Tom Brady will turn 38 prior to the start of the 2015 season. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Tom Brady will turn 38 prior to the start of the 2015 season. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

In hindsight, it’€™s probably no surprise that quarterback Tom Brady was the first guy to show up at Gillette Stadium on Monday for the offseason program. He knows older guys take a little longer to get prepared before a workout.

Unless something unforeseen happens, Brady will enter the 2015 season as the fifth-oldest non-kicker or punter in the NFL — the second straight season where the Patriots’€™ quarterback will have that designation. In addition, he’€™ll be the 10th-oldest player in the NFL. Here’€™s a look at the 10 oldest players in the league this past season, with who they played for and their age as of September 1, 2015. (By all accounts, all the players on this list are expected to try and play in 2015.)

1. Kicker Adam Vinatieri, 42 years old (12/28/72)
2. Kicker Phil Dawson, 40 years old (1/23/75)
3. Kicker Matt Bryant, 40 years old (5/29/75)
4. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck 39 years old (9/25/75)
5. Kicker Jay Feely, 39 years old (5/23/76)
6. Punter Shane Lechler 39 years old (8/7/76)
7. Long snapper Mike Leach 38 years old (10/18/76)
8. Quarterback Peyton Manning 39 years old (3/24/76)
9. Defensive back Charles Woodson 38 years old (10/7/76)
10. Quarterback Tom Brady 38 years old (8/3/77)

Brady became one of only five quarterbacks over the age of 35 to win a Super Bowl with the Patriots’ win over the Seahawks in February, joining a group that includes John Elway, Roger Staubach, Jim Plunkett and Johnny Unitas. If he can win another one this year, he’€™d become the second-oldest quarterback of all-time to win a Super Bowl. Elway was 38 years and 217 days when he won the second of his back-to-back titles. (Brady would be 38 years and 176 days old on Feb. 7, 2016, the date of Super Bowl 50.)

Barring an unforeseen trade, the 2015 season will mark the fourth consecutive year Brady will be the oldest player on the New England roster. (The last time Brady wasn’€™t the oldest player on the New England roster was at the end of the 2011 season, when offensive lineman Brian Waters, defensive lineman Shaun Ellis and running back Kevin Faulk were all on the team at the time, and all older than the quarterback.) While things could change come draft weekend, currently the youngest player on the New England roster is offensive lineman Cameron Fleming, who will turn 23 on Sept. 3. (To put that in perspective, Fleming was nine when Brady and the Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI.) Their current 16-year age difference between Brady and Fleming is the largest age discrepancy on the New England roster since Junior Seau (age 40) and Patrick Chung (age 22) occupied the same roster in 2009.

Of course, older quarterbacks are nothing new for the Patriots. Steve Grogan was 37 years and 103 days when he took his last snap for New England on Nov. 4, 1990. Vinny Testaverde was 43 years and 55 days old when he saw his last action for the Patriots in a playoff win over the Jets on Jan. 7, 2007. And Doug Flutie was 43 years old and 70 days when he delivered the dropkick in the regular-season finale of the 2005 season on Jan. 1, 2005 against the Dolphins.

The good news for the Patriots? Despite his age, the quarterback doesn’t appear to show signs of slowing down. The fact that he was the first player in attendance at Gillette Stadium on Monday shows he’s still got a passion for the game. And as long as there’s enough avocado ice cream in the greater Foxboro area and Alex Guerrero doesn’t leave his side, there’s no telling how long he can keep playing.

With apologies to the punters and kickers, here’€™s a look at the four position players who will enter the 2015 regular-season older than Brady:

Hasselbeck will turn 40 on September 25. He finished the 2014 season as the third-oldest player in the league (behind Bryant and Dawson), and has every intention of returning for the 2015 season, as the Colts have already re-upped him for next year, his 17th in the NFL. Working in relief of starter Andrew Luck last season, the Bay State native and son of former Patriots tight end Don Hasselbeck went 30-for-44 for 301 yards and two touchdowns in four games in 2014.

Leach — the fifth-oldest player and second-oldest non-kicker or punter — is set to turn 39 years old on October 18, 1976. Leach, who has played 15 seasons in the NFL, just wrapped his sixth year with the Cardinals, and re-signed with Arizona last month for 2015. Leach will enter this season second on the NFL’€™s active consecutive-games-played list with 200 straight ‘€” he entered the lineup in Week 10 of 2002 with the Broncos and hasn’€™t missed a game since,

Manning, who despite a sluggish finish at the end of last year, has given every indication that he plans to return for 2015. The quarterback, who turned 39 last month, will be the oldest active starting player in the league for the second consecutive season, and will be at the controls of the Denver offense for the fourth year. He is trying to join Brady as only one of a handful of quarterbacks to try and win a Super Bowl after the age of 35.

