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08/04/2011 - 6:03pm
NFL: Players have ratified new CBA

The news every NFL team was waiting for finally came late Thursday afternoon when the league office was notified that players around the league have ratified the new 10-year collective bargaining agreement, allowing all players to officially report to their teams and begin practicing. 

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed via twitter that commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith will sign the document on Friday morning at 11 a.m. ET in front of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. 

Aiello also confirmed the player ratification via Twitter: Our office was notified at 4:54 pm ET that the players have ratified the new 10-year CBA.

Word came just one week before the opening of the preseason schedule for NFL teams like the Patriots, who open their preseason schedule on Aug. 11 at Gillette Stadium against the Jaguars. 

For more on the Patriots and the NFL, visit the Patriots...

08/04/2011 - 4:38pm
Belichick: Solder signed, ready to practice

FOXBORO -- Before practice Thursday afternoon outside Gillette Stadium, Patriots coach Bill Belichick confirmed the signing of first-round pick Nate Solder. Solder, a left tackle out of Colorado, was taken with the 17th pick overall in April's draft and was one of three remaining unsigned first-round picks in the NFL before Thursday. 

With Solder agreeing to terms of a deal reportedly four years in length, the Patriots have signed all nine draft picks, and all are in camp. 

Solder, who was drafted to provide depth behind 11-year veteran Matt Light, was signed just in time for him to be on the practice field on Thursday, the first day of practice under the new NFL calendar year. 

For more, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/patriots and the football blog It Is What It Is.


08/04/2011 - 4:37pm
Drew (shoulder) has yet to swing bat

J.D. Drew, who has been on the disabled list since July 26 with a left shoulder impingement, has yet to begin a hitting program, according to Red Sox manager Terry Francona. 

“He’s not swinging the bat yet,” Francona said. “Hopefully in the next couple of days, he’ll start doing that and start that progression. He’s been working out like crazy doing the treadmill and shagging balls and all that. But he hasn’t started hitting yet.”

Francona added that Drew was feeling better but simply wasn’t at the point in his recovery that he could begin taking cuts at the plate. 

Drew was hitting just .219 with four home runs and 19 RBI in 77 games this season. He had lost his starting spot in right field to Josh Reddick, who is hitting .341 with four home runs of his own as well as 21 RBI in just 42 games, and hadn’t played in a game since July 19 before the latest DL trip. A week ago...

08/04/2011 - 3:34pm
Lineup: Varitek catching Bedard's Sox debut

Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek will be the man behind the plate for Erik Bedard's debut in Boston on Thursday against the Indians. The captain becomes the 19th person to catch a Bedard outing in the southpaw's eight years in the majors. Bedard was 4-7 with a 3.45 ERA for the Mariners this season before being dealt to the Red Sox seconds before the July 31 trade deadline. When Varitek isn't catching pitches from the newest addition to the Boston roster, he'll be hitting eighth in the lineup. The 39-year-old is riding a five-game hitting streak at the plate, during which he's gone 5-for-19 (.263) with two home runs, three RBI and four runs scored. 

Varitek and the rest of the Sox starting nine will face former friend Justin Masterson, who is pitching in Fenway as a visitor for just the second time since he was dealt on July 31, 2009 in the trade that brought Victor Martinez from Cleveland to Boston.  In Masterson's last 11 starts, he is 3-3...

08/04/2011 - 3:00pm
Patriots, Solder agree to deal
By: DJ Bean

According to Aaron Wilson on Scout.com, the Patriots have signed 17th overall pick Nate Solder. The offensive tackle was the last of the team's draft choices to ink a rookie deal, and it would seem that by signing he will be able to practice with the team on Thursday. 

Solder stands at a 6-foot-9 and 307 pounds, but the former tight end is considered raw and might not see significant time as a rookie given that starting tackles Matt Light and Sebastian Vollmer are both back. 

For more on the Patriots, visit weei.com/patriots.


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