with Devin McCourty and Darrelle Revis) has him ready to compete for a job.

“I’€™ve just got to run. You’€™ve got to run routs,” he said. “You’€™ve got to get yourself in shame. I know what to expect now coming into my third year. You’€™ve got to come in in shape and be on top of it.”

Fans watching Sunday will walk away wondering if that catch over Malcolm Butler might be a sign of bigger and better things for Dobson this season.

“There’€™s always a lot of chatter out here,” Dobson said of his exchanges with Butler. “It’€™s all fun out here. We’€™re all teammates, and we look at this as a competition. I guess it helps some guys. It takes some guys out of their game, but it’€™s all fun. Some guys talk, some guys don’€™t.”

Does Dobson?

“Sometimes,” Dobson said with a smile. “It just depends.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia