Al Davis was a frequent trade partner over the years before he passed away. (AP)

Al Davis was a frequent trade partner over the years before he passed away. (AP)

1. One of the easiest bets every year is the fact that the Patriots will make some sort of draft-related deal. But who is Bill Belichick‘€™s favorite trade partner? We went back and tallied up all of Belichick’€™s draft-related deals over the years, and while it’€™s important to note that not all of the draft-related deals took place on draft weekend, there were a few surprises. Oakland leads the list with nine trades, with several deals of note, including Randy Moss (acquired by New England for a fourth-round pick) and Richard Seymour (dealt to Oakland in 2009 for a first-rounder). One interesting thing here is that despite the fact that Belichick has made more draft-related deals with the Raiders than any other club, he hasn’€™t made a trade with Oakland since Al Davis died in 2011. Denver is second on the list with seven draft-related deals, most of which were relatively low-level swaps between Belichick and his friend Mike Shanahan when he held the reins with the Broncos. Green Bay and Philadelphia have six each, with most of the transactions with the Eagles coming in annual draft weekend swaps between Belichick and another friend, Andy Reid. And Baltimore and Chicago have each made five draft-related swaps, with another Friend of Bill (Ozzie Newsome) willing to work with his old colleague in helping facilitate trades on a fairly regular basis. One other note worth passing along. Since he took over in 2000, Belichick has made draft-related deals with every team in the league except two: the Jets and Colts.

2. Despite the fact that this year’€™s draft is two weeks later than it’€™s been in previous years, to this point in the pre-draft process, not much is different this time around — at least from a logistical perspective. Speaking late last month at the owners’€™ meetings, Belichick said that when it comes to scouting and evaluations, ‘€œthe process is about the same’€ as it was in year’€™s past. Belichick did indicate that the upcoming stretch — “early- to mid-April,” in his words — is a key part in the evaluation process. “Then, all that information will be pulled together and added to what we had going out back in February. We’€™ll see where all that comes in,”€ Belichick said. “At some point, it will all get pulled back together. We’€™ll talk about the players on the board. I’€™m sure we’€™ll make some changes and adjustments. And then, we’€™ll continue the process from there.” While not much is expected to change when it comes to the pre-draft process (if anything, it gives teams more of a chance to evaluate), expect changes on the back end. The seven-week stretch between the draft and the pre-training camp break will now be crammed with events in hopes of getting rookies up to speed as fast as possible. And while the elite level prospects will still rise above and distinguish themselves, the players who could be hurt the most by the smaller window are the undrafted free agents and camp invitees. In previous years, those players were able to get the attention of the coaching staff in the smaller groups that are usually the norm at rookie minicamps and distinguish themselves as a potential prospect that could eventually flourish if given the proper amount of time. Now, with less of an opportunity to make a name for themselves before the rest of the veterans return, they could get squeezed out of the picture sooner rather than later.

3. It’€™s almost hard to fathom, but two months after the Seahawks crushed the Broncos in the Super Bowl, football players can return to their facilities for the start of offseason workouts this week. Teams that hired a new coach this offseason are allowed to begin offseason workout programs on Monday — that means Cleveland, Houston, Detroit, Minnesota, Tampa, Tennessee and Washington are all allowed to get started on their prep work for 2014. As for teams with returning head coaches like the Patriots, they have to wait until April 21. We covered much of what you’€™re allowed to do (and not do) during the offseason programs, but it’€™s worth reiterating here. Phase one covers two weeks, and only rehab and strength and conditioning is allowed. Phase two runs for three weeks, and that’€™s when individual player instruction and drills are permitted but no live contact or offense vs. defense drills. Phase three covers four weeks, and includes 10 days of organized team activities. Again, no live contact is permitted, but teams can run 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.

