Another player is showing their support for Tom Brady.

Another player is showing their support for Tom Brady.

Even though running back Shane Vereen is now a member of the Giants, the former Patriot is coming out in defense of his former quarterback. Vereen said he had no knowledge of the Patriots’ footballs being deflated.

“I had no awareness of anything that was going on,” Vereen said to the New York Daily News Wednesday. “€œI looked up to Tom. I still do. I think he’€™s a great player. I have the utmost respect for him as a player and as a person. I guess everything will sort itself out.”

Vereen said Brady was one of the first players to reach out to him after he signed with the Giants for three years and just over $12 million.

In regards to Deflategate, some have noted the Patriots’ fumble numbers as they are among the lowest in the league. Vereen said that is a byproduct of hard work in practice.

“We work very hard at our craft,” Vereen said. “We work very hard at holding onto the ball. We did ball drills every day, and I think that’€™s more a product of us and our hard work.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable


FOXBORO — Malcom Brown, like the rest of the 2015 Patriots rookie class, is learning fast.

He’s learning a new system. He’s learning a new way of life. And he’s learning about what Bill Belichick expects on a daily basis from his players.

Brown, the first-round (No. 32 overall) pick of the Patriots, was asked about his first impressions of Belichick Wednesday during his introductory press conference on the Gillette Stadium field.

“Great guy. He’€™s my new coach now and he shows everybody a lot of love ‘€“ tough love ‘€“ and sometimes you need that,” Brown said.

Something else that will come in handy – that Belichick will no doubt emphasize – is the value of wearing ear muffs and blinders whenever the news comes on. Blocking out distractions like Deflategate has always been a trademark of a Belichick-coached team. Brown has had the advantage of not being in tune with controversy as he is focused on doing what it takes to impress as a rookie.

“I haven’€™t really been focusing towards that,” Brown said. “I’€™m just here to work. That’€™s all I’€™ve been focusing on is getting better every day and learning the material and getting better and working hard.”

Belichick let all of his rookies know immediately after the NFL draft concluded that he expects everyone to get with the program and that their college days are over.

As for his boss’s boss, Brown was asked what was it like to walk through the offices with Robert Kraft and Jonathan Kraft on Wednesday for his press conference.

“It was great,” Brown beamed. “Those guys are at the top of the food chain. It’€™s great being around those guys. They sign my paycheck. It’€™s fun when you have somebody that’€™s like that, not just stuck up in an office and won’€™t to talk to you. They’€™re guys that will just sit there and talk to you.”

Despite coming in as a first round pick, Brown also made a point Wednesday that his mind isn’t on replacing Vince Wilfork but rather just working to earn his way onto the roster.

“I haven’€™t really thought about replacing anyone,” Brown said. “I’€™m just here to work. I can’€™t stress that enough, just compete every day and work because nothing is given to you.”

Here were some other takeaways Wednesday:

Q: What jersey number will you wear?

MB: I really don’€™t know right now. All we are in is blue shirts and grey shirts.

Q: With those blue shirts and grey shirts, is it hard to get to know your guys?

MB: It just forces you to learn everybody’€™s name. It forces you to know people because, how are you going to communicate with people you don’€™t know.

Q: How helpful was it to learn a different defensive system last year at Texas in preparing you for the NFL?

MB: It’€™s just reality now. I talked to some guys before I came in here, and they were like, you could be here one day and you’€™re gone the next. That goes for anybody in the building, so there’€™s not one person that’€™s safe. You’€™ve got to just keep your mind open and be adaptable to what’€™s thrown at you.

Q: Have you thought about what it will be like to run on to the field at Gillette Stadium for the first time as a Patriot?

MB: I’€™m not really focused on that right now. I’€™m just out there trying to practice with the guys, getting to know people and making sure I’€™ve got everything down.

Q: Did you have a fan moment when you got here, kind of amazed at the famous players around you?

MB: Not really. I can’€™t be a good teammate if I’€™m focused on all that stuff, this and that. I just go to work. I just use their work ethic to help mine and adapt to theirs because they work hard every day and go to work.

