Rooke_JohnThinking out loud . . . while wondering whatever happened to John Linehan …

— The NFL’s investigation into Deflategate against the Patriots? It’s the first league investigation of improperly deflated balls that didn’t involve use of PEDs. Just sayin’.

— I get the integrity/fair play/honesty part. But having covered the NFL for more than 30 years now, I also understand what people do to gain an edge. The Patriots push the envelope as much as any team or organization I’ve ever seen … maybe as much as I saw the Oklahoma Sooners push it in the 1970s and ‘€˜80s under Barry Switzer. They were real, straight-out-of-the-West outlaws. It doesn’t make it right, but few teams with a winning mentality want to be left behind.

— If there was a willful violation of the rules that occurred, that’s one thing. If someone within the Patriots organization purposely flaunted the rulebook, well, they’ll pay. It doesn’t mean the players are all cheaters, or the coaches, or the announcers or the fans. I don’t believe we’ll ever get the exact answer we’re looking for. In this case, it makes the current mob mentality of the media a real embarrassment … and a byproduct of the digital era of immediacy in which we currently live. We want answers, and we want them now … in 140 characters or less. The truth, and the search for the truth be damned.

— It seems that most in the national media throwing their darts toward New England have forgotten a few things along the way. The Colts, at one time, allegedly piped in crowd noise to their stadium for an advantage. There also were real strong thoughts on Indy purposely losing in 2011 to gain an advantage in the Andrew Luck derby. How does the old saying go? Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones? Make note, NFL. Stupid is as stupid does.

— The national pundits have proven themselves to be nothing more than sanctimonious windbags this week, in reacting to this story. Forfeit the Super Bowl? Year-long suspensions? Over two pounds of air in a football? Yeah, let’s make this more important than PED use in the sport or domestic violence. Guys like Michael Wilbon and Stephen A. Smith — who I have respected as reporters and columnists for a long time — are simply throwing these things out there for shock factor … to gain ratings and notoriety as the media helps stir this story into a big deal.

— And the former football players’ comments on all of this? It’s laughable. For instance, former Jacksonville QB Mark Brunell — who lost an AFC title game to NE in 1996 — said he “did not believe what Tom [Brady] had to say.” Why don’t you at least have the guts to call him a liar? Jerome Bettis, who also lost a couple of big ones to the Patriots as a Pittsburgh Steeler, and whose teams reportedly had rampant PED use throughout the roster: “I’m disappointed in you, Tom Brady.” Really, fellas? I’m disappointed in the four-letter network that gave you a voice.

— Get a clue. We don’t like it because it affects us. But it is a story because of Spygate. It is a story because of the tuck rule. It is a story even because of the 1982 Snow Plow Game. It is a story because the Patriots win — a lot — especially over the past 20 years. It’s a story because everyone loves to see the king fall on his crown, so to speak, whenever possible. Cheating? If I wanted to cheat, I’d do more than just deflate some footballs … and I think the same holds true for Bill Belichick. My guess is he knows exactly what other teams do during the course of a season — to his team and others — but he’s not a rat. Like former J-E-T-S coach Eric Mangini was a few years ago, and like some in other organizations are now.

— And of course, the Seahawks have said the Deflategate issue has no bearing on them or on their preparations for Super Bowl XLIX. If anything, they’ve got to be slightly worried about the uproar over two pounds of air. They’re not dumb … the Patriots will use any slight they can get for the old “boulder on the shoulder” mentality.

— Lost in the uproar over whether Tom Brady likes his (foot)balls soft or not … the Patriots were alarmingly efficient in their beatdown of the Colts. Save for the second-quarter 93-yard TD drive Indy had, that’s as sharp as New England has been on both sides of the ball in some time. Maybe all year. Add in a little Deflategate controversy for good measure and you could have a fairly volatile mixture brewing in the Patriots locker room for Glendale, Arizona.

— Was anyone else disappointed we didn’t learn more from either Belichick or Brady when they met the media horde on Thursday? Here’s what I learned: They were truly stunned by the uproar over deflated footballs. And that the NFL is in no hurry to solve this mystery, apparently preferring to let the Patriots, and Patriots fans, twist in the wind as some sort of punishment for just being “the Patriots.”

— Here’s a real shocker: Every part of the country, outside of New England, doubts what Belichick and Brady had to say this week was truthful. The only believers come from New England. Wow, thanks for that poll ESPN, I had no idea. Brilliant.

— How do you think Pete Carroll views this circus? He’s got his own motivation for the Seahawks playing well next week, as he gets to face the team that fired him in order to hire Belichick. Although, it’s probably the best thing that ever happened to him and his career. And you don’t think he learned a little something about, um, cheating while coaching at USC? Please. He just beat the sheriff out of Hollywood.

