Hightower signing eliminates contract drama

Hightower signing eliminates contract drama

By Tom E. Curran

The final rookie of the Patriots draft class has agreed to terms. Donta Hightower, the 25th pick out of Alabama, got his deal done Wednesday according to our buddy at ProFootballTalk.com, Mike Florio.

Just yesterday, the estimable Paoletti looked closer at the unsigned first and second-rounders and noted the hangup for Hightower was a guaranteed fourth year.

We still don't know whether he got that fourth year guaranteed or not.

What we do know is that the off-field wrangling over dollars and cents won't be keeping any Patriots out of camp this year.

And, hence, there should be an air of tranquility down in Foxboro.

We've had our share of contract stakeouts down there over the past few seasons. From Mankins to Brady to rookies like Ras-I Dowling last year, the business side has intruded.

This year, it won't. At least not directly.

Let's be honest, there is zero doubt that Wes Welker wanted to know where he'd be playing in 2013. Working for someone is easier when you don't have to worry that you'll be shown the door in a few months.

But the fact Welker is franchised and has been lugging that tag along for almost six months means he's by now reconciled to his situation.

And while the rules of media engagement require us to ask about his "leap of faith" that fell flat, he won't say anything that's a direct shot at the Patriots. If inwardly he seethes, outwardly he'll be accepting.

Some people in my line of work will pine for a good contract dustup in camp. Picking at contractual scabs - basically worrying about other people's business - is an easy angle. Better to beat that to a pulp than discuss, ya know, football.

Of course, Aaron Hernandez is going into the final year of his rookie deal in 13 months...never too early to start asking....

Fridays' Patriots-Ravens practice report: Richards returns to the field

Fridays' Patriots-Ravens practice report: Richards returns to the field

Friday's practice participation/injury report for Monday night's Patriots-Ravens game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
TE Martellus Bennett (ankle/shoulder)
DB Jordan Richards (knee)
LB Elandon Roberts (hamstring)
DB Eric Rowe (hamstring)
WR/SpT Matthew Slater (foot)

BALTIMORE RAVENS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
TE Crockett Gilmore (thigh)
LB Terrell Suggs (not injury related)
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (thigh)
C Jeremy Zuttah (not injury related)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
G Alex Lewis (ankle)

FULL PARTICIPATION
G Marshal Yanda (shoulder)

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis. 

Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time. 

The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.

Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball.