Are some players more important than others?

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Are some players more important than others?

It seems kind of strange to have one of your star players part of the PAT team, but that's the case with Rob Gronkowski.

Bill Belichick goes to great depths to say that everybody is equal on the Pats. But don't you have to be careful with the star players? Troy Brown has his answer:

"You can sit here and say no all day long, but I think we all know better than that that there are guys out there that you really don't want to have -- in certain situations you would prefer to have someone else out there," Brown said. "It is the Patriot Way, you try to make people feel like they're just as important as everybody else."

Dan Shaughnessy wonders if Gronk really needs to be on that team.

"It's more of the idea that he's on the PAT team," he said. "If he's going to be on that team, I understand him being out there for that play. Should he be on that team? How important is that? And obviously with the score what it is, do you need him for that?"

Mike Felger, on the other hand, doesn't want everybody treated the same on the Patriots, but Troy Brown has a different perspective.

"I do feel like that as a team player, it's extremely important to have everybody feel like they are an integral part of your football team. That's extremely important. You can't have guys going out there, and coming into practice, and going into games feeling like, 'Well, they can do without me.'"

Thomas to represent Celtics at NBA draft lottery

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Thomas to represent Celtics at NBA draft lottery

WALTHAM, Mass. – Isaiah Thomas has been beating the odds for about as long as he has been playing basketball.

The Boston Celtics are hoping he can do the same for them during next month’s draft lottery when the Celtics learn exactly where their first round pick from Brooklyn will land in the lottery (top-14).
 
Because of the Nets' regular season record (21-61), the pick which came to Boston via the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade in 2013, has the third-best chances of becoming the No. 1 overall pick which would presumably be used to select LSU’s Ben Simmons.

Thomas was asked about representing the Celtics at the draft lottery during his exit interview on Friday.

“I’m going to do it,” Thomas said. “I’m definitely going to be that guy, hopefully bring some luck.”

When asked if he had any particular good luck charms he will bring with him, Thomas responded, “Nah. But I’m going to do my research and find something.”

Thomas was selected with the 60th – and final – pick of the 2011 NBA draft, and has exceeded all expectations of player drafted so late.

Most players selected at that point are fighting just to make an NBA roster.

But the 5-foot-9 Thomas has been among the top scorers from his draft class, and this past season was named to his first all-star team.

This past season he averaged a career-high 22.2 points per game along with 6.2 assists. While the playoffs ended on a sour note for Thomas, he still wound up averaging a team-best 24.2 points, 5.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game.

While some might think being asked to be at the lottery isn’t that big a deal, Thomas sees it as yet another moment that speaks to how far he has come in beating the odds that for most of his basketball career were stacked heavily against him.

“Coming from where I’m from and the story I have, you would never think I would be asked to represent an NBA franchise at the lottery,” Thomas said. “It’s a blessing for him (Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations) to even ask me that. I’m excited to do it. Hopefully I can bring some luck.”

Goodell: 'Of course' he'd pick up the phone for Brady settlement talks

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Goodell: 'Of course' he'd pick up the phone for Brady settlement talks

While a settlement between the NFL and Tom Brady seems unlikely -- OK, highly unlikely -- commissioner Roger Goodell told ESPN Radio on Friday that he would "of course" pick up the phone if the Patriots or their quarterback called to discuss an agreement. 

Still, Goodell didn't say whether or not he would be open to knocking down Brady's four-game suspension that was reinstated by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from earlier this week. 

"We had a lot of discussions last summer," Goodell said. "There were a lot of offers back and forth about what to do to settle the issue. They chose to pursue the issue and we chose to move forward and we are where we are."

There continue to be voices speaking out on how Goodell may wield too much power when it comes to player discipline, the latest of which being that of Saints quarterback Drew Brees. But Goodell defended his role, as he has most of this week, citing the importance of the "integrity of the game."

"I am not going to hand off the integrity of the NFL to somebody who does not understand our business," Goodell said. "That is what we're going to maintain when it comes to the integrity of the game. Maybe something as it relates to the drug program and whether proper protocol is followed? I get it. Go ahead. Somebody else can make that decision. But when it comes to integrity of the game, that is the commissioner's responsibilities and has been since the day the NFL was formed."

Thomas: 'If you don't want to play for Celtics, you don't know basketball'

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Thomas: 'If you don't want to play for Celtics, you don't know basketball'

The Celtics season came to an end Thursday night as the Hawks took the first-round series in six games.

That stung everybody on the Celtics pretty hard in the moments after the final buzzer. But nobody appeared more upset than Isaiah Thomas, who made it clear that he poured his heart and soul into this season.

The goal now? To get better from within . . . and from the outside. That means bringing in some star talent.

Thomas spoke with reporters Friday after his end-of-season meeting with Celtics President Danny Ainge. He told them that everybody, especially Ainge, can see that the team needs a little more talent.

Acquiring it isn't easy, but having spent a season-and-a-half in Boston, Thomas doesn't see why someone wouldn't want to play for the Celtics.

There's no beating around the bush: Kevin Durant is the prized target this offseason. The Celtics appear to at least be somewhat in the picture. You can bet Thomas will do what he can to help.

The Celtics have an energetic fan base, a young team, and a load of assets. One of those assets will be determined at the lottery. And guess who will be there?