— And by the way, thanks to Seahawks DB Jeremy Lane … for the segue into normalcy with some good ol’-fashioned bulletin board material. On Rob Gronkowski: “I actually don’t think he’s that good. He’s OK.” Bless you. I’m now a fan.

— If you’re not into the high-ticket-price thing for the Super Bowl, the Patriots Charitable Foundation is holding raffle for two fans to win a VIP trip to Arizona for the game. A day-in, day-out affair … but nevertheless, tickets to see the game plus passes to a pregame tailgate and postgame party. The site www.patriots.com/community is the place to get them, for 10 bucks.

— There will be a send-off rally for the Patriots at Boston City Hall Plaza Monday at 11 a.m., sponsored by Mayor Martin Walsh. Robert Kraft will be there, as will Bill Belichick and captains Tom Brady, Dan Connolly, Vince Wilfork, Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater. I also will be there, hosting the event. Should be interesting, at least. Bring ya’ popcorn.

— Not for nuthin’, but I saw last week where Walsh said he’d be open to a public referendum on the 2024 Olympic Games being held in his city and the surrounding area. Surprisingly, polls seem to indicate a bit more than just a passing interest from residents in hosting the Olympics. Perhaps these folks have already rented out their homes for the month and have planned their escape routes?

— Very, very sorry to learn of the passing of Tom Silvestri, who had been on the Friars’ game day scoring table crew at the Dunk as the shot clock operator. Silvestri was a member of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials and the RI Softball Association and served as umpire-in-chief for Pony League, ECAC and ASA softball for more than 30 years. He was a fixture at local basketball games, men and women, as a timekeeper … and as a friend to many.

— RealGM.com reported this week that PC’s Tyler Harris is turning pro after this season. He is scheduled to graduate in May but has one more year of eligibility left. Harris’ father told SNY he hasn’t made that decision yet, and Harris himself said about the report, “That never came from me.” Time of course, will tell this tale.

— It’s becoming more and more obvious as the days go by that Kris Dunn is special. LaDontae Henton is getting a little national run as well, named as a finalist for the Lute Olson award that honors the nation’s top senior player. But for the Friars to be special (again?) this season, they need balance … and need another scorer to step up every game.

— Is that player Tyler Harris? Carson Desrosiers? Or someone else? I’d say all of the above. It depends upon players buying into what Ed Cooley is teaching — aggressive, passionate play.

— PC got some of that at Creighton and gained a season sweep of the Blue Jays in the process. Have you looked at the schedule coming up? At St. John’s, at Georgetown, at Xavier and then home to Villanova? Whoa.

— That the Friars managed to beat Xavier in overtime, 69-66, Thursday night was another step toward building intestinal fortitude, if nothing else. Because they had that game the whole way … and literally threw it away with some poor passes late in the second half to breathe life into the Musketeers’ chances. It was so bad, it looked like those passes were purposely thrown away. Was the ball underinflated?

— Ed Cooley’s next radio show is Wednesday at Hannoush Jewelers on Bald Hill Road in Warwick, Rhode Island. It will be a 7 p.m. broadcast on 103.7 FM and Friars.com.

— Had the good fortune of visiting with Buddy Hunter (and his friend, Al Miller) while in Omaha last week. Buddy was a second baseman and utility infielder in the Red Sox organization in the ‘€˜70s and played on the 1975 World Series team. He also played for the PawSox in the late ’70s, where my connection to him comes into play. He’s been a longtime friend of Pawtucket Tolman High School athletic director Frank Laliberte, who introduced us 15 years ago. Buddy is nonstop action, even for someone who is now 67 years old. While having dinner the night before the Friars played Creighton, he noticed the Blue Jays basketball team was in the same restaurant, and he and his buddy Al took my Big East championship ring for a little ride to go over and say “hello.”

— Speaking of Tolman High School … the boys basketball team at midweek stood 12-2 overall, 7-1 in Division 2 play. There are 10 teams in the state with either one loss or no losses in the three divisions. Should be one heck of a Rhode Island state tournament season coming up in another month.

— Don’t look now, but Bryant is right in the thick of things in the NEC basketball race again, after taking some lumps in nonleague play. Dyami Starks continues to lead the way, while Joe O’Shea also is scoring double figures per game. Like PC, the Bulldogs need another reliable third scoring option if they’re to be a threat for the postseason.

— Former Memphis forward Kuran Iverson reportedly was on the URI campus this week, checking out Rhody — while URI likewise was checking him out — as a possible hoop destination. Iverson was suspended two games on Jan. 6 for a violation of team rules, and he followed that up by retweeting criticism pointed at coach Josh Pastner. Can’t imagine that sort of behavior would sit well with Dan Hurley, but hey, 6-foot-9 athletic forwards hardly grow on trees. Especially forwards from Connecticut who were ranked as high as 28th nationally with the Class of 2013. He also played with current URI freshman Jared Terrell on the Expressions Elite AAU team and could be eligible to play again as soon as next December if a transfer becomes official.

