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12/12/2012 - 2:04pm
Report: Ed Hochuli will referee Patriots-Niners

Referee Ed Hochuli -- he of the massive biceps and knack for overexplanation -- will be the lead official for the Patriots-Niners game Sunday night at Gillette Stadium, according to FootballZebras.com. Hochuli, who has worked an an NFL official since 1990, has served as the lead referee for two Super Bowls. This marks his first Patriots' game since 2010, when he served as the lead official in a New England win over Green Bay at Gillette Stadium.

For more on Hochuli's tendencies as an official, check out his page at Pro Football Reference. And for more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.


12/12/2012 - 1:53pm
Pats officially bring back Deion Branch

FOXBORO -- With a season-ending ankle injury to Donte' Stallworth on his 63-yard TD Monday night, the Patriots ended speculation Wednesday by officially re-signing receiver Deion Branch. In addition, the Patriots signed rookie receiver Tony Logan to the practice squad.

The 33-year-old Branch injured his hamstring in early Nov. and was released on Nov. 17 after catching nine passes for 80 yards during the first seven weeks of the season. Stallworth was replaced by Greg Salas and Julian Edelman. When Edelman was placed on the injured reserve list last week, Stallworth was signed to take his place and contributed with a touchdown catch against the Texans. On the play, he was tackled from behind and suffered the ankle injury.

"Same thing he brought to the team before," coach Bill Belichick said of Branch's return for a third time this season. "With Donte' out, he gives us a good level of experience, knows our system, has played for us...

12/12/2012 - 12:37pm
Brady honored on 'his day' with AFC award

FOXBORO -- In a fitting award on 12/12/12, Tom Brady has been named AFC offensive player of the week by the NFL for his performance in the Patriots’ 42-14 victory over the Texans last Monday night. It is the 23rd time in his career that Brady has received the AFC offensive player of the week honor, breaking a tie with Denver’s Peyton Manning for the most Player of the Week awards earned by a player since the accolade was instituted in 1984.

It is Brady’s third honor this year, after earning the award for his performances in the Patriots’ 52-28 victory over Buffalo in Week 4 and the 45-7 win over St. Louis in London in Week 8. The quarterback who wears the most famous No. 12 in Boston sports history, was in a meeting when the clock struck 12:12:12 p.m. The Patriots changed their Twitter avatar to show the back of Brady's jersey. 

Brady completed 21 of 35 passes for 296 yards and four touchdown passes against the Texans....

12/12/2012 - 11:28am
Report: Gronkowski might return vs. 49ers

Tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to try to practice with the Patriots this week in preparation for Sunday night's game against the 49ers, according to a report from Shalise Manza-Young of The Boston Globe.

Gronkowski has been out since suffering an arm injury (reportedly a broken left forearm) in the final minutes of a rout of the Colts on Nov. 18. He had surgery the following day. New England has won all three games since.

On Tuesday, the Pats released tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. They also placed receiver Donte' Stallworth on season-ending injured reserve and brought back veteran receiver Deion Branch.

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.


12/12/2012 - 8:47am
Source: Sox still interested in Swisher

According to an industry source, the Red Sox have remained in contact with the representatives for Nick Swisher throughout the offseason, even after the team reached agreement with Shane Victorino to play right field and Mike Napoli to serve as an everyday first baseman. 

With emergent questions about whether there might have been an issue with Napoli's physical after an anticipated Tuesday press conference to introduce the slugger at Fenway did not take place, Swisher and Adam LaRoche represent the top two market alternatives at first base. LaRoche, who turned 33 in November, hit .271/.343/.510/.853 with 33 homers in 2012 for the Nationals. Swisher, who turned 32 in November, hit .272/.364/.473/.837 with 24 homers in 2012 for the Yankees. 

LaRoche is left-handed, while Swisher is a switch-hitter, so either could potentially bring a measure of balance to a Red Sox lineup that currently skews right-handed. However, both players also would...

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