4. The idea of Donald Trump buying the Bills surfaced this week, and at least from this viewpoint, it wasn’€™t completely coincidental that the news came down during the week of April Fools Day. The word is that the sale of the franchise is on the fast track, but the idea of selling to someone like Trump would be bad news for the Bills, as well as the rest of the league. While he would likely have some support around the league (it’€™s reasonable to think that he’€™d have an ally in Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who he counts as a friend), and it’€™s presumed he would be able to pull together the money, it would be a stretch to see him getting the requisite votes needed to gain ownership. One only needs to look at his track record as an owner in the USFL, where some believe he helped sink the league. While there are occasional exceptions to the rule (see Jerry Jones), it’€™s also likely that Trump’€™s occasionally flashy style wouldn’€™t be a welcome addition. There’€™s always the chance that Trump could change his ways, but the idea that someone of his ilk would be welcomed with open arms into one of the most exclusive sporting clubs on the planet seems far-fetched.

5. Keeping with the Bills theme, Buffalo’€™s pickup of wide receiver Mike Williams represents another offensive option for the Patriots consider when they meet their division opponents twice a year. The occasionally erratic Williams — who brings a lot of baggage to the table with arrests, fines for missing meetings and injury — was dealt by the Bucs for a sixth-round pick. If Buffalo can get him to buy into the program, he could bring an intriguing skill set to the Bills passing game. The Syracuse product (who had a contentious relationship with Bills coach Doug Marrone while the two were together at Syracuse) had three straight years of 60-plus catches, including two consecutive seasons of 65 catches in 2010 and 2011. The 6-foot-2, 212-pound Williams joins an offense that already has Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin, as well as running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. Regardless, it’€™s clear that Williams could benefit from a fresh start somewhere, and could represent a win-win for both sides if it all works out. Williams signed a huge six-year, $40.5 million contract with the Bucs last July, but played in just six games in 2013 because of a hamstring issue. Tampa Bay would have been on the hook for a big cap hit if it kept Williams, but were able to get out from under a bad contract with the move. Conversely, Buffalo only owes Williams $1.8 million in 2014, and a sizable portion of that is tied up in a workout bonus. It also changes things when it comes to the draft — expect the Bucs to be primarily interested in a wide receiver at No. 7, with some of the possibilities being Clemson’€™s Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans of Texas A&M if they’€™re still available. Meanwhile, you have to figure that this takes the Bills out of the running for a receiver.

6. The Titans cut running back Chris Johnson on Friday, and while New England has been intrigued enough by some of the available free agent backs to kick the tires of guys like Maurice Jones-Drew and Michael Bush, from this viewpoint, it seems unlikely they’€™d be interested in Johnson. His yards per carry has dropped from 5.6 yards per carry in 2009 to 3.9 last year, and whether that’€™s the result of a poor offensive line or overwork (he’€™s only one of a handful of backs to with more than 250 attempts each year for the last six seasons), it’€™s a bad sign. In addition, he was never known as one of the best blockers in the league, and the Patriots value blitz pickup skills in their backs. All that, armed with the knowledge that running backs usually hit a wall around the age of 30 (and he’€™s set to turn 29 in September), means that the Patriots will likely take a pass. As for who might be interested in him, a Pro Football Talk report indicates that the market for Johnson will heat up to a point where he’€™ll land with a new team soon. The PFT report also indicates that Johnson might decide on a one-year, show-me deal, which might allow him to seek a bigger deal in 2015, a year that should likely prove to be a better marketplace for running backs. (For what it’€™s worth, at this point, it sounds like the Jets and Falcons are the two teams in the lead for Johnson’€™s services, at least at this point.)