— Also hearing rumbling from Kingston there may be some interest in bringing 6-10 Jordan Hare back into the fold. Again, I have a hard time seeing that, especially since he allegedly left the team (for a second time) after a shouting match with Hurley during a preseason scrimmage with Harvard. But again, as the late, great Al McGuire once said, you can’t teach height.

— Here’s a story you don’t see every day: Marquette has forward Wally Ellenson sitting on its bench this season as a transfer from Minnesota. Yet he’s a two-time, NCAA all-American in the high jump and eligible to participate immediately for the Golden Eagles track and field team. This past week, Ellenson high-jumped 7 feet, 5.75 inches, a personal best that qualifies him for world outdoor events and is the third-highest jump on the planet among current competitors. His younger brother, Henry, is the prime pick on Marquette’s highly rated recruiting class for next year.

— It’s gotta be killing Duke-loving ESPN that Fox Sports 1 has the Blue Devils-St. John’s game Saturday as Coack K goes for his 1,000th career win at Madison Square Garden. Don’t worry, though, Jim Boeheim will take care of them at some point, as he also approaches the historic number in the next year or two.

— Dick’s Sporting Goods sent a note this week to tell me that nationally Peyton Manning‘s jersey still is the No. 1 seller among all NFL jerseys. Andrew Luck‘s is No. 2. Tom Brady’s is fifth, right behind Russell Wilson‘s and just ahead of Johnny Manziel’s. What is wrong with you people?

— Speaking of clothing, my buddy Statbeast sez the most embarrassing thing for Mrs. Statbeast is to find another woman wearing the same dress at a formal party. So how come we don’t hear men say, “Oh my, there’s another man wearing a black tux. Get me out of here!”

— He always said he wanted to get into coaching, and he’s now getting that chance. Former Friars guard John Linehan, a former Defensive Player of the Year in the Big East and the current NCAA career steals record-holder, now is on Fran Dunphy’s coaching staff at Temple as a graduate assistant. Linehan is a guy, PC fans know, whom Kobe Bryant once said was the toughest defender he had ever faced. They both came from the Chester, Pennsylvania, area and once had been AAU teammates. Linehan’s NCAA steals record is in jeopardy, with VCU’s Briante Weber closing in on a mark Linehan has held for 14 years. He joined Dunphy’s staff this past fall and is working on a graduate degree after wrapping up a pro career that saw him play mostly in France but also in the NBA’s D-League and for the Harlem Globetrotters.

— Literally dozens of emails, tweets and Facebook posts came in this week on Deflategate, and I’ve read every one of them. Jose in Raleigh, North Carolina, sent this tweet that summed up a majority of the feelings felt by many fans: “To be honest, all this talk about Deflategate and my team involved just took the happiness out of the SB, really sad.” Jose, I get your disappointment. I’m of the opinion this is turning into a bit of a modern-day witch hunt, and for the NFL to take its sweet time while the team twists in the wind, well, let’s just say this has been a season of major “fails” for the league. Let me borrow a phrase from another rogue, former NFL antagonist, the RaidersAl Davis: “Just win, baby.” That’s all there is left to do.

— Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘€˜em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to jrooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster, and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke.

— Don’t forget to join Scott Cordischi and me on Providence’s 103.7 FM every Saturday from 7-9 a.m. for Southern New England Sports Saturday! Call in at 401-737-1287 or text us at 37937.

Blog Author: 
John Rooke

Rooke_JohnThinking out loud . . . while wondering whatever happened to John Linehan …

— The NFL’s investigation into Deflategate against the Patriots? It’s the first league investigation of improperly deflated balls that didn’t involve use of PEDs. Just sayin’.

— I get the integrity/fair play/honesty part. But having covered the NFL for more than 30 years now, I also understand what people do to gain an edge. The Patriots push the envelope as much as any team or organization I’ve ever seen … maybe as much as I saw the Oklahoma Sooners push it in the 1970s and ‘€˜80s under Barry Switzer. They were real, straight-out-of-the-West outlaws. It doesn’t make it right, but few teams with a winning mentality want to be left behind.

— If there was a willful violation of the rules that occurred, that’s one thing. If someone within the Patriots organization purposely flaunted the rulebook, well, they’ll pay. It doesn’t mean the players are all cheaters, or the coaches, or the announcers or the fans. I don’t believe we’ll ever get the exact answer we’re looking for. In this case, it makes the current mob mentality of the media a real embarrassment … and a byproduct of the digital era of immediacy in which we currently live. We want answers, and we want them now … in 140 characters or less. The truth, and the search for the truth be damned.

— It seems that most in the national media throwing their darts toward New England have forgotten a few things along the way. The Colts, at one time, allegedly piped in crowd noise to their stadium for an advantage. There also were real strong thoughts on Indy purposely losing in 2011 to gain an advantage in the Andrew Luck derby. How does the old saying go? Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones? Make note, NFL. Stupid is as stupid does.

