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02/22/2010 - 2:03pm
Confirmed: Wilfork franchised

WEEI.com has learned that the Patriots have assigned the non-exclusive franchise tag to nose tackle Vince Wilfork.

 



The news that Wilfork was franchised was first reported by the Providence Journal.


 

Wilfork, who just finished the final season of a six-year contract he signed as a rookie, had expressed anger about the possibility of being franchised by the Patriots, saying that would be a “slap in the face.”



 

“I want a long-term deal, or I want to be free. Point blank. And that’s how I’m looking at it,” he told WEEI. “That’s how my family is looking at it. It’s a short window of opportunity for me to go and make the type of money that I want to make. And hey, like I said, family comes first.


 

“Yeah, [the franchise tag is] decent money for most people out there. What I do, it’s OK,” he added. “But I...

02/22/2010 - 1:58pm
Ortiz: 'I think people give up on me'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- David Ortiz made his debut in camp on Monday in Fort Myers and came out swinging against his critics who think he's getting less productive as a slugger. He said it will motivate him this season.

 

"I think people give up on me too early, too fast, start talking about age and all that kind of stuff," said Ortiz of his critics during a 2009 season in which he batted .238 with 28 homers and 99 RBIs. "You listen to it for a minute, it was the same people who were clapping for you a year before and saying good things about you. Mind change that quick, I don't believe in that but it's a one-minute thing. That's the way I see it. I'm strong enough to deal with that and put that in the past."

 

For a look at what the future might hold for Ortiz beyond 2010,...

02/22/2010 - 1:13pm
Pats resurfacing Gillette Stadium

The Patriots announced Monday morning that the field at Gillette Stadium is being resurfaced with FieldTurf Duraspine PRO, scheduled to begin today. The new FieldTurf system will be in place when the Revolution play their 2010 home opener on April 10 against Toronto FC. The first event on the new surface will be the New England Lacrosse Classic on April 3.
 
“The Patriots and Revolution have enjoyed great success on FieldTurf at Gillette Stadium,” said Jonathan Kraft, president of The Kraft Group. “When we heard that FieldTurf was finalizing the development of Duraspine PRO, we wanted to be one of the first to have it. The surface will set the stadium apart, particularly for soccer events, which pay close attention to the differences in playing surface dynamics when choosing venues.”

For more Patriots news, check out our football blog, It Is What It Is...

02/22/2010 - 12:34pm
Manny: Last season in LA

Manny Ramirez made his first appearance at Dodgers spring training Monday morning and said he expects this will be his final season with Los Angeles. "I won't be here next year, so I just want to enjoy myself," Ramirez told the assembled media. "I don't know [if I'll play next year]. I just know I'm not going to be here. When the season is over, I will see where I'm at." The former Red Sox slugger said he has not been told by the team that he isn't in its plans, adding: "I'm just speculating, but I'm not 23 anymore." He also said he would have enjoyed spending more of his career with the Dodgers. "That has been great," he said of his 1-1/2 seasons in LA since being traded from Boston. "I wish I could have been there a long time ago." Read more at the Full Count blog.


02/22/2010 - 12:02pm
Skinner favors tourney expansion

Boston College coach Al Skinner, appearing on the ACC basketball coaches teleconference Monday morning, said he favors an expansion of the NCAA tournament. There has been a movement to increase the field from 65 to 96 teams, and Skinner supports it. "Unfortunately, so much is dependent on [coaches] keeping their jobs as far as who makes the tournament, and I think that's an unfair barometer when you consider the percentage of shools that can actually make the tournament," Skinner said. "In comparison to football, the percentages don't work very favorably for [basketball] coaches, and right now that's what they get judged on. So from my standpoint, an increased field will give a few more opportunities for guys to make the tournament and increase the percentage of schools to get in."

 

The Eagles (13-13, 4-8 ACC) are coming off a victory over North Carolina Saturday at Conte Forum and host Virginia Tech Wednesday night as...

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