Woodson will be 39 on October 7, and has made it clear that he intends to return to the Raiders for 2015. Woodson will be the oldest defensive starter in the NFL for the second straight year — prior to that, the ageless linebacker London Fletcher was the oldest defensive player in the league before playing his final game with the Redskins on Dec. 29. 2013 at the age of 38 years and 224 days.

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.

HENRY ANDERSON

Position: Defensive end

School: Stanford

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 287 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-Pac-12 first team, 2014 Pac-12 All-Academic team, SI.com All-America honorable mention, 2013 All-Pac 12 honorable mention, 2013 Pac-12 All-Academic team, 2012 All-Pac-12 second team, 2012 Pac-12 All-Academic team

What he brings: Anderson, a fifth-year senior, has experience playing several positions on the defensive line and in several different defensive schemes. He is considered a team-first player who is very competitive and doesn’t take any plays off. There are concerns that he lacks power in his legs and will need to bulk up in order to be productive at the NFL level. Scouts like his awareness and intelligence, and his ability to get his hands in the passing lanes when his rush is stopped. He is expected to be more effective as a pass rusher than a run defender, especially if he does not add some strength.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-4

Notes: Anderson led the Cardinal in 2014 with 15 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He played in every game in 2014 and 2012 but missed six in 2013 with a left MCL sprain. At the combine Anderson finished second among defensive ends in the 20-yard shuttle (4.19 seconds) and fifth in the three-cone drill (7.20 seconds). He participated in the 2015 Senior Bowl.

Related articles:

ESPN.com: Pre-NFL Combine Q&A: Henry Anderson

Bleacher Report: Henry Anderson provides rare interior disruption for mid-round prospect

Video: Here’s Anderson recording four tackles and a pass defended against Oregon State in October 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.

Tony Lippett

Tony Lippett is an NFL prospect at both wide receiver and cornerback after playing both positions at Michigan State. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

TONY LIPPETT

Position: Wide receiver/cornerback

School: Michigan State

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 185 pounds

Achievements: 2014 Big Ten Receiver of the Year, 2014 All-Big Ten first team, 2014 Governor’s Award as team MVP, 2011 Big Ten All-Freshman honorable mention

What he brings: Lippett started at both wide receiver and cornerback in the final few games of the 2014 season for the Spartans, and he impressed scouts with his ability to use his height and length to out-jump opponents and win 50-50 battles. His speed has come into question, as well as his ability to make blocks and shed physical defenders. Scouts and experts have noticed his ability to learn quickly and accept new challenges. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein said, “Lippett’s production skyrocketed thanks to hard work, confidence and competitive fire.”

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 3-5

Notes: Lippett was primarily a cornerback as a freshman, switched to full-time receiver as a sophomore and played both ways for the latter part of his senior season. He indicated he prefers receiver but is open-minded. “A lot of teams like me as a corner. A lot of teams like me as a receiver,” he told Sports Illustrated. “It’s kind of like 50-50.” He finished the 2014 season with 65 receptions for 1,198 yards and 11 touchdowns, leading the Big Ten in receiving yards per game (92.2). At the scouting combine he was fifth among wide receivers in the 60-yard shuttle (11.44 seconds) and 12 in the three-cone drill (6.92 seconds).

Related articles:

Sports Illustrated: Wide receiver or cornerback? Tony Lippett drawing interest at both spots

NFL.com: Lippett draft diary

Detroit Free Press: Lippett’s road to success

Video: Here’s Lippett catching five passes for 74 yards in the 2015 Cotton Bowl against Baylor.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler

A source at Gillette Stadium said quarterback Tom Brady was first player in building at 7 a.m. Monday morning for the start of the Patriots offseason program.

Tom Brady was back at Gillette on Monday for the first day of offseason workouts. (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Tom Brady was back at Gillette on Monday for the first day of offseason workouts. (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

A source at Gillette Stadium said quarterback Tom Brady was first player in building at 7 a.m. Monday morning for the start of the Patriots offseason program.

The 37-year-old Brady, coming off his fourth Super Bowl ring and the oldest player on the New England roster, was one of several notable players in attendance for the start of the first week of offseason workouts. It was a group that included tight end Rob Gronkowski.

While teams with new coaches have been back to football since April 6, the Patriots (and the rest of the teams with returning staffs) will open their offseason program this week — the first day they are allowed back in the facility to meet with coaches is Monday. Here are some of the regulations that each team has to abide by when they conduct their offseason programs:

According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each club’s official, voluntary nine-week offseason program is conducted in three phases:

Phase 1 consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.

Phase 2 consists of the next three weeks of the program. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.

Phase 3 consists of the next four weeks of the program. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs.” No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

Article 22 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that clubs may hold one mandatory minicamp for veteran players. This minicamp must occur during Phase Three of the offseason program.
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.