— The national pundits have proven themselves to be nothing more than sanctimonious windbags this week, in reacting to this story. Forfeit the Super Bowl? Year-long suspensions? Over two pounds of air in a football? Yeah, let’s make this more important than PED use in the sport or domestic violence. Guys like Michael Wilbon and Stephen A. Smith — who I have respected as reporters and columnists for a long time — are simply throwing these things out there for shock factor … to gain ratings and notoriety as the media helps stir this story into a big deal.

— And the former football players’ comments on all of this? It’s laughable. For instance, former Jacksonville QB Mark Brunell — who lost an AFC title game to NE in 1996 — said he “did not believe what Tom [Brady] had to say.” Why don’t you at least have the guts to call him a liar? Jerome Bettis, who also lost a couple of big ones to the Patriots as a Pittsburgh Steeler, and whose teams reportedly had rampant PED use throughout the roster: “I’m disappointed in you, Tom Brady.” Really, fellas? I’m disappointed in the four-letter network that gave you a voice.

— Get a clue. We don’t like it because it affects us. But it is a story because of Spygate. It is a story because of the tuck rule. It is a story even because of the 1982 Snow Plow Game. It is a story because the Patriots win — a lot — especially over the past 20 years. It’s a story because everyone loves to see the king fall on his crown, so to speak, whenever possible. Cheating? If I wanted to cheat, I’d do more than just deflate some footballs … and I think the same holds true for Bill Belichick. My guess is he knows exactly what other teams do during the course of a season — to his team and others — but he’s not a rat. Like former J-E-T-S coach Eric Mangini was a few years ago, and like some in other organizations are now.

— And of course, the Seahawks have said the Deflategate issue has no bearing on them or on their preparations for Super Bowl XLIX. If anything, they’ve got to be slightly worried about the uproar over two pounds of air. They’re not dumb … the Patriots will use any slight they can get for the old “boulder on the shoulder” mentality.

— Lost in the uproar over whether Tom Brady likes his (foot)balls soft or not … the Patriots were alarmingly efficient in their beatdown of the Colts. Save for the second-quarter 93-yard TD drive Indy had, that’s as sharp as New England has been on both sides of the ball in some time. Maybe all year. Add in a little Deflategate controversy for good measure and you could have a fairly volatile mixture brewing in the Patriots locker room for Glendale, Arizona.

— Was anyone else disappointed we didn’t learn more from either Belichick or Brady when they met the media horde on Thursday? Here’s what I learned: They were truly stunned by the uproar over deflated footballs. And that the NFL is in no hurry to solve this mystery, apparently preferring to let the Patriots, and Patriots fans, twist in the wind as some sort of punishment for just being “the Patriots.”

— Here’s a real shocker: Every part of the country, outside of New England, doubts what Belichick and Brady had to say this week was truthful. The only believers come from New England. Wow, thanks for that poll ESPN, I had no idea. Brilliant.

— How do you think Pete Carroll views this circus? He’s got his own motivation for the Seahawks playing well next week, as he gets to face the team that fired him in order to hire Belichick. Although, it’s probably the best thing that ever happened to him and his career. And you don’t think he learned a little something about, um, cheating while coaching at USC? Please. He just beat the sheriff out of Hollywood.

— And by the way, thanks to Seahawks DB Jeremy Lane … for the segue into normalcy with some good ol’-fashioned bulletin board material. On Rob Gronkowski: “I actually don’t think he’s that good. He’s OK.” Bless you. I’m now a fan.

— If you’re not into the high-ticket-price thing for the Super Bowl, the Patriots Charitable Foundation is holding raffle for two fans to win a VIP trip to Arizona for the game. A day-in, day-out affair … but nevertheless, tickets to see the game plus passes to a pregame tailgate and postgame party. The site www.patriots.com/community is the place to get them, for 10 bucks.

— There will be a send-off rally for the Patriots at Boston City Hall Plaza Monday at 11 a.m., sponsored by Mayor Martin Walsh. Robert Kraft will be there, as will Bill Belichick and captains Tom Brady, Dan Connolly, Vince Wilfork, Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater. I also will be there, hosting the event. Should be interesting, at least. Bring ya’ popcorn.

— Not for nuthin’, but I saw last week where Walsh said he’d be open to a public referendum on the 2024 Olympic Games being held in his city and the surrounding area. Surprisingly, polls seem to indicate a bit more than just a passing interest from residents in hosting the Olympics. Perhaps these folks have already rented out their homes for the month and have planned their escape routes?

— Very, very sorry to learn of the passing of Tom Silvestri, who had been on the Friars’ game day scoring table crew at the Dunk as the shot clock operator. Silvestri was a member of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials and the RI Softball Association and served as umpire-in-chief for Pony League, ECAC and ASA softball for more than 30 years. He was a fixture at local basketball games, men and women, as a timekeeper … and as a friend to many.