7. The Patriots decision to cut loose Adrian Wilson on Friday marked the end of the veterans’€™ time in New England, one that was marked by unfulfilled promise. When he was acquired last spring, it was believed he could be the heir to Rodney Harrison‘€™s throne, a hard-hitting, high-character defensive back who made his bones on the West Coast, but in a last-ditch attempt to win a ring, signed with the Patriots at the tail end of his career. Wilson never saw the field during the regular season — he was placed on injured reserve prior to the opener — but by all accounts, was a positive locker room presence in his time with the Patriots. From this viewpoint, it was easy to see why Wilson was so well-regarded around the league. He was quiet and understated with the media, but players regarded him with the utmost respect. (This Friday afternoon tweet from Devin McCourty should give you some idea of what his fellow players thought of him.) While his reps tweeted out Friday that they anticipated him playing somewhere this year, if this is the end of the road for Wilson, the 34-year-old has generated the stats needed to at least be a part of the Hall of Fame conversation. A three-time All-Pro (one first-team appearance and two second-team appearances), he’€™s only one of six players in NFL history to compile at least 25 sacks and 25 interceptions. He’€™s a high character guy who distinguished himself as one of the pillars of the Arizona franchise, both on and off the field. (When the Cards released him, the franchise issued a press release hailing Wilson’€™s “€œiconic status”€ and adding that he will always have an important spot in team history.) He was tremendous against the run and underrated against the pass, and according to Football Outsiders editor Aaron Schatz, one of the FO’€™s favorites over the years, but simply didn’€™t get the respect he deserved because he played on some pretty bad Cardinals teams over the years. (One more note — from a marketing standpoint, it now appears to be an inevitability that Darrelle Revis is set to take over the No. 24. The number went from Kyle Arrington to Wilson last offseason, a switch that was jumpstarted by a diaper donation from Wilson to Arrington, a new father. As a result, Arrington switched from No. 24 to 25 to accommodate Wilson.)

8. After serving 35 days of his 60-day sentence, Alfonzo Dennard was released on Friday on good behavior. With the jail term now behind him, it marks the start of a key offseason for the cornerback, who is expected to face a serious challenge for playing time with the addition of Brandon Browner. While Dennard certainly has a leg up on Browner because he’€™s been in the system for two years and has played well in that time frame — as well as the fact that Browner faces a suspension for the first four games — there’€™s still the possibility that Dennard will face a suspension for his off-field transgressions. What Dennard does have going for him is the fact that he’€™s been with the franchise for two years — from a continuity standpoint, the Patriots have seen a lot of turnover to this point in the offseason in the secondary, and any familiar faces figure to help with the transition going forward.

9. When it comes to what’€™s going to happen with the first pick in this year’€™s draft, only Texans coach Bill O’€™Brien really knows for sure what will go down. There’€™s been a lot of talk as to which way O’€™Brien and Houston will lean — whether they’€™ll chase after defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney, a quarterback (likely Blake Bortles, based on the connection between the quarterback and his coaching staff), or deal out of the top spot altogether and go after someone else. (There’€™s one school of thought that says O’€™Brien and the Texans would be interested in selecting Clowney and going after a quarterback with the first pick of the second round, the 33rd selection overall.) Despite his background in the New England offense, if he does try and go after a quarterback, he’€™s smart enough to know that he won’€™t be trying to find the next Tom Brady. “The one thing for us in Houston, especially like myself and (quarterback coach) George Godsey, we have to guard against looking for the next Tom Brady,”€ he said. “Those guys are few and far between. You think about how many Hall of Fame quarterbacks there are, and he’€™s going to be one, there just aren’€™t that many of them in the whole spectrum of quarterbacks in the history of this league, as you know. I think what we’€™re looking for is a guy that has some of Tom’€™s qualities: like a great teammate, an accountable guy, a hard-working guy, a competitive guy, a good leader. But to go out there and say, ‘€˜This guy is going to be like Tom Brady.’€™ I mean, that’€™s ridiculous.”

