Stallworth disappointed high ankle sprain ended his season

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Stallworth disappointed high ankle sprain ended his season

FOXBORO -- Donte' Stallworth's season lasted just twenty plays, the last one an electrifying one-handed catch-and-run that resulted in a 63-yard touchdown to help the Patriots beat the Texans on Monday night, 42-14.

It was a proud moment for him. After being released at the end of Patriots training camp, he spent three months waiting for a chance to join an NFL team. When the Patriots finally brought him back, he worked around the clock with hope that he would make an impact against Houston, and he did.

His adrenaline was pumping after the score. He was excited to make such a grand entrance back into NFL relevance.

Then he got to the Patriots sideline.

"When I sat down it felt like somebody lit a blow torch on my foot," he said. "That's when I realized something wasn't right."

Stallworth suffered what he says is a high-ankle sprain when he was tackled going into the end zone. He was told the normal recovery time for that type of injury would be about 3-4 weeks, and he knew, at this point in the year, the team would likely place him on injured reserve. That's exactly what they did on Tuesday, ending his season.

"Bill Belichick does a great job of communicating. He brought me in his office well before that happened and he explained to me, you know, the situation moving forward," Stallworth said. "I completely agreed with his decision.

"Later in the season once you hit December and the end of November, that window kind of closes a little bit. I completely understand why he did it . . . I wasn't disappointed to be going on IR because I knew that was coming for the most part. But I was disappointed for it to happen after preparing for so hard and sitting at home for three months and coming here and getting an opportunity. But you know, I'm definitely grateful for just being here, during that week and being able to participate and play in that game. It's the season I had. I hadn't played all season. It's bittersweet being here, playing in a game, and then leaving the game and not coming back."

The Patriots re-signed receiver Deion Branch this week to help fill out their receiver group.

Stallworth, who had a noticeable limp as he walked around the Patriots locker room on Thursday, said he asked for Belichick's permission to stay around the team and rehab his ankle using its facilities.

Part of the reason he wanted to stay in New England and not return to his home in Miami was because the Patriots offer him an opportunity to receive treatment multiple times a day. The other reason was because if he had left, he would have missed the locker room atmosphere that he worked so hard to get back to this season.

"Just being able to be around the team," Stallworth said. "It's one of the things, whenever guys retire or when they're no longer in the game, that's one of the things they say they miss the most is the camaraderie and the continuity of being on a team and in a locker room. You come to become really good friends with the guys and it's similar to being family."

Stallworth said he hopes to stay on track with his rehab but he's in no rush for it to heal. Though he's disappointed at how he was hurled back to earth after the most uplifting moment of his season, he was grateful that the injury wasn't worse.

Someone sent him a picture online of how his ankle was bent awkwardly on the touchdown.

"It could have been horrible," Stallworth said. "I think that's one of the things that's helping me not be so disappointed. It definitely could've been worse, really bad, just by looking at the picture. So I just try to maintain an air of positivity around here. I don't wanna be walking around depressed or anything like that. Just try to stay positive around everyone."

This week is especially difficult for Stallworth since he grew up in Sacramento as a San Francisco 49ers fan.  

"I have a lot of family and friends who are 49er fans, calling me from back home, talking trash," he said with a smile. "So you know, I'd definitely like to shut them up personally."

But he can't. It's a fact that's difficult to accept, but one from which he's trying to move on.

"You just keep moving," he said. "There's been a lot of things that have happened to a lot of good people, a lot of worse things that have happened to a lot of people. There's kids who can't eat everyday, or who aren't healthy, or don't have all their limbs. I don't look at it like I'm snake-bitten, but more so it's an unfortunate situation and try to take the positive and continue moving forward from there."

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics agree deal with Zeller and picks Jackson, Bentil

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Report: Celtics agree deal with Zeller and picks Jackson, Bentil

On a busy Saturday for the Celtics, they have brought back center Tyler Zeller and agreed to deals with draft picks Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reported.

Earlier Saturday, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reported that the Celtics will sign guard Gerald Green. 

Himmelsbach reports that Zeller's is a $16 million, two-year deal with the second-year not guaranteed. Jackson, the point guard from Notre Dame who was the 45th overall selection in the draft, has a guaranteed deal and Bentil, the forward from Providence who was the 51st player drafted, has a partially guaranteed deal. 

Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald reported that the second-year of Zeller's deal is a team option and that Green agreed to a one-year deal at the $1.4 million veteran mininum based on his nine years of NBA service.

The 7-foot Zeller averaged 6.1 points and 3.0 rebounds in 11.8 minutes a game last season. 

R.J. Hunter, James Young, Bentil and John Holland are in position to fight for the final roster spot, Himmelsbach reports, pending more deals, which the Celtics are reportedly working on. A source told Himmelsbach, that while there are probably changes coming, "There is no big deal right now." 

With Green, Zeller, and No. 3 overall pick Jaylen Brown, the Celtics have has 15 guaranteed contracts and three partial or non-guaranteed deals. 

 

Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

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Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

We're into the Top 10 now.

These are the plays of the Bill Belichick Era you best never forget. And probably can't. They're the ones that led directly to championships -- most for New England, a couple for the other guys. Or they're plays that signified a sea change in the way the New England Patriots under Belichick would be behaving from there on out.

I did my best to stack them in order of importance. You got a problem with that? Good. Let us know what's too high, too low or just plain wrong. And thanks for keeping up!

PLAY NUMBER: 4

THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Feb. 3, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 20, Rams 17

THE PLAY: Vinatieri 48-yarder in Superdome delivers SB36 win

WHY IT’S HERE: When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, it was viewed nationally and locally as a cathartic moment for a long-suffering region. Deliverance for a fanbase that resolutely suffered through 90 years of star-crossed heartbreak with a mix of stoicism and fatalism. “Long-suffering Red Sox fan” was a badge of honor, an identity. And New Englanders – baseball fans or not - would self-identify with the hideous notion of Red Sox Nation. There was no “Patriots Nation.” To drag out the forced metaphor, Patriots fans were living in tents and cabins in the wilderness, recluses. Reluctant to be seen in town where they’d be mocked. And suddenly, they cobbled together one of the most improbable, magical seasons in American professional sports, a year which gave birth to a dynasty which was first celebrated, now reviled but always respected. And while so many games and plays led to this 48-yarder – ones we’ve mentioned 12 times on this list – Adam Vinatieri kicking a 48-yarder right down the f****** middle to win the Super Bowl was an orgasmic moment for the recluses and pariahs that had been Patriots fans when nobody would admit to such a thing.
 

PLAY NUMBER: 3

THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Jan. 19, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 16, Raiders 13

THE PLAY: Vinatieri from 45 through a blizzard to tie Snow Bowl

WHY IT’S HERE: Two thoughts traveling on parallel tracks were running through the mind while Adam Vinatieri trotted onto the field and lined up his 45-yarder to tie Oakland in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff Game, the final one at Foxboro Stadium. “There’s no way he can make this kick in this weather,” was the first. “The way this season’s gone, I bet he makes this kick. It can’t end here. It can’t end now.” From where I was sitting in the press box I couldn’t see the ball clearly, probably because I was looking for it on a higher trajectory than Vinatieri used. So I remember Vinatieri going through the ball, my being unable to locate it in the air and then looking for the refs under the goalposts to see their signal. And when I located them, I saw the ball scuttle past. Then I saw the officials’ arms rise. Twenty-five years earlier, the first team I ever followed passionately – the ’76 Patriots – left me in tears when they lost to the Raiders in the playoffs. Now, at 33, I was covering that team and it had gotten a measure of retribution for the 8-year-old me.
 

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics to bring back Gerald Green with one-year deal

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Report: Celtics to bring back Gerald Green with one-year deal

The Celtics will sign free agent Gerald Green, the guard they drafted with the 18th overall pick back in 2005, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reported.

Green, 30, played for the Miami Heat last season and averaged 8.9 points a game. Deveney reports Green will sign a one-year guaranteed contract. 

Green has been well-traveled since being traded by the Celtics in the Kevin Garnett deal in 2007, the year he won the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk contest. He has played for seven other NBA teams and played two seasons in Russia. His best season was 2013-14 in Phoenix when he averaged 15.8 points a game for the Suns. 

Deveney also reports that sources around the league continue to indicate the Celtics are looking to make a trade for a "star-caliber type" player. Last week, he reported on their interest in the Clippers' Blake Griffin.