Bolden buttoned up at Friday rookie camp

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Bolden buttoned up at Friday rookie camp

FOXBORO -- Friday was the first day of school for freshmen.
Rookie mini camp.
It's accurate to say all six who were made available -- from undrafted free agent Brandon Bolden to Alabama first-rounder Dont'a Hightower -- were nervous. It's also fair to say Bolden may have been more nervous than most.
"Glad to be here," Bolden said, standing before his first career reporter hoard. Over the next six minutes he worked up a brilliant sweat under the lights.
Bolden was projected as a fifth to sixth round pick, in no small part because of character and maturity concerns. The cause for concern, however, is unclear.
In 2011, the Ole Miss captain was suspended for one of the biggest games of the year, a tilt with Nick Saban's Crimson Tide, for infracting team rules. But there aren't other strikes to write conclusively about.
Not that you can't ask if you're interested.
"Come investigate it," Bolden challenged. "Just watch me. I really don't have an answer for 'em."
So compounding the nervousness was a slight edge. The running back was loath to open up, to say the wrong thing.
"Pretty sure it was pretty much like everybody else's," Bolden said of the draft weekend. "There wasn't anything special about my experience -- just sitting by the phone. There was Really was no kind of stellar emotion, it was just a sigh of relief that it was over."
Relief? To go undrafted?
"Just that the entire draft process was over. Getting drafted, going undrafted it really didn't matter. I just wanted to play football."
If you think he'd ease up in context of the game, well, you'd be wrong. Bolden's path has been compared to that of former Patriot BenJarvus Green-Ellis' for several reasons: they're running backs, both went to Ole Miss, both went undrafted, both ended up in New England.
But Bolden isn't interested in the parallel. Understandable, since he hasn't played a snap in the NFL.
"Ben was at Ole Miss the four years before I was there; he was walking out the door as I was coming in. He's a great guy, a great running back. I watched a lot of film on him.
"Honestly, I haven't paid much attention to it. Ben did what he did because that's what Ben does. And I'm coming in trying to make it as he did."
Their styles are considered similar. Though Green-Ellis' ball security is basically irreplaceable -- zero career fumbles in both college and the pros -- Bolden has, according to Pro Football Weekly, good hands. He's also a fluid, "effective inside runner" with "nice vision and good feet in tight corners."
Today beings the process of unfurling it all on the field. Bolden doesn't have to give reporters two full sentences for the rest of the season (and he might not, per New England's usual rookie treatment), but where he doesn't have to tell, he must show.
"There's a lot of young guys and everybody's trying to prove the same point. Why not throw my two cents in as well? I'm just here to make them better, to push them as well as they're going to push me.
"That's why I'm here to try and figure out what I need to do. They're going to evaluate me just like they're going to do everybody else. Just try. Just try my hardest, that's all I can do."

Monday, May 30: Sullivan reminisces about coaching Thornton

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Monday, May 30: Sullivan reminisces about coaching Thornton

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while honoring and remembering those that paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freed on this Memorial Day.

*Here’s a hockey column from Mark Madden, which kind of proves his dopiness when it comes to pucks. He writes about Pittsburgh’s excellent shutdown pair of Ian Cole and Justin Schultz, who have averaged a whopping 15 and 13 minutes of ice time respectively in these playoffs. Yeah, that’s not a shutdown pair. That’s called a bottom pairing.

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri with another chapter in hockey’s version of the Never-ending Story: John Scott wants to make his own World Cup team with Phil Kessel.

*Mike Sullivan reminisces about coaching Joe Thornton, and playing for the San Jose Sharks, as his Penguins ready to take on San Jose in the Stanley Cup Final.

*In the interest of self-promotion, here’s me wondering what the heck the Bruins are doing on Sports Sunday last night on CSN.

*Apparently Alex Semin is going to stay in the KHL for this coming season. I don’t think anybody is too heartbroken around the NHL about this given the way things ended for him.

*Buffalo’s Mike Harrington says that Sidney Crosby returns to the Stanley Cup Final with a new kind of hunger

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Zeisberger goes 1-on-1 with Joe Thornton, who says that the cat likes his Hillbilly Jim playoff beard.

*For something completely different: I haven’t yet read this Joe Posnanski piece on the play Hamilton and his daughter, but I’ll include it because everybody says that it’s great.