JORDAN PHILLIPS

Position: Defensive tackle

School: Oklahoma

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 329 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-Big 12 second team

What he brings: Phillips is huge and is a “read-and-react two-gap nose with the ability to eat space and free linebackers,” according to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein. He is effective in using his length and could split double teams the farther into the season he went. Rob Rang of CBS Sports notes that he’s surprisingly athletic for a player his size and is only “just scratching the surface of his potential” so far. Phillips has good upper-body strength and has “impressive straight-line speed.” Zierlein pointed out that scouts “consider him a flash player who can dominate a game bit will disappear during stretches” and lacks consistency in certain aspects of his game. Frank Cooney of CBS Sports wrote that Phillips is a gamble because he “shows great strength, quick feet, violent hands … but just as often, he gave little or no effort in college.”

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-2

Notes: Phillips sat out all but the first four games of 2013 recovering from back surgery. He had trouble getting started in college, redshirting in 2011, serving as a backup in 2012 and then undergoing his surgery in 2013. This past season is really the only one NFL teams have to look at aside from basing their decisions on projections. Phillips had 39 total tackles on the year, 20 of which were solo, and seven of which were for a loss totaling 35 yards. He also registered two sacks on the year. At the combine Phillips ran a 5.17-second 40-yard dash, had 28 reps on the bench press, and posted an 8-foot, 9-inch broad jump.

Related articles:

MassLive: Patriots 2015 NFL Draft Prospects: Oklahoma’s Jordan Phillips, a NT for the post-Wilfork era

OU Insider: Jordan Phillips keeps eyes on goal

Dallas Morning News: Bob Sturm’s 2015 NFL Draft profile: What I see in Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma

Video: Here is a video of all of Phillips’ snaps against TCU in October 2014. He had four tackles.

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen

Tony Romo took a jab at the Patriots and the Deflategate controversy Sunday night.

Tony Romo took a jab at the Patriots and the Deflategate controversy Sunday night.

The Cowboys quarterback, who was a presenter at the Academy of Country Music Awards at AT&T Stadium in Texas, was on stage with co-host Luke Bryan when Bryan asked Romo to throw him a football. Romo acquiesced. That’s when Bryan asked “Is this one of those deflated balls?”

“Blake, we’re the Dallas Cowboys,” Romo replied. “We have real balls.”

The Patriots are scheduled to face the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in 2015.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Tim Tebow spent roughly three months with the Patriots in the summer of 2013. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Tim Tebow spent roughly three months with the Patriots in the summer of 2013. (Elsa/Getty Images)

He’€™s back.

According to multiple reports, Tim Tebow has reached an agreement on a deal with the Eagles and will sign a contract on Monday. The quarterback, who has suited up for the Broncos, Jets and Patriots, spent the 2014 season out of football working for ESPN.

The 27-year-old, a former Heisman Trophy winner with the University of Florida, joins an intriguing group of quarterbacks in Philly, as he’€™ll battle Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley for snaps.

Tebow was in Foxboro for the summer of 2013, and had issues with New England while working as one of the backups to Tom Brady. In three preseason games, he was 11-for-30 for 145 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions before being released. However, he earned the respect of many in the locker room, including a nod from the starting quarterback.

“I enjoyed being around him very much,” Brady said of Tebow when asked about him by WEEI shortly after Tebow was cut. “He’s a very talented football player, and to have a chance to spend a couple months with him and kind of become a friend of his was a great thing.’€

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.

JAMISON CROWDER

Position: Wide receiver

School: Duke

Height: 5-foot-9

Weight: 175 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-ACC first team wide receiver and return specialist, 2014 Biletnikoff Award candidate for best receiver, 2014 Maxwell Award watch list for top player, 2013 All-America second team punt returner (FWAA, SI), 2013 All-ACC wide receiver and return specialist, 2012 All-ACC honorable mention

What he brings: As well as being a very successful slot receiver, Crowder carries a lot of value as a return man. Scouts like his ability to make defenders miss and use his quickness to create space. However, he is small for an NFL receiver and will have to overcome some physical hurdles to maintain his effectiveness in the pros. The hope among scouts and experts is that his speed and skills will help make up for what he lacks in size.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 3-5

Notes: As a senior captain in 2014, Crowder caught 85 passes for 1,044 yards and six touchdowns. He finished his career with an ACC record-tying 283 receptions for 3,641 yards and 23 touchdowns. He returned four punts for touchdowns, a school record. He is looking to become the first Duke receiver to be drafted since 1990.

Related articles:

USA Today: Crowder’s Draft Diary

DetroitLions.com: WR Jamison Crowder making a big impression at Senior Bowl

Video: Here are highlight’s from Crowder’s Duke career.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler