Patriots Notes: Monday

Patriots Notes: Monday

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- The Patriots had an earlier-than-usual practice on Monday at Gillette Stadium. Here are a few things that stuck out, as the team prepares for the New Orleans Saints, who arrive in New England tomorrow for a joint practice and Thursday night's preseason game:

The annual rookie initiation took place Monday with veterans using a hose and rookies wallowing around on the ground in the mud. Not too diabolical but in our "What about the children?!?!?!" age, one could imagine this being construed as hazing by people with too much time on their hands. Hopefully, there will be no demonstrations.

ESPN's Linda Cohn was at camp on Monday, though it didn't appear to be in a professional capacity. ESPN's AFC East blogger James Walker concluded his cruise through the division in Foxboro.

--Safety Sergio Brown made one of the better defensive plays of the day, sticking with the speedy Julian Edelman on a deep slant route, and getting his hand extended enough to knock down a sure-thing Tom Brady touchdown pass, had he not been there to break it up.

--Monday wasn't as bad an offensive day for the top unit as Sunday, but the second unit was sloppy at times. One of the sloppiest moments was an Eric Kettani drop on a screen pass to the right side. Kettani was wide open on the play. No drop is a good drop. For a player like Kettani fighting for a roster spot, it's especially bad.

--Defensive back Malcolm Williams created the biggest "wow" moment in the team's 1-on-1 battle drills between defensive backs and receiversbacks. In complete WWE fashion, Williams took tight end Tyler Urban at the mid-section, picked him up, spun around, and slammed him to the ground, causing quite the reaction at the Gillette Stadium practice fields.

--Ryan Wendell took most of the snaps at center with the Patriots' top offensive unit on Monday, as Dan Koppen was mainly with the second group. The rest of the offensive line's top unit remained the same, with Donald Thomas still at left guard, in pace of the retired Robert Gallery.

There was a palpably different vibe to camp on Monday. More businesslike as opposed to emotional and intense.

Kyle Love was back out at practice after getting eye-poked on Sunday.

There was a rare drop by wide receiver Brandon Lloyd in 7-on-7. He merely lost concentration on a perfectly thrown deep ball by Tom Brady.

Brady seemed extremely dialed-in and accurate on Monday.

Report: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees reach deal for $86M, 5 years

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Report: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees reach deal for $86M, 5 years

OXON HILL, Md. - Aroldis Chapman found a spot in a most familiar bullpen - a very rich spot, too.

The hard-throwing closer reached agreement to return to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night with the highest-priced contract ever for a relief pitcher, an $86 million deal for five years.

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the contract was pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet complete.

Once it's done, the 28-year-old lefty whose fastballs routinely top 100 mph would shatter the previous richest contract for a reliever - that was the $62 million, four-year deal Mark Melancon signed with San Francisco just a couple days ago during the winter meetings.

Chapman was acquired by New York from the Cincinnati Reds last offseason, then missed the first 29 games of the season due to a domestic violence suspension from Major League Baseball. The Cuban was traded to the Chicago Cubs in late July and helped them win the World Series, becoming a free agent when it was over.

Chapman went 4-1 with 36 saves and a 1.55 ERA in a combined 59 games for the Yankees and Cubs. He struggled some in the postseason as the Cubs beat Cleveland for their first championship since 1908.

With the Yankees this season, Chapman teamed with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances in one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball history. Miller was later traded to Cleveland, but Betances is still with New York.

Earlier this week, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team was interested in both Chapman and fellow free agent closer Kenley Jansen. The Yankees had already made one deal at these meetings, signing slugger Matt Holliday, before paying a lot more to bring Chapman back to the Bronx.

Fox Sports first reported the agreement.