The Patriots signed free agent running back George Winn on Monday.

The 5-foot-10 1/2, 218-pounder out of the University of Cincinnati was a signee of the Texans right after the draft, but was waived last month. The 22-year-old Winn had little success over the first three years of his collegiate career, but really busted out in 2012 as a senior with the Bearcats when he finished with 1,334 yards and 13 touchdowns on 243 carries.

Because there’s no shortage of odd stories during the most fallow period on the NFL calendar, we introduce the latest chapter in the story of the Patriots’ (allegedly) purloined Super Bowl ring.

To recap: New England owner Robert Kraft told a story late last week — one that has been recounted on several occasions — about Russian President Vladimir Putin accidentally/on purpose pocketing Kraft’s ring from Super Bowl XXXIX on a trip to Russia.


With the spring practices -- OTAs and minicamps -- now completed, the 2013 Patriots are starting to come into sharper focus. And inevitably, while there are guys who appear to be roster locks, there are also players who -- at least as of right now -- appear to be on the bubble when it comes to making decisions on the 53-man roster.

It was already known Rob Gronkowski was going to undergo back surgery this offseason — the only question was where and when.

Now, we know: the Patriots tight end is set to undergo surgery on his back next Tuesday in Los Angeles, according to ESPN.

FOXBORO — Ryan Mallett has yet something else to push him along.

For two years, Mallett has stayed on the Patriots sidelines, watching and learning from one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game.

With the addition of Tim Tebow in the quarterback mix in Foxboro, Mallett can watch and learn from another quarterback style. Tom Brady is the surgeon. Tebow is the scrambler/running back. Mallett is the strong-armed gunslinger.

FOXBORO — Speaking after handing out 26 community service awards to honor the memory of his late wife, Myra Kraft, Patriots owner Robert Kraft addressed the acquisition of Tim Tebow.

After acknowledging that he did play a direct role in the signing of the most famous back-up quarterback in the NFL this week, Kraft said he hasn’t changed his feeling that he wants the ball in the hands of the quarterback he believes is the “greatest quarterback of all time” all the time.

FOXBORO — Very rarely is Tom Brady asked a question that catches him in an unguarded moment.

When asked how he’d react to Tim Tebow replacing him as quarterback in a special package during a game, Brady admitted he doesn’t know yet.

“I have no idea,” Brady said before being pressed further on the hypothetical.

Would he be OK with it?

“That’s a very hypothetical question,” Brady smiled. “Maybe we’ll deal with it if it happens.”

FOXBORO — Day 2 of Patriots mini-camp began much the same way as Day 1, just with many fewer media in attendance.

Bill Belichick was asked Wednesday morning how Tim Tebow looked on his first day in Patriots drills on Tuesday.

Boston College coach and former Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio joined Dennis & Callahan Wednesday morning to talk about new Patriot Tim Tebow.

Addazio, who coached Tebow during his Heisman Trophy-winning season at Florida, said he thinks Tebow can be a successful quarterback in the NFL.

FOXBORO -- I came, I saw, I survived. And I think I believe Tim Tebow is actually now a formal member of the New England Patriots.