10. With the news that the Patriots hosted quarterbacks Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater on a pre-draft visit this week, it’€™s important to clarify just what happens when a player comes in for a visit. It’€™s different for different prospects — some engage in some film study and work on the white board, and some are asked about what they would do in certain on-field situations. In the end, it really comes down to the fact that you’€™re not interested in giving a guy a physical workout, but a mental one, and in many cases, build on some of the things they learned in the 15-minute interview at the combine. “You only get 15 minutes at the combine, so it’€™s very difficult to be engaged in a one-on-one conversation,” Mike Lombardi told me a few years ago prior to taking a personnel gig with the Patriots this past offseason. “You don’€™t have all your tape with you. You don’€™t have every asset you need to utilize to the best of your ability to determine the intelligence level, the commitment, all the things you want to do. You can sit them in a room — you have all day. You want to sit down and make sure you watch tape, go over some things, walk through some situations. It gives you a great chance to spend a lot of quality time — uninterrupted –€” with the player.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2014 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Khalil Mack (AP)

Khalil Mack has rocketed to the top of many mock drafts. (AP)


Position: Outside linebacker

School: Buffalo

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 251 pounds

Achievements: 2013 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, 2013 first-team All-American, 2013, 2012, 2011 first team All-MAC, 2010 third-team All-MAC

What he brings: Mack is considered by many scouts to the best talent in a talented 2014 draft class. One of the most athletically gifted outside linebackers in college, Mack has a high-energy motor, excellent frame and impressive burst. He has an ideal build and great edge speed. While Mack can get to the quarterback, he struggles in other aspects of his game, particularly dropping into coverage and tackling in open space.

Where the Patriots could get him: Mack is projected to be a top-10 pick, so the Patriots undoubtedly would need to trade up to get him.

Notes: In 2013 Mack recorded 100 tackles, 10.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. For his career, Mack had 28.5 sacks, an NCAA-record 16 forced fumbles and an NCAA-record-tying 75 tackles for loss. … In 2012 Mack got into a fight with teammate Fred Lee and was suspended for the first game of that season. … Mack did not miss any games in college due to injury.

Related articles: Buffalo’€™s Khalil Mack is surest thing in 2014 NFL draft Buffalo LB Khalil Mack breaks record shared by Terrell Suggs

Video: Here are Mack’€™s 2013 highlights with Buffalo.

Blog Author: 
Arjuna Ramgopal
Will Smith remains a free agent possibility for the Patriots. (AP)

Will Smith remains a free agent possibility for the Patriots. (AP)

With the offseason now one-third of the way done — and most of free agency now complete — the Patriots still have to address a few specific areas of need as part of the team-building process. Here’s a look at four personnel questions that have to be dealt with between now and the start of training camp.

Backup linebacker: Brandon Spikes and Dane Fletcher departed as free agents this offseason, with Spikes heading to Buffalo and Fletcher signing with Tampa Bay. Neither were starters, but over the last two seasons, both were called upon to play significant snaps for the Patriots. As a result, New England is a little thin when it comes to their linebacker depth. Currently on the roster, the Patriots have a few possibilities when it comes to backing up the expected starting trio of Jerod Mayo, Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins, including Steve Beauharnais, who just finished his rookie season. But their pursuit of veteran free agent Wesley Woodyard was likely a sign they believe they need more help when it comes to depth at the spot.

Strong safety: Steve Gregory was cut loose earlier this offseason, and Adrian Wilson was released on Friday. And while the Patriots did bring back Patrick Chung on Thursday, there’s some uncertainty as to what New England plans on doing at the position. Two things to remember: one, the Patriots like their defensive backs to be versatile, and so shuffling DBs from one spot to another wouldn’t be a surprise. And two, on that same vein, there are some possibilities on the roster, including Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan, the latter of whom has been the subject of much speculation this offseason when it comes to a possible move to free safety. In addition, there’s Tavon Wilson, who slid down the depth chart in 2013 to more of a special teams role, one that’s also occupied by fellow safeties Kanorris Davis and Nate Ebner. (And there’s always the possibility that Gregory could return on a reworked deal — he said this week despite the fact that he was cut by New England, “it would definitely be a place I would love to go back to.”) Regardless of whether or not New England decides to address the position in the draft, right now, it’s shaping up to be one of the more intriguing camp battles this spring and summer.