Q: What has Foxboro been like?

MB: It’€™s great. Foxborough is a great place to be ‘€“ quiet, country. You know, I’€™m from the country, so I’€™ll adapt to this area real well.

Q: Will your friends switch allegiances now that you’€™ve been drafted by the Patriots?

MB: Everybody was happy. I’€™ve got to let all that go. That was a one-time thing, the draft day, and I’€™ll just focus everything on coming in here and going to work.

Q: How are your friends going to handle this, though?

MB: They can handle it how they want. I’€™m not with them right now. I’€™m up here with my new teammates and guys that I have to become friends with now. That’€™s all that really matters to me.

Q: Your old coaches say that you’€™re a family man. Where does that come from and how does it help you on the football field?

MB: It just motivates me to play harder and just work harder every day. Family is a real important thing to me because I believe family should stick together. People rely on me, and I want to rise to the occasion.

Q: Have any teammates talked to you about the experience last year in the Super Bowl?

MB: Not really. They’€™re just like us. They come here to work every day and they want us to have the right mindset going into next year. Nobody is really talking about last year; they’€™re talking about the now and the future. They want to work hard, going forward and getting better next year.

Q: Are there any expectations for you to come in and contribute to a championship defense?

MB: Not really. I think the only expectation for me is just to work hard, just as it is for everybody else on the team. They just want everyone to work hard and give it all every day and to leave it all on the field or leave it all in the weight room.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — Humility is one of the first traits any Patriots rookie learns. Even first round picks.

That was evident Wednesday as defensive lineman Malcom Brown was finally introduced to the media in a press conference at midfield at Gillette Stadium.

Patriots No. 1 draft pick Malcom Brown stands between Robert Kraft (left ) and son Jonathan (right) Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Patriots No. 1 draft pick Malcom Brown stands between Robert Kraft (left ) and son Jonathan (right) Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Humility is one of the first traits any Patriots rookie learns. Even first round picks.

That was evident Wednesday as defensive lineman Malcom Brown was finally introduced to the media in a press conference at midfield at Gillette Stadium.

It was Brown who declared in a conference call hours after being chosen by the Patriots that he would show that he would be the best draft pick New England ever made.

On Wednesday, the man who will help replace Vince Wilfork admitted getting some unwanted attention over that bold proclamation.

“There’s a lot that’s been going on with all that but I just can’t focus on it,” Brown said. “I’m not really trying to. I’m just trying to work hard, contribute to the team and do whatever I’m asked to do.”

But Brown said he hasn’t been getting too much grief from his new Patriots teammates since everyone is too busy working and trying to get ready for OTAs.

“Everybody is just really focused,” he said. “There’s a lot to learn. There’s a lot going on right now, with OTAs. Everybody is just trying to learn, get better and work hard.”

Brown said not even Tom Brady gave him any serious grief about it.

“Nah. Actually, I just walked up to Tom, shook his hand and went to work. Everybody is trying to work right now,” Brown said. “It’s easy to learn right now because we’re doing everything stage by stage. Everybody is just trying to really focus and work towards being better [this] year.

“Obviously, there’s not one perfect player in the NFL but you can also work and get better at many things. After practice, whatever my coaches think I need work on that’s what I will take it to [heart] and will spend my own time working on that, after weights or after practice, get my own time in.”

If there’s one theme Brown kept repeating over and over it was the “hard work” needed to acclimate to the Patriots system in Foxboro.

“This is a great honor to be here and just to contribute to a team that’s hard-working and get in the program and work with them,” he said. “You get in here and I got in here two weeks ago and right from the get-go you see the hard work and you see everything that’s thrown at you. You have to grasp it and go.

“I just had to focus and get ready to go to work. Really, it’s just getting in with the guys and everybody is taking you under their wing and everybody wants you to work hard out there. You really have no choice but to work hard because everybody is going to compete.”

