Stephen A.

Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith of ESPN and Sirius XM Radio checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show on Monday morning to explain his criticism of Tom Brady following the quarterback’s failure to join his Patriots teammates at the White House last week to recognize their Super Bowl victory. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

There has been speculation that Smith was implying race had a role in Brady’s decision to pass on meeting Barack Obama last Thursday, but Smith flatly denied that.

“It’s utterly ridiculous,” Smith said. “You’re going to have bloggers and folks in the media that react to bloggers and they try to use headlines to try to make a story. I never, ever, ever said, nor would I have called Tom Brady a racist. That’s ridiculous. … His reputation has been impeccable. He’s been class personified on every level. And it’s utterly ridiculous for people to go that route. But that’s the age that we’re living in. So be it. I’m a big boy, I can take it.”

Smith said he doesn’t know if Brady’s politics played a role, although in his rant last week he noted that Brady showed up for the three previous ceremonies in the early 2000s when Republican George W. Bush was in the White House.

“What I am saying is, you are the President of the United States of America. You respect the office, and if the man requests you, you show up,” Smith told D&C. “And if you don’t show up you either be straight up and honest and tell us, ‘You know what? This is why I’m not coming.’ Or you show up. What you don’t do is sit up there and say, ‘a family commitment.’ If it was a family emergency or something along that line, that would be different.

“I’m quite sure the owner, Mr. Robert Kraft, had commitments. I’m quite sure coach Bill Belichick, the de facto GM as well, had commitments. They showed up.”

Other marquee players such as Steelers linebacker James Harrison and Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch have missed such ceremonies in the past, but Smith said Brady stands out because of his reputation.

Tom Brady is Mr. Impeccable,” Smith said. “Tom Brady is the one that cares about his image down to the T — the way he walks, the way he talks, the way he dresses, the way he carries himself, the quotes that he gives, how politically correct he has always been. James Harrison will never be accused of that, Marshawn Lynch will never be accused of that.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

Whichever team takes Todd Gurley will probably invest too much.</p>
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

MICHAEL BENNETT

Position: Defensive tackle

School: Ohio State

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 293 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-America third team, 2014 All-Big Ten second team, 2013 All-Big Ten second team

What he brings: Bennett “displays outstanding balance and coordination through contact to work off blocks and keep his feet to be a factor in plays,” wrote Dane Brugler of CBS Sports. He is a “hyperactive defensive tackle with range, quickness and mental discipline,” Frank Cooney of CBS Sports noted. Bennett has violent, active hands and uses them to “snatch and pull guards off their spot,” NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote. While Bennett can dominate “sluggish or weak guards,” he might have trouble facing “true power guards” at the pro level and can sometimes run out of energy when he wastes motion as a pass rusher. When Urban Meyer became Ohio State’s coach in 2012, Bennett was considered stubborn and belligerent, according to NFL.com. However, he turned around his behavior after that year when he “decided he wanted to pattern his work ethic and leadership after former Buckeyes DE John Simon.”

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 2

Notes: Bennett finished 2014 with 41 tackles, 20 solo, and 14 for losses totaling 65 yards. He also had seven sacks on the year and forced three fumbles. At Ohio State’s pro day Bennett ran a 4.98-second 40-yard dash and posted a 35.5-inch vertical jump. Bennett, a team captain and leader, began the 2014 season wearing No. 63, but switched to No. 53 to honor fellow defensive tackle and teammate Kosta Karageorge, who died in November 2014 of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Bennett’s parents were both graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point. As such, he had a disciplined and strict childhood.

Related articles:

ESPN.com: Rise of Ohio State, Michael Bennett no coincidence

Sports Illustrated: Disciplined, down-to-earth Michael Bennett anchors Ohio State D-line

SB Nation: Ohio State’s Michael Bennett will silence the haters

OSU Football: Backbone of the Buckeyes

Video: Here is a Campus Insiders one-on-one interview with Bennett.

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen

This week will mark the 100-day mark since Indy GM Ryan Grigson griped to the NFL about the air pressure in the footballs in the AFC title game against the Patriots, sparking Deflategate.

Colts owner Jim Irsay said he isn't shocked that the Deflategate probe has taken this long to complete. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Colts owner Jim Irsay said he isn’t shocked that the Deflategate probe has taken this long to complete. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

This week will mark the 100-day mark since Indy GM Ryan Grigson griped to the NFL about the air pressure in the footballs in the AFC title game against the Patriots, sparking Deflategate.