Situational pass rusher: The Patriots were believed to be at least partially in the mix for Jared Allen in free agency before he signed with the Bears, and while New England does currently have youngsters Jake Bequette and Michael Buchanan on the roster as backup defensive ends, it’s a fair dropoff at this point from the starting duo of Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich. In terms of free agents who could still be on the market, Will Smith remains a possibility, but his recent injury woes leave him questionable at this stage of his career. When it comes to other in-house possibilities, Andre Carter could return for at least part of the season if New England struggles to find help — he sure sounds open to the possibility of returning. In addition, Armond Armstead could also be in the mix as an interior pass rushing presence at some point if he ever does get healthy. It’s also expected that if veteran Tommy Kelly can stay on the field, he’ll offer some support as another interior pass rushing presence in 2014.

Depth at tight end and running back: While New England appears to be set when it comes to starters at the two positions, it could really use some depth at both spots, and both will likely be addressed in some form or fashion come the second and/or third day of the draft. Despite the fact the Patriots might be more inclined to move away from the two-tight end sets they ran over the last few seasons, another tight end to compliment Rob Gronkowski could be had in this draft, especially given the fact that this year appears to be a pretty good one for tight ends. In addition, the fact that the Patriots made a serious play for veteran free agent running back Maurice Jones-Drew could be taken as a sign they feel like they need someone to replace LeGarrette Blount in the backfield.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Wide receiver Brandin Cooks said Friday the Patriots had taken a look at him. (AP)

Wide receiver Brandin Cooks said Friday the Patriots had taken a look at him. (AP)

Three Friday night pre-draft thoughts on the Patriots:

1. Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks told the NFL Network on Friday that the Patriots have worked him out. With the understanding that “worked out” could have many different definitions when it comes to the pre-draft process, Cooks presents himself as an interesting prospect as it relates to New England. The 5-foot-10, 189-pounder out of Oregon State is considered one of the better receivers in this year’s draft — the Biletnikoff award winner set the Oregon State and Pac-12 records for catches with 128, receiving yards with 1,730 and touchdown catches with 24 as a junior in 2013. While he had terrific numbers as a collegian, he really landed on a lot of radar screens with an excellent performance at the combine in February, where he was the top performer in the 20-yard (3.81) and 60-yard (10.81) shuttles, and had the best wide receiver time (4.33) in the 40-yard dash. It’s debatable as to whether or not he’d be available the Patriots pick at No. 29, and as a result, New England might have to swing a draft weekend deal to move up if they want a shot at Cooks.

2. While receiver isn’t considered an overwhelming need for the Patriots in the draft, Cooks is just the latest relatively high-profile pass catchers who has drawn the interest of the Patriots throughout the pre-draft process. Late last month, the New England coaching staff apparently took a long look at Florida State receiver Kelvin Benjamin. From our viewpoint, Benjamin is the most impressive receiver — from a physical standpoint — we’ve seen throughout the pre-draft process. While there are questions about his consistency, it’s easy to look at his 6-foot-5, 240-pound frame and think about the possibility of a Calvin Johnson-type presence in the passing game. In 2013, he caught 54 passes for 1,011 yards and 15 touchdowns last season for the national champions. Considered a late first-round/early second-round possibility, could be available if New England sticks at 29 and wants to throw everyone curveball by getting a receiver in the first round.

3. Tony Pauline — an eminently reliable source when it comes to pre-draft visiting, scouting and the like — noted Friday the Patriots brought in tight end Crockett Gilmore from Colorado State in for a visit earlier in the week. Gilmore is a fascinating prospect for a few reasons — considered a mid-round possibility, the 6-foot-6, 260-pounder was named first-team All-Mountain West in 2013 after finishing with 43 catches for 533 yards for CSU. He also has some interesting versatility in that he’s a converted defensive end, having made the switch from one side of the ball to the other between the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Want to know more about Gilmore? Check out his own website,

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — The Adrian Wilson era is over in Foxboro before it really ever began.

The Patriots released the 34-year-old safety on Friday, just over a year after being signed as depth in the secondary.

Adrian Wilson worked out with the Patriots in training camp before being placed on season-ending IR. (AP)

Adrian Wilson worked out with the Patriots in training camp before being placed on season-ending IR. (AP)

FOXBORO — The Adrian Wilson era is over in Foxboro before it really ever began.

