Belichick: Vereen running into Pats' plans

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Belichick: Vereen running into Pats' plans

FOXBORO -- Running back Shane Vereen got his most reps of the season out of the backfield on Sunday against the New York Jets.

In a conference call on Monday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick praised Vereen for being prepared for the opportunity that came his way over the weekend. He called for all of his players to be ready for that opportunity, like Vereen was.

But on Tuesday, Belichick opened up even more about Vereen's value to the Patriots, saying that the second-year running back is capable of making his own opportunity, and that he hopes Vereen does just that.

"Shane's a smart kid," said Belichick. "I think he has a good understanding of the game, the running game, the passing game, pass protection, space plays. Where to be, how to get open and find space, that kind of thing. He's an elusive guy, he's got good balance. He's got good playing strength for his size. He's not the biggest guy, but he's got good playing strength.

"So he gives us some versatility there, and I think he's able to run inside, run in some traffic, but he's a good space player on the edge and in the passing game, that kind of thing. He's really got good value for us."

Vereen had eight carries for 49 total yards on Sunday. Prior to that, he had only two carries for one total yard all season. The absence of Brandon Bolden (knee) on Sunday was one reason that Vereen saw more reps against the Jets. But as Belichick pointed out on Tuesday, Vereen's health has played into that more than anything.

Belichick believes that Vereen has plenty of value to this year's Patriots team. And at the end of the day, his reps will increase as he stays healthy, not as others get injured.

"I don't hope anything happens to anybody else, but hopefully he'll get more opportunities, because I think he can contribute for us," said Belichick. "More of it is, Shane being healthy and Shane being ready to go, than waiting for something to happen to somebody else. It's more a case of him really being able to go out there and being the player that he is.

"He had a good training camp, and then he kind of got set back there at the end of camp, beginning of the season . . . I do think he can be productive, regardless of who else is out there. He's a good player in his own right, without waiting for somebody else to get injured or whatever."

Brady, Gronkowski make Top 10 of NFL Network's Top 100

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Brady, Gronkowski make Top 10 of NFL Network's Top 100

Ask a football fan in New England, and he or she might tell you that Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are the top two players in the NFL. A random NFL player might not be as generous, but on balance, Brady and Gronkowski's peers consider the Patriots stars to be among the top 10 talents in the league. 

The NFL Network announced the final 10 players to be included in their annual Top 100 list, a list voted on by players, and both Brady and Gronkowski made the cut.

The order of the top 10 has been determined, but has not yet been announced. Brady and Gronkowski are in the running for No. 1 alongside Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Luke Kuechly, Cam Newton, Adrian Peterson, Aaron Rodgers and JJ Watt. 

The weekly series, which has counted down Nos. 100-11, will end on Wednesday, July 6 with two, one-hour episodes on NFL Network at 8 and 9 p.m. Highlights of each player will be featured, as will interviews with some of their teammates and competitors. 

"He plays with a chip on his shoulder he’s always had," Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins said of Brady, "that really separates him."

Of Rob Gronkowski, Texans corner Charles James II said, "He's a glitch on Madden."

The only other Patriots players included in the Top 100 were Julian Edelman (who came in at No. 87) and Chandler Jones (No. 48). Jones, now a member of the Cardinals, was the only Patriots defender involved. 

Corner Malcolm Butler, linebackers Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower and safety Devin McCourty all had an argument to be included but were left off. 

NFL.com contributors Gregg Rosenthal, Chris Wesseling, Maurice Jones-Drew and Ike Taylor put together their own individual Top 100 lists to supplement the one voted on by current players. Rosenthal included Collins (No. 64), McCourty (No. 73) and Butler (No. 99) in addition to Edelman (No. 84). Wesseling included Collins (No. 43), McCourty (No. 88) and Hightower (No. 91), but not Edelman. Jones-Drew included both Edelman (No. 62) and Butler (No. 95). Taylor included only Edelman (No. 89).

Brady to Amendola on Facebook: 'Paddle's fixed. Time for a rematch!'

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Brady to Amendola on Facebook: 'Paddle's fixed. Time for a rematch!'

When Danny Amendola told the world on Tuesday that he's better than Tom Brady at ping pong, the quarterback must have been listening. 

On his Facebook page, Brady published a snarling image of his face Photoshopped onto the body of a table tennis player. That paddle he broke after losing to Amendola three years ago? It's fixed, Brady explained in the caption. And he's ready for a rematch.

Talk about intimidation.

Wilfork embracing modeling, tells Brady to put him in touch with Gisele's people

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Wilfork embracing modeling, tells Brady to put him in touch with Gisele's people

Vince Wilfork will be one of many well-known athletes to strip down and pose nude for photographs in ESPN The Magazine's's Body issue, joining a group that includes Cubs pitcher Jake Arrietta, Broncos defensive end Von Miller and Heat guard Dwyane Wade.

Judging by his latest tweet, the former Patriots defensive lineman -- who is listed at 325 pounds -- is getting pretty comfortable with the idea of becoming a model.

Now it's up to Tom Brady to play match-maker, it seems. Gisele retired from the runway last year so maybe her people are on the lookout for some new talent.