In the wake of the uproar, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell appointed Ted Wells as a special investigator to look into the matter, but there’s been no new updates on the situation since the Super Bowl. Goodell told reporters on Friday that Wells has not been given a timeline as to when he needs to complete his probe.

One guy who isn’t surprised that the Deflategate investigation has taken this long is Colts owner Jim Irsay. Speaking with reporters on Friday, Irsay said Wells is a “very thorough investigator” who is going to do his due diligence when it comes to getting to the bottom of what happened.

“I know that they are still finishing up their investigation, and there’s really nothing new to report,” Irsay told reporters on Friday. “It could be a few days, it could be a month or more. I really don’t know. They’re working to be, again, comprehensive and thorough, and when Wells gets done with it, he’ll let us all know.

“He’s going to do what he thinks — sort of in his vacuum, so to speak. He’s not concerned about when he gets the results, how long it takes. He wants to be thorough. So I know he operates that way. So it’s not a shock, but I think everyone has wondered exactly when he’ll come through and let us know what he’s learned.”

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

DEZMIN LEWIS

Position: Wide receiver

School: Central Arkansas

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 212 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-Southland Conference first team, 2013 All-SLC second team, 2012 All-SLC honorable mention

What he brings: Lewis has good length and is expected to be able to make difficult catches with his soft hands. Scouts like his toughness and willingness to battle with defenders and take hits in order to make plays. Some experts are concerned that his level of competition in college does not show his true skill level and the NFL may be too big of a jump for him. He is not considered to be an overly athletic receiver, and scouts are worried that Lewis may rely too heavily on his hands to make plays instead of strength, speed, quickness or athleticism. However, if he is given time to adjust to the competition and is willing to learn, Lewis might become a consistent pro receiver.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 4-5

Notes: Lewis improved on his combine performance at Central Arkansas’ pro day, when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds and recorded a vertical jump of 37 inches and a broad jump of 10 feet, 4 inches. He missed one game due to an undisclosed injury in 2013 but has not missed time throughout his career. Lewis finished the 2014 season with 64 receptions for 945 yards and nine touchdowns, all of which were career highs.

Related articles:

Pro Player Insiders: Lewis cherishes combine opportunity

NFL.com: Lewis on draft’s All-Underrated team

Video: Here are Lewis’ touchdown catches from 2014.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

BRANDON SCHERFF

Position: Offensive tackle

School: Iowa

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 319 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-American (consensus), 2014 Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year in the Big Ten, 2014 All-Big Ten first team, 2014 Outland Trophy winner for best college football interior lineman, 2014 Team MVP, offense, 2014 Coaches Appreciation Award, 2013 All-Big Ten first team (coaches), 2013 All-Big Ten second team (media), 2013 Team Hustle Award, offense, 2013 All-America second team (FWAA), 2011 Big Ten All-Freshman team

What he brings: NFL.com said that Scherff is a “weight-room star who can lift a house.” His upper-body strength, hand placement and good knee bend make him “a force in the running game,” according to CBS Sports. His movement is composed and efficient and he is perceived as more powerful than explosive. Sometimes he “will default to sumo-style power push rather than leg churning,” per NFL.com. He isn’t necessarily a consistent finisher of blocks, but certainly has the ability to be one. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote that Scherff may be better suited at guard than tackle, which is a common debate among scouts.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1

Notes: Scherff was a team captain in 2014. As a sophomore, he suffered a broken fibula and dislocated ankle, which makes those favoring him inside concerned he might not have the footwork needed to stop NFL pass rushers, according to CBS Sports. He took a while to pick his position as in high school, Scherff posted 1,200 passing yards as a sophomore, 200 receiving yards and five touchdowns as a junior, and then led his team in tackling and blocking the next year.

Related articles:

MMQB: The Legend of Brandon Scherff

Kansas City Star: Iowa lineman Brandon Scherff’s toughness, weight-room exploits have NFL teams’ attention

Video: Here’s a compilation of Scherff highlights.

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen
Daniel Jeremiah calls NFL Sunday to preview the NFL Draft and discuss what the New England Patriots will be looking to do starting Thursday night.
In hour 2 of NFL Sunday, we get more draft talk from Price and Dickerson. They discuss if the Pats will trade up or down at all or what they can get by staying put. Also, what does the RB position look like for New England? We hear from Daniel Jeremiah from the NFL Network and NFL.com and get his thoughts on the NFL draft and what the Patriots will do. Finally, the boys talk about the Greg Hardy situation in Dallas.