Chad Ochocinco, a New England Patriot? The controversial wide receiver posted a Tweet on Monday saying “PePe and Bill #EPIC.” (PePe is one of his nicknames.)

Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Ochocinco go back all the way to 2001, when Belichick worked him out as a collegian. They have maintained a friendship over the last few years, and it certainly sounds like the Patriots’ coach as a real admiration for Ochocinco and vice versa.

The Patriots season ended Sunday evening, but they should be busy now that the NFL award season is underway. Pro Football Weekly and the Pro Football Writers of America named its 2010 award winners, all-pro and all-rookie teams on Monday, and there were several Patriots represented. Quarterback Tom Brady was voted the league MVP by the PFW and PFWA, and was also named all-NFL. Meanwhile, coach Bill Belichick was named NFL coach of the year.

FOXBORO -- According to the NFL and the overnight ratings, more people watched the 28-21 Jets win over the Patriots on Sunday than any previous divisional game in NFL history.

 

The reported Monday that an average of 43.5 million viewers were watching the contest that ended New England's season and catapulted the Jets to the AFC championship this Sunday against the Steelers. 

 

FOXBORO -- Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich walked into the locker room without crutches or a brace on his left knee. Ninkovich got the good news Monday after an MRI that he sustained only a strain of the lateral ligament in his knee late in the third quarter Sunday and that it will heal with six weeks of rehab. 

 

FOXBORO -- Patrick Chung stood in front of his locker on Monday and accepted full blame for the botched fake-punt call near the end of the first half that led to a Jets touchdown and 14-3 halftime deficit. Chung said head coach Bill Belichick and special teams coach Scott O'Brien should not be faulted for the call on 4th-and-4 at the Patriots 38.

 

Vince Wilfork stopped by to chat with Dale & Holley from Gillette Stadium on Monday afternoon as part of WEEI's Patriots Monday. Wilfork said the Jets "didn't do anything we didn't prepare for," making Sunday's 28-21 loss that much more frustrating. Wilfork, who did not speak to the media Sunday night because he was afraid he would have said something he would later regret, tried to accentuate the positive.

 

FOXBORO — The Patriots are dealing with the reality of posting an NFL-best 14-2 record only to be eliminated in their first playoff game. 

 

"Each game is a huge challenge, its own game," Bill Belichick said of Sunday's 28-21 season-ending loss. "A better record than any other team had, that was good but that's not the final measuring stick. We all got a lot of disappointment today in the final results.

 

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick and the Patriots now have to wait for a new collective bargaining agreement to be worked out before moving forward with several veteran players such as Logan Mankins and Matt Light. The Patriots coach admitted that this off-season is a little different simply because they will have to wait to see what the rules and guidelines are for signing players, both their own and free agents. 

 

Tom Brady checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning for his final weekly Patriots Monday appearance of the season. Brady completed 29-of-45 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in Sunday's 28-21 loss to the Jets that ended New England's season.

 

Boomer Esiason of CBS Sports made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the Patriots' 28-21 loss to the Jets on Sunday in the AFC playoffs.