The Patriots released the 34-year-old safety on Friday, just over a year after being signed as depth in the secondary.

Wilson was signed on March 15, 2013 to a three-year deal. In 11 seasons with the Cardinals, Wilson established himself as one of the hardest-hitting safeties in football, earning five trips to the Pro Bowl, three All-Pro honors and a trip to Super Bowl XLIII. In 11 seasons, he recorded 25 sacks and 25 interceptions.

He was released by the Cardinals on March 8, 2013, then signed by the Patriots a week later for three years and $5 million.

Wilson originally entered the NFL as a third-round draft choice (64th overall) by the Cardinals out of North Carolina State in 2001. He was released by Arizona on March 8, 2013. Wilson has played in 181 career games with 162 starts and compiled 716 tackles, 25½ sacks and 27 interceptions in his 12 years with the Cardinals. He holds the NFL record for most sacks in a single season by a defensive back (8), is the Cardinals’€™ all-time leader in passes defensed (99) and forced fumbles (15), and his 99-yard interception return for a touchdown in 2006 is tied with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for the longest in team history.

Right after he joined the team, he offered Kyle Arrington a year’s supply of diapers for Arrington’s newborn baby to have Arrington’s jersey number 24, the number Wilson had in Arizona. Wilson eventually got his No. 24 jersey Arrington. Darrelle Revis can have No. 24, the number he’s played with on the Jets and Buccaneers.

Wilson never played a regular season snap for the Patriots as he was placed on season-ending injured reserved on Aug. 31, 2013 with an achilles injury.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2014 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.

Weston Richburg helped Colorado State set school records for offensive production in 2013. (AP)

Center Weston Richburg (left) helped Colorado State set school records for offensive production in 2013. (AP)


Position: Center

School: Colorado State

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 298 pounds

Achievements: 2013 Mountain West first team, 2012, Mountain West honorable mention, 2011 Mountain West second team, 2010 Mountain West honorable mention

What he brings: Richburg, a two-time captain at Colorado State, has solid initial quickness and is a durable player. He helped the 2013 Rams to the most prolific scoring offense in school history with a school-record 470.8 yards per game. The knock on Richburg is that he lacks athleticism and ideal size. He helped his cause with a solid showing at the Senior Bowl and is considered by many to be the top center in the draft.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-3

Notes: Richburg was a quarterback and a linebacker as a freshman in high school before growing out of those positions and into his role as an offensive lineman. While at Colorado State, Richburg started in 50 consecutive games over the course of four years — a school record. … Richburg, who redshirted his first year at Colorado State, completed his degree in animal science last summer and started a second degree during his final season with the Rams.

Related articles: Colorado State’s Weston Richburg, one of the best centers in the draft, eyeing Detroit Lions

USA Today: Weston Richburg is the center of attention

Video: Here is a video highlighting Richburg’s performance in a game against Alabama

Blog Author: 
Meredith Perri
Patrick Chung returns to the Patriots. (AP)

Patrick Chung returns to the Patriots. (AP)

One year later, veteran safety Patrick Chung is set to return to the Patriots.

Chung, who was signed as a free agent by the Eagles last season after four seasons in New England, was re-signed by the Patriots on Thursday. The 26-year-old, who was a second-round pick of New England in 2009, said the chance to get back to Foxboro “was like a blessing.”

“I’€™m glad to be back,” he said Thursday on a conference call with the media. “It’€™s like family here. It feels like home. I’€™m glad to be back. I love the fans, love the coaches, love the environment, love the city.”

Chung’s finest season with the Patriots came in 2010 when he played in 14 games (13 starts) and finished the year with 96 tackles (72 solo), nine passes defensed and three interceptions, all career-highs. Following the 2012 season, he ended up signing a three-year, $10 million free agent deal with the Eagles. In Philly last year, he played in 12 games and ended with 59 tackles, but struggled at times playing for his old college coach Chip Kelly with the Eagles.