— RealGM.com reported this week that PC’s Tyler Harris is turning pro after this season. He is scheduled to graduate in May but has one more year of eligibility left. Harris’ father told SNY he hasn’t made that decision yet, and Harris himself said about the report, “That never came from me.” Time of course, will tell this tale.

— It’s becoming more and more obvious as the days go by that Kris Dunn is special. LaDontae Henton is getting a little national run as well, named as a finalist for the Lute Olson award that honors the nation’s top senior player. But for the Friars to be special (again?) this season, they need balance … and need another scorer to step up every game.

— Is that player Tyler Harris? Carson Desrosiers? Or someone else? I’d say all of the above. It depends upon players buying into what Ed Cooley is teaching — aggressive, passionate play.

— PC got some of that at Creighton and gained a season sweep of the Blue Jays in the process. Have you looked at the schedule coming up? At St. John’s, at Georgetown, at Xavier and then home to Villanova? Whoa.

— That the Friars managed to beat Xavier in overtime, 69-66, Thursday night was another step toward building intestinal fortitude, if nothing else. Because they had that game the whole way … and literally threw it away with some poor passes late in the second half to breathe life into the Musketeers’ chances. It was so bad, it looked like those passes were purposely thrown away. Was the ball underinflated?

— Ed Cooley’s next radio show is Wednesday at Hannoush Jewelers on Bald Hill Road in Warwick, Rhode Island. It will be a 7 p.m. broadcast on 103.7 FM and Friars.com.

— Had the good fortune of visiting with Buddy Hunter (and his friend, Al Miller) while in Omaha last week. Buddy was a second baseman and utility infielder in the Red Sox organization in the ‘€˜70s and played on the 1975 World Series team. He also played for the PawSox in the late ’70s, where my connection to him comes into play. He’s been a longtime friend of Pawtucket Tolman High School athletic director Frank Laliberte, who introduced us 15 years ago. Buddy is nonstop action, even for someone who is now 67 years old. While having dinner the night before the Friars played Creighton, he noticed the Blue Jays basketball team was in the same restaurant, and he and his buddy Al took my Big East championship ring for a little ride to go over and say “hello.”

— Speaking of Tolman High School … the boys basketball team at midweek stood 12-2 overall, 7-1 in Division 2 play. There are 10 teams in the state with either one loss or no losses in the three divisions. Should be one heck of a Rhode Island state tournament season coming up in another month.

— Don’t look now, but Bryant is right in the thick of things in the NEC basketball race again, after taking some lumps in nonleague play. Dyami Starks continues to lead the way, while Joe O’Shea also is scoring double figures per game. Like PC, the Bulldogs need another reliable third scoring option if they’re to be a threat for the postseason.

— Former Memphis forward Kuran Iverson reportedly was on the URI campus this week, checking out Rhody — while URI likewise was checking him out — as a possible hoop destination. Iverson was suspended two games on Jan. 6 for a violation of team rules, and he followed that up by retweeting criticism pointed at coach Josh Pastner. Can’t imagine that sort of behavior would sit well with Dan Hurley, but hey, 6-foot-9 athletic forwards hardly grow on trees. Especially forwards from Connecticut who were ranked as high as 28th nationally with the Class of 2013. He also played with current URI freshman Jared Terrell on the Expressions Elite AAU team and could be eligible to play again as soon as next December if a transfer becomes official.

— Also hearing rumbling from Kingston there may be some interest in bringing 6-10 Jordan Hare back into the fold. Again, I have a hard time seeing that, especially since he allegedly left the team (for a second time) after a shouting match with Hurley during a preseason scrimmage with Harvard. But again, as the late, great Al McGuire once said, you can’t teach height.

— Here’s a story you don’t see every day: Marquette has forward Wally Ellenson sitting on its bench this season as a transfer from Minnesota. Yet he’s a two-time, NCAA all-American in the high jump and eligible to participate immediately for the Golden Eagles track and field team. This past week, Ellenson high-jumped 7 feet, 5.75 inches, a personal best that qualifies him for world outdoor events and is the third-highest jump on the planet among current competitors. His younger brother, Henry, is the prime pick on Marquette’s highly rated recruiting class for next year.

— It’s gotta be killing Duke-loving ESPN that Fox Sports 1 has the Blue Devils-St. John’s game Saturday as Coack K goes for his 1,000th career win at Madison Square Garden. Don’t worry, though, Jim Boeheim will take care of them at some point, as he also approaches the historic number in the next year or two.

— Dick’s Sporting Goods sent a note this week to tell me that nationally Peyton Manning‘s jersey still is the No. 1 seller among all NFL jerseys. Andrew Luck‘s is No. 2. Tom Brady’s is fifth, right behind Russell Wilson‘s and just ahead of Johnny Manziel’s. What is wrong with you people?