The biggest help Brown said he has had so far is from veterans who already know what is expected to get ready to defend the Super Bowl title.

“Very welcoming,” Brown said of the vets. “Everybody wants somebody that will work hard and help the team win games. As long as you have that mindset, everybody is happy with you. Everything is fast but everybody helps and contributes to helping you learn everything and get on track with the vets.

“I just really want to work hard and just become the best player I can be, and wherever may lead me, that’s where it will lead. But right now, just trying to work hard.”

Brown has moved up to New England but his family, which includes his wife and two children are still back in Texas.

“Whenever we have time, I’ll get them up here and we’ll start look for houses,” Brown said. “As of right now, I’m just trying to work and focus on what I’m doing. I have more than me to support right now. There’s a lot of people depending on what I have to do and it motivates to play hard and just to work hard just because I have people leaning on me.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Patriots No. 1 draft pick Malcom Brown stands between Robert Kraft (left ) and son Jonathan (right) Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Patriots No. 1 draft pick Malcom Brown stands between Robert Kraft (left ) and son Jonathan (right) Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Humility is one of the first traits any Patriots rookie learns. Even first round picks.

That was evident Wednesday as defensive lineman Malcom Brown was finally introduced to the media in a press conference at midfield at Gillette Stadium.

It was Brown who declared in a conference call hours after being chosen by the Patriots that he would show that he would be the best draft pick New England ever made.

On Wednesday, the man who will help replace Vince Wilfork admitted getting some unwanted attention over that bold proclamation.

“There’s a lot that’s been going on with all that but I just can’t focus on it,” Brown said. “I’m not really trying to. I’m just trying to work hard, contribute to the team and do whatever I’m asked to do.”

But Brown said he hasn’t been getting too much grief from his new Patriots teammates since everyone is too busy working and trying to get ready for OTAs.

“Everybody is just really focused,” he said. “There’s a lot to learn. There’s a lot going on right now, with OTAs. Everybody is just trying to learn, get better and work hard.”

“Everything is just on the fly here. Everything is on the go. You’€™ve got to learn, but you’€™ve got to take time out of your day to learn the stuff, too. You can’€™t expect to get it all in during meetings. You’€™ve got to be able to manage your time and learn everything.

Brown said not even Tom Brady gave him any serious grief about it.

“Nah. Actually, I just walked up to Tom, shook his hand and went to work. Everybody is trying to work right now,” Brown said. “It’s easy to learn right now because we’re doing everything stage by stage. Everybody is just trying to really focus and work towards being better [this] year.

“Obviously, there’s not one perfect player in the NFL but you can also work and get better at many things. After practice, whatever my coaches think I need work on that’s what I will take it to [heart] and will spend my own time working on that, after weights or after practice, get my own time in.”

If there’s one theme Brown kept repeating over and over it was the “hard work” needed to acclimate to the Patriots system in Foxboro.

“This is a great honor to be here and just to contribute to a team that’s hard-working and get in the program and work with them,” he said. “You get in here and I got in here two weeks ago and right from the get-go you see the hard work and you see everything that’s thrown at you. You have to grasp it and go.

“I just had to focus and get ready to go to work. Really, it’s just getting in with the guys and everybody is taking you under their wing and everybody wants you to work hard out there. You really have no choice but to work hard because everybody is going to compete.”

The biggest help Brown said he has had so far is from veterans who already know what is expected to get ready to defend the Super Bowl title.

“Very welcoming,” Brown said of the vets. “Everybody wants somebody that will work hard and help the team win games. As long as you have that mindset, everybody is happy with you. Everything is fast but everybody helps and contributes to helping you learn everything and get on track with the vets.

Is there one specific teammate or group that has helped Brown with the learning curve?

“There’€™s not just one,” Brown said. “Everybody is contributing to me learning, everybody on defense ‘€“ linebackers, safeties ‘€“ I can talk to anybody and they’€™ll give me advice on something. I just really want to work hard and just become the best player I can be, and wherever may lead me, that’s where it will lead. But right now, just trying to work hard.”

Brown has moved up to New England but his family, which includes his wife and two children are still back in Texas.

“Whenever we have time, I’ll get them up here and we’ll start look for houses,” Brown said. “As of right now, I’m just trying to work and focus on what I’m doing. I have more than me to support right now. There’s a lot of people depending on what I have to do and it motivates to play hard and just to work hard just because I have people leaning on me.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Rob Parker, formerly of ESPN and The Detroit News, joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to discuss his column at FanBuzz.com in which he calls for Tom Brady to admit his guilt in Defla

Rob Parker

Rob Parker

Rob Parker, formerly of ESPN and The Detroit News, joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to discuss his column at FanBuzz.com in which he calls for Tom Brady to admit his guilt in Deflategate and accept his suspension. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Parker said he believes Brady should be suspended eight games, twice as many as the suspension the Patriots quarterback was given by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. He denied having any bias toward Brady or New England that affects his position.

“I don’t know Tom Brady. I have no reason to hate Tom Brady,” Parker said. “It’s just the idea that — and people can pooh-pooh it all they want — when you mess the integrity of the rules — and I believe, in the stuff that I read, that Tom Brady instructed the ball boys to do his dirty work — it makes no other sense whatsoever that a ball boy would take the air out of a football. Even the greatest football quarterbacks have all come and said the same thing: That’s something that would be instructed by Tom Brady. I just think he’s lying and got caught.”

Parker said Brady should have acknowledged from the beginning that he played a role in the deflation, and then it would have been over quickly, with a much lighter punishment. Now he suggests Brady accept his four-game suspension and put this issue behind him.

“Stop trying to save face. Just own up to it,” Parker said. “Bob Kraft has already given up the fight, and I think he was even more stern about it and mad and angry, huffing and puffing, but he gave in. Tom should just give in, accept your punishment and move on.”

Parker acknowledged that the evidence against Brady is circumstantial — indicating the texts from the ball boys were key — but he said that’s enough to convince him of Brady’s guilt.

“People in Boston, more than anybody, should know that, because you just saw in the [Aaron] Hernandez trial, where Robert Kraft testified, a murder trial, he basically lost on circumstantial evidence,” Parker said. “A lot of people get way harsher penalties in the criminal justice system on circumstantial evidence.”


Brady cooperated with NFL investigators to a degree, spending time answering questions but refusing to turn over texts from his cell phone.

“If you really were going to fight for your name and your reputation, you would be willing to work with investigators,” Parker said. “When Tom does not work with investigators and won’t work with them to clear his name, I have an issue with that. Now, people can say whether, ‘Oh, I wouldn’t give up my phone,’ but if my good name and my reputation that I’ve put up all these years is going to get trashed and all I have to do is show them that I don’t have any texts or phone calls from these guys — and the other problem I had is why is Tom Brady, who first claimed that he didn’t even know who the ball boys were — that was his quote, that he didn’t even know who they were. . . . And to have phone calls and texts between those guys. . . . And also the signing of the merchandise as payment and all that stuff. It all adds up when you look at it, because it just makes no sense that the equipment guys are doing this on their own.”

To read Jerry Thornton’s response to Parker’s column, click here. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
Geneo Grissom was taken 97th overall by the Patriots. (Brett Deering/Getty Images)

Geneo Grissom was taken 97th overall by the Patriots. (Brett Deering/Getty Images)

When Oklahoma defensive end Geneo Grissom was taken in the third round of the NFL draft earlier this month by the Patriots, Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was maybe the least surprised guy on the planet.

“When I heard about the pick, it just kind of made sense, because he can do so much and he’s going to a team that asks their players to do a lot,” Stoops said of Grissom, who was taken 97th overall by the Patriots.

“I think that there wasn’t one thing or one game that really stood out. With Geneo, it’s a combination of things that he does that enthralls you — that’s what I ultimately think attracted the Patriots to him,” Stoops added. “Their defensive staff probably saw him rush and play well against Alabama and what he did in the Sugar Bowl as a four- and a three-technique against some of the best players in the country. They saw him stand up this past season. That’s really where his value is, and I know that’s what important to the Patriots, more so than most teams. Just the versatility that he brings.”

Over the course of his collegiate career, the 6-foot-3, 262-pounder didn’t put up overwhelming numbers. At Oklahoma, he played in 39 games with 11 starts, and finished with 88 tackles (55 solo) with 17 tackles for loss, eight sacks and a pair of picks. His finest season came as a junior in 2013, when he had 40 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and one interception.

Instead, as Stoops suggests, Grissom made his name with the Sooners as a versatile presence who can do plenty of things as an edge defender, including work with his hand on the ground as a defensive end or more of a stand-up presence. He played both defensive end and outside linebacker over the final two years of his career, and was named All-Big 12 honorable mention linebacker in his final year with the Sooners while he was making the transition from defensive end to linebacker. He played in 10 of 13 games with starts at linebacker in all 10 of those. (He missed three games because of injury.)

Any way you slice it — defensive end, outside linebacker, hand up, hand down — Grissom is best as a “five-technique outside edge guy, whether he’s standing or with one hand down,” according to Stoops.

Added Stoops: “I think when you look at New England, it’s a defense that offers multiple looks, and Geneo gives you a little bit of that, in that he can contribute at different positions. With us at Oklahoma, he played with his hand on the ground and standing up, and he did both real well.

“He can also drop into coverage, and help work against tight ends. I don’t even see him being an inside guy, but you never know — I mean, [New England] did some of that with [Jamie] Collins last year, moving him around a little. To me, Geneo had his best success outside, but at the same time, with the Patriots, you never know. Those guys can coach him up — Bill Belichick, I’m not telling him anything he doesn’t already know. Geneo can do a lot of different things, and I’m sure Coach Belichick has a lot in store for him.”

The scouting report from Stoops would certainly make him an intriguing prospect. Much of it depends on how he makes the adjustment come training camp, but at this point, it sounds like Grissom would be a part of the conversation when it comes to finding backups for either Chandler Jones and/or Rob Ninkovich. (It’s a colossal leap to put him in the same sentence as Ninkovich, but it’s hard not to look at the multiple skill set and the body type — Ninkovich is 6-foot-3 and 251 pounds, while Grissom is 6-foot-3, 262 pounds — and see some very general similarities.)

At the same time, there’s always the possibility he could also work occasionally on the other side of the ball. Belichick acknowledged Grissom’s work as a tight end at Oklahoma’s pro day. (He had a short stint at tight end as a sophomore before switching full-time to the defensive side of the ball.) Stoops said that while it might be too much to ask him to play both sides as a rookie — he’s going to have enough to worry about trying to get his head around the defensive playbook as a rookie — it’s certainly something to look for down the road.

“He can play tight end now in the NFL physically,” Stoops said of Grissom. “There’s no question that right now he could help the Patriots in goal-line situations as a third or fourth tight end, and he would be a valuable asset in that area.

“But to be successful in the NFL on one side of the ball takes a lot more training,” he added. “I think he could do it physically — there’s no question about that. But it might take away, at least early in his career, what he needs to focus on defensively. He could be really valuable to them on offense, but right now that’s a personnel decision they have to make with him and how much they want to put on his plate at the start of his career. But there’s no question with his ability.”

Ultimately, the arrival of Grissom gives the Patriots another defensive chess piece to consider. Stoops admits he’s a bit biased, but he says Grissom is “walking into a great situation” in New England.

“He’s a laid-back guy who really came into his own the last couple of years,” Stoops said. “He’s someone who matured and realized his talents, and that was really helpful for us. He can take coaching. At the next level, he’s going to be able to play the edge and set the edge for them, and do a good job with that.

“Geneo is just a really good person who wants to do well, and I believe his best football is in front of him.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
We talk to the newest inductee to the Patriots Hall of Fame, linebacker Willie McGinest.