New England figured to be in the market for some safety help when Steve Gregory was cut loose earlier this offseason, and while he won’t be guaranteed his old roster spot, Chung could provide some depth for the Patriots secondary.

“I don’€™t feel I’€™m any different,” Chung said. “I’€™m just going to continue to keep working, keep getting better, whatever I can do to help the team, whatever role I might have to play. I feel I’€™m the same. The scheme, I guess, would fit a lot better. I’€™ve had a lot of conversations so I just feel like this would be the best fit right now. Plus, I’€™m really glad to be back too. I’€™ve missed you guys.

“I don’€™t have any expectations,” he added. “Whatever Bill [Belichick] need me to do, this team, I’€™m going to do it. Regardless if it’€™s special team or it’€™s defense, whatever my role is here, I’€™m OK with that. This is where I want to be, so that’€™s good for me. I’€™m not worried about all the distractions, ‘€˜Am I going to be playing, am I going to be doing this?’€™ Whatever I can do to help the team win, then I’€™m good.”

Here are more highlights of Chung’s Thursday afternoon Q&A with the media.

Can you tell us why things didn’€™t work out in Philadelphia and why you think things will be better back here?

“I can’€™t really tell you why things didn’€™t work out in Philly. I don’€™t make those decisions. You know, Philly is a great city, there are a lot of great people there; great locker room, great coaches. But I feel now that this has happened, I feel like it’€™s a better fit here. I’€™ve been here for four years. I know the system, I know the coaches. The coaches are cool. I know most of the players. All locker rooms change but I know most of the players. This is a good environment. I’€™ve been here for a while so I feel like part of me is home. I’€™m always going to come back here regardless. I always came back here to help the city regardless of where I was. Now I’€™m back in the city that gave me my very first chance, my very first opportunity, so I feel like its home.”

Can you describe how quickly this all came together? When you were released did you have any idea you would be coming back to New England?

“I had no clue. I got released. I just started training so I was prepared for an opportunity when an opportunity presented itself. I got the call and I was excited. I was happy. I was relieved. It was very, very, very easy decision. It didn’€™t really take much. I had no idea where I was going, what the plan was for me. But we figured something out and I’€™m happy it all worked out.”

Does it make it a lot easier for you to do your charity work in the area this summer?

“Yeah, I’€™m going to be doing a lot of charity work. But regardless of where I am, I’€™m always going to do charity work and help the city that gave me my first chance. You can’€™t forget about people that helped you out.”

What are your thoughts on coming in and playing with Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis?

“Those are two very good players. I’€™m very excited to have players like that on our team, on our defense that really believe they’€™ll help the team. Bill [Belichick] is going to put everybody in the right situation and the right position to make plays. You have two playmakers right there on the outside. It definitely helps. I’€™m very excited.”

Do you think that will change the defensive philosophy from when you were here in 2012?

“I’€™m not a coach so I can’€™t tell what is going to happen or what defense we might be running. That’€™s more of a question for the coaches but Coach [Belichick] is going to put our team in the right situation, the right position. Whatever Coach has in mind, whatever he has in store, it will be good for us. We’€™ll be all right.”

How would you characterize your time in New England?

“It’€™s awesome. I love the city, I love the people, I love the fans. It’€™s an all-around good city. I love Boston.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Just two-plus months after the season-ending loss to the Broncos in the 2013 AFC title game, word comes down that the Patriots will start prepping for the 2014 season in earnest when offseason workout programs open April 21.

The initial portion of the offseason program is limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only, and runs for two weeks. The second part of the program runs for three weeks, and can include on-field drills — however, live contact is prohibited.

The third and final portion includes voluntary organized team activities. Those dates are May 27, May 29-30, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-10, June 12-13. And finally, mandatory minicamp runs from June 17-19 — the last major event on the calendar before the start of training camp, which usually opens the last week of July.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

The Patriots are hosting defensive end Stephon Tuitt on a pre-draft visit, according to Tuitt’s twitter account.