— Speaking of clothing, my buddy Statbeast sez the most embarrassing thing for Mrs. Statbeast is to find another woman wearing the same dress at a formal party. So how come we don’t hear men say, “Oh my, there’s another man wearing a black tux. Get me out of here!”

— He always said he wanted to get into coaching, and he’s now getting that chance. Former Friars guard John Linehan, a former Defensive Player of the Year in the Big East and the current NCAA career steals record-holder, now is on Fran Dunphy’s coaching staff at Temple as a graduate assistant. Linehan is a guy, PC fans know, whom Kobe Bryant once said was the toughest defender he had ever faced. They both came from the Chester, Pennsylvania, area and once had been AAU teammates. Linehan’s NCAA steals record is in jeopardy, with VCU’s Briante Weber closing in on a mark Linehan has held for 14 years. He joined Dunphy’s staff this past fall and is working on a graduate degree after wrapping up a pro career that saw him play mostly in France but also in the NBA’s D-League and for the Harlem Globetrotters.

— Literally dozens of emails, tweets and Facebook posts came in this week on Deflategate, and I’ve read every one of them. Jose in Raleigh, North Carolina, sent this tweet that summed up a majority of the feelings felt by many fans: “To be honest, all this talk about Deflategate and my team involved just took the happiness out of the SB, really sad.” Jose, I get your disappointment. I’m of the opinion this is turning into a bit of a modern-day witch hunt, and for the NFL to take its sweet time while the team twists in the wind, well, let’s just say this has been a season of major “fails” for the league. Let me borrow a phrase from another rogue, former NFL antagonist, the RaidersAl Davis: “Just win, baby.” That’s all there is left to do.

— Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘€˜em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to jrooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster, and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke.

— Don’t forget to join Scott Cordischi and me on Providence’s 103.7 FM every Saturday from 7-9 a.m. for Southern New England Sports Saturday! Call in at 401-737-1287 or text us at 37937.

Blog Author: 
John Rooke
Matt Hasselbeck, back-up quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts and a New England native, joins Lou, Christian and Tim to talk how his team reacted to the Deflate Gate news.

[0:00:40] ... play football. On their all of a court. Those the thoughts of Tim Hasselbeck with Dennis and Callahan this morning. Regain the thoughts of the other Hasselbeck Boston college's Matt Hasselbeck joining us right now the ...
[0:06:47] ... here because. People think that this started back in week eleven when Mike Adams got the two interceptions so factor fiction. You guys were aware of possible deflated balls back yet. We let him be a dad like again that that that in my jurisdiction again I you know that's not my jurisdiction I'd be I'd be deafening. Like nobody can deal with this football when D'Qwell Jackson got a or Mike Adams back in week eleven incident he squeezed this does this feel right to you. That have been like every day at practice ...
[0:18:18] ... watch that no exit out here yet. And I can't think coming Christian Fauria special teams shared was a hard thing for a topic. He's in notices on the. Right yeah these are long gone not ...





After his emotional reaction on NFL Live following Tom Brady's press conference yesterday, Mark Brunell joins Lou, Christian and Tim about all things Deflate Gate

[0:00:24] ... had to say. Let me ask you guys the same question with Tom Brady deeply when he had to say. I do not believe what Tom had to say those balls were deflated somebody had to do it. In I don't believe there's an equipment manager in the NFL that would on his own initiative deflated ball without their starting quarterbacks approval. It just I just didn't Fleetwood Tom Brady had to say. That was more per gallon ESPN former netbook quarterback he's been one of the most. Emotionally responsive people through this whole controversy joins us right now on the AT&T hotline to embeds the Maloney Christmas foray with Mark Brunell right now and mark let me start right there. Why were you as emotional as she wore in response to that line ...
[0:02:30] ... rats not properly checking the footballs because why in the world would Tom Brady out of all people. Get up there in front of a national audience would seem like it was a presidential. Commencement speech ...
[0:05:18] ... they are all thirteenth. Yes because my equipment guy to get in Jacksonville Jaguars are decent look at their all thirteen. That's exactly wanna I didn't want it won't happen and one that circuit and have ...
[0:06:02] ... doubt. Larger point Alan Christians asking questions he's got a relationship with Tom Brady. I don't not hiding grow up patriots fan out there about it either positive or negative legacy. I means nothing to be ...






It’s time I came clean. Bill Belichick really “had no knowledge whatsoever.” Tom Brady is being truthful when he says he “didn’t alter the ball in any way.”

It’s all my fault. I’ll take the rap. But can you blame me? Addiction is a terrible thing.

