By Adam Hart
Know who was named to the AFC Pro Bowl Team? Brandon Meriweather, that's who.
With this news comes the collective "huh?" from all Patriots fans not related to the freelancing safety. How could a player who struggles to secure consistent playing time make the Pro Bowl? Don't ask Darius Butler or Julian Edelman. Ask Wicked Good Sports.
Here are the reasons, from least- to most-likely:
1) He deserves it.
2) Fellow The U alums banded together to vote one another in. Except the only thing they band together to do is lose and, in recent years, get stompy in brawls. Meriweather's No. 19 in your program:
3) Nobody watches the Pro Bowl due to its tameness. Time to turn the game's secondary into the Wild West of headhunting. Yeehaw.
4) The NFL is hellbent on promoting its game in England, Big Bang Clock style:
5) They ran out of safeties.
6) They forgot Eric Berry plays in the AFC.
7) NFC players saw the friendly-fire hit on Devin McCourty and unanimously selected Meriweather, hoping to increase the chances they earn 45,000 as Pro Bowl winners. Losers get 22,500.
8) He wears No. 31, McCourty wears No. 32. Hanging chad:
9) Remember when he told the media he quit listening to the coaches and decided to try stuff in practice? Other NFLers like the idea of doing what they want.
10) Might get windy in Hawaii, and he did a remarkable job holding the ball on kickoffs in Chicago.
Yes. The kickoff thing has to be it.
Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading while feeling like Warren Beatty took the sneaky way out by handing that wrong Academy Award card to Faye Dunaway last night. Clearly he knew something was amiss and he let her step into it. Kind of a weasel move if you asked me.
-- An interesting letter from FOH (Friend of Haggs) James Mirtle about the pay wall involving The Athletic sports website in Toronto.
-- Dean Lombardi and the Los Angeles Kings dealing for Ben Bishop is about more than just an insurance policy for Jonathan Quick.
-- FOH Mike Halford has the Minnesota Wild going for it with their trade for Martin Hanzal, but also keeping him from the other teams in the West.
-- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says the Penguins are in great shape after winning the Cup last spring, and it’s clear they’re in good hands after Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle opted not to sell the franchise.
-- Kyle Quincey is being held out of the lineup in New Jersey because of pending trades, and the wonder is who else in New Jersey might be getting dealt.
-- Gabriel Landeskog and his Colorado Avalanche teammates know the trade deadline is coming. It would certainly be weird if they didn’t.
-- The San Jose Sharks feel fortunate for the timing of their bye week as it was clear that they needed a break.
-- For something completely different: Gronk was busy doing Gronk things at the Daytona 500 over the weekend.
As the Patriots so often like to do, they promoted from within to fill an open coaching position on Monday.
The team announced that they've named Nick Caley as their tight ends coach, filling the vacancy left behind when Brian Daboll accepted the offensive coordinator position at the University of Alabama last week.
Caley was a coaching assistant with the Patriots for the past two seasons after spending a decade in the college ranks at John Carroll (2005-06), Akron (2006-07), Auburn (2008), Iowa State (2009-11), Eastern Illinois (2012), Arkansas (2013) and Florida Atlantic (2014).
Caley is one of several John Carroll products -- including director of player personnel Nick Caserio, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Shuplinski -- working for the Patriots at the moment. He graduated from the Jesuit university situated just outside of Cleveland in 2006.