FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick was asked several pointed questions before Wednesday's minicamp practice about the Patriots claim Tuesday of former Giants tight end Jake Ballard, who caught the game-winning catch against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in early November. Ballard had to have surgery after tearing his ACL and suffering a microfracture injury in the Super Bowl XLVI win over the Patriots. 

Belichick was asked if there was any "unwritten rules" for claiming another player that was placed on waivers while rehabbing an injury. 

According to agent Blake Baratz via twitter, the Patriots have claimed former Giants tight end Jake Ballard. The Ohio State product, who is recovering from a torn ACL and microfracture knee surgery, was waived by New York after failing a physical on Monday. 

Ballard went undrafted in 2010 and was signed by Giants before eventually becoming a starter in 2011. He had 38 receptions for 604 yards and four touchdowns in the 2011 regular season. He suffered his knee injury during New York's victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. 

FOXBORO -- The clock is ticking toward a deadline to agree to terms on a contract extension with Patriots receiver Wes Welker. The star receiver signed his franchise tag tender in May, guaranteeing him $9.5 million for the 2012 season. Under the terms of the NFL collective bargaining agreement, Welker, his agent David Dunn and the Patriots have until July 16 to reach an agreement on a long-term contract or be forced to wait until next offseason. 

FOXBORO -- Veteran offensive lineman Brian Waters was not at Patriots minicamp on Tuesday as the mandatory three-day session began outside Gillette Stadium. The 35-year-old played all 16 games for the Patriots in 2011 and is a 12-year NFL veteran. Waters is under contract for 2012 and is due to make $1.4 million.

FOXBORO -- On the first day of June minicamp, Bill Belichick said he hadn't given much thought to the release last week of wide receiver Chad Ochocinco. One receiver who will get an opportunity is Jesse Holley, the receiver who won a tryout in Cowboys camp in 2009 after winning a competition on Michael Irvin's reality show. The Patriots signed him this week as part of their roster manuvering. 

Wide receiver Chad Ochocinco has reportedly signed with the Dolphins, according to his official website, the OchoCinco News Network. Ochocinco was cut by the Patriots last week after one season in New England where he finished with 15 catches for 276 yards and a touchdown. For more Patriots news, check out

The Patriots signed wide receiver/special teamer Jesse Holley, offensive lineman Mike Ingersoll and rookie free agent tight end Tyler Urban on Monday.

The Miami Dolphins confirmed on Monday that the club has held a tryout for wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.

CBS Sports reported last week that Ochocinco, released last Thursday by the Patriots after one season in New England, coveted a chance to play in Miami. Ochocinco was born and raised in Miami and owns a home in South Beach. The 34-year-old Ochocinco, a six-time Pro Bowl selection with the Bengals, caught just 15 passes for 276 yards and one touchdown in 2011 with the Patriots.

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The Patriots and Rob Gronkowski have reached an agreement on a six-year, $54 million extension, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The tight end, a second-round pick out of Arizona in 2010, has set numerous records at his position last year, including 1,327 yards and 18 total touchdowns (17 receiving, one rushing) on 90 receptions. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Gronkowski had been scheduled to make a base salary of $540,000 in 2012 and $575,000 in 2013, plus minimal workout bonuses, in the final two years of his rookie deal.

There are conflicting reports about a new contract for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. On Thursday night, Pro Football Talk, quoting a source, reported that Gronkowski and the Patriots have reached an agreement on a new deal that would replace the final two years of Gronkowski's rookie contract. However, PFT also quotes Gronkowski's agent Drew Rosenhaus as saying a deal has not been reached.