@JerryThornton1

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
Plantation House, London

Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane gives Rob Gronkowski no respect but does give the Patriots some thing for the bulletin board. (M. McKeown/Getty Images)

ESPNSeattle Seahawks starting nickel cornerback Jeremy Lane paused for a moment Thursday when asked what makes New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski so good, because Lane disagrees.

“I actually don’t think he’s that good,” Lane said. “He’s OK. He does have a big body. But from what I’ve seen on tape, he doesn’t like you putting your hands on him. So if we put our hands on him and shake him up a little bit, he won’t catch that many balls.” …

Lane said the key to stopping Gronkowski is hitting him at the line of scrimmage. … “It’s definitely an issue with him from watching tape.” …

“Most of the time, if you look at the quarterback throw it, you’ll look at the receiver catch the ball,” Lane said. “[Seahawks defensive backs] coach [Kris Richard] always reminds us of that. Keep your eyes on your luggage. That’s what we call it. Keeps your eyes on your man and everything else will take care of itself.”

Thank you, Jeremy Lane. All I can say is thank you. From the bottom of my heart. As fun and entertainingly blog-worthy as Deflategate Week has been, it’s great to finally be able to transition into the much more important and time-worthy pursuit of some good old fashioned bulletin board fodder.

It’s almost become a tradition in New England. Something to look forward to. Like St. Paddy’s Day, the Red Sox equipment truck leaving or our politicians getting indicted. The Patriots are in hot pursuit of a championship. They say all the right, respectful things about their opponents, even the ones they don’t respect. Talk about how much they’re impressed with player whatshisface, how good he looks on tape and how they’ll have to be ready for him. Go on and on about how tough this team is in all three phases yadda, yadda, yadda. They stay on point and on message all week long.

But then eventually, somewhere, someone on the other side cracks. The safe money was on Richard Sherman to be the first Seahawk to shoot off his mouth. And he did talk a little bit about Tom Brady, but it really just amounted to him saying Brady talks and swears more on the field than anyone gives him credit for, which is nothing. No, if you had Lane in your First Seahawk to Shoot Off His Mouth office pool, come collect your envelope.

And of course this is great news for Patriots fans at the end of a long, ridiculous week. Seattle players have seen film of Gronk and think he’s not that good. His 82 catches for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns or his unanimous first-team All-Pro selection notwithstanding. He’s just a goon with a big body, like he’s Fezzik or something. He’s not athletic enough to get open if you put your hands on him. He’s just “OK.” Hit him at the line of scrimmage and he’ll disappear faster than Pete Carroll‘s USC national championship.

Perfect. This is just what the sports psychologist ordered. A little dose of yapping from Seattle to face-slap the Patriots and the rest of us out of this Deflategate funk. And it could not have come at a better time. Jeremy Lane says he can shake up Gronk a little bit. I think he just did.

Embrace the hate.

@JerryThornton1

P.S. That last paragraph of the excerpt really had nothing to do with the blog. It’s just the first time I’ve heard the coaching expression “Keep your eyes on your luggage” and I instantly fell in love with it. And something about the way Jeremy Lane says “Keeps your eyes on your man” just speaks to me somehow.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
Tim Hasselbeck joined the show to give his expertise on deflate gate.

[0:00:58] ... a secretary at the glasses like Cronkite there crime. Our conversation with Tim Hasselbeck is brought to you by Norfolk power equipment at the Sheba business solutions we've moved him up. A few days from Monday ...
[0:11:22] ... supported some of them. The first time the patriots played the colts Mike Adams an interception. Is cool intercepted Tom Brady wanna keep the football 0% since the end before prop for the equipment staff. Of the colts to keep the property in the truck. Where they feel it now like man that's adjusting the football because that's what they do for a living as a paternity apartment and it. But those that warning about Mike Adams and another interception what you wanna do the best football they'll want throw the stance you what's the key. So reduce its ...
[0:13:28] ... between in the allowed threshold up with a game ball captivate. Now D'Qwell Jackson intercept a football. The quote Jackson doesn't kill the process and this doesn't feel right the project and provide the best operating ...
[0:16:29] ... now what's significant is whether to monetary amount whether it's. You know Chris Canty said you know what suspensions similar to the out of a performance enhancing drugs. You know you got like at all actually ...






The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.

[0:01:16] ... the owners here's glows Al Green talking to the president of the United States. About Castro. I don't know floor have a lot of friends. Close friends let Cuban American right and I heard the story ...
[0:01:49] ... one of you. Straight so he said to the president of the United States after the Dick and dictator. Of the got sped it sitting in a bathtub full of milk and fruit loops out front ...
[0:02:49] ... think in the harassment to the upshot would be this certainly this goof ball. We've heard oh blogger or whatever you call YouTube to media nation while. All the troubles in the world this is how ...
[0:03:25] ... get back to the patriots stuff I was surprised at notre so. Garth Brooks is playing at the guard. Over the next couple of days sold out. He's playing 46. Shows in the sport. Doesn't work ...






The guys opened the show discussing who was lying yesterday.

[0:02:05] ... this out to tweet out that that Riley said. If he's guilty Tom Brady is just like Alex Rodriguez. And and Barry Bonds you know his legacy is done. And I'd root of why he's not ...
[0:04:10] ... see it I mean it was that its relentless set there with. Mark Brunell Jerome and remember these guys in the prime Brian dock rise. And you see the effects whatsoever I don't give a man ...
[0:05:46] ... and jealousy. What did to win the patriots and Bill Belichick and Tom Brady is all are greater than ever imagined and not only is the mob that Jerry talked about yesterday. Growing exponentially by the ...
[0:11:48] ... the to the jackal with them when. A mild assortment of headlines Tom Brady's tailed doesn't hold weight rates Ian O'Connor is Ian New York dot com. News day patriots quarterback Tom Brady has much more to lose then Bill Belichick. Are as deflate gate rages on Brady's story simply doesn't add up at her ...






Pro Football TalkAppearing on ESPN’€™s NFL Live in the aftermath of Brady’€™s press conference, former NFL quarterback Mark Brunell made his opinions clear.

“I did not believe what Tom had to say,” Brunell said. “Those balls were deflated. Somebody had to do it. And I don’t believe there’s an equipment manager in the NFL that would on his own initiative deflate a ball without his starting quarterback’s approval. I just didn’t believe what Tom Brady had to say. … That football is our livelihood. … If you don’t feel good about throwing that ball, your success can suffer from that.”

You know, to this point, watching the media run around, jazz hands flapping with their anguished cries of “Footballs were underpressurized! Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod whatarewegonnadoooo?!?!?” has been nothing short of hysterical. Like I said Thursday, those dog-and-pony-show press conferences were nothing short of the press drilling deep below the lowest point in the history of journalism and fracking a motherlode of silliness out of the shale. Seriously, if Deflategate was a sitcom, it would be the most hilarious thing on TV.

But it stopped being funny with this. When Mark Brunell starts sobbing like a betrayed wife over his trust issues with Tom Brady, I can’t just sit here and laugh about it. This is a call to action. He leaves me with no choice but to on the attack, ad hominem-style.

Mark Brunell has a lot of overinflated balls to get all sanctimonious about anyone else’s integrity. Am I the only one alive who remembers this little item from a few years ago?

Mark Brunell has filed a bankruptcy reorganization plan that apparently calls for him to pay for some of the football memorabilia he received during his career, including his 2010 Super Bowl ring and his 1991 college national championship ring. The proceeds from his purchases of those items would be used as partial payments to Brunell’s creditors, according to the debt reorganization plan filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Jacksonville. …

Brunell’s reorganization plan proposes to sell off certain assets worth a total of $378,300 to pay off his unsecured creditors … because of two failed business partnerships, a real estate development company called Champion LLC and a partnership that invested in 12 Whataburger restaurant franchises in the Jacksonville area. Last month, Brunell filed a plan to convey his interest in the Whataburgers to another investor. The total amount of allowable creditor claims against Brunell stands at $7.4 million, according to the filings. The filings do not say how much of that $7.4 million will be repaid

This pompous ass has the stones to go all self-righteous about Tom Brady‘s veracity over an unconfirmed report about the PSI in some footballs. But when it comes to stiffing his creditors out of 7 million bucks, well that’s sort of a gray area. Gee, I wonder if any of those Whataburger investors “believed” what Brunell had to say about their “livelihood” of giving America diabetes one cheeseburger at a time when he was telling them they’d make their money back.

And before you say “C’mon, Thornton. The guy’s business failed. Lighten up on him. He’s suffered enough, hasn’t he?” ask yourself how that quarterbacking Beacon of Truth made good on his debts when he was living in luxury:

Remember when Mark Brunell went bankrupt and he was so broke from failed businesses that he couldn’t afford to give up his NFL backup job with the Jets? He was broke. However, it seems the bankruptcy court didn’t take everything from Brunell.

We’ve learned from our friends at Realtor that Mark is now selling his ocean-front Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, house for $4,000,000. How was Mark still holding onto a piece of beach property while in bankruptcy court? I have no idea.

So there’s your bastion of integrity and fair play. This is the guy who’s in tears on television over one unsubstantiated Chris Mortensen report about air pressure. He’s questioning Tom Brady‘s honesty in an investigation where the NFL hasn’t even spoken to him yet. That Mark Brunell who ripped people off while he was living in a $4 million beach mansion has the unmitigated gall to call Brady a liar. There’s being morally bankrupt and financially bankrupt. And Mark Brunell is both.

OK, I’ve said my peace and I feel better. Now I can go back to being amused by these media buffoons.

@JerryThornton1

P.S. I may have been a little harsh on Brunell here, so let me say one good thing about him: His daughter is a smoke.

 

 

 

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton