Chung focused on team in contract year

560128.jpg

Chung focused on team in contract year

FOXBORO -- Patrick Chung enters 2012 on the last year of his rookie contract.

Asked Thursday if he's happy to have another season, Chung missed the point.

"Who's not excited for that?" he laughed. "I love playing football. It's always exciting."

The moment provides an interesting glimpse as to his state of mind. It seems Chung is happily absorbed in OTAs, in the immediacy of New England's present moment.

You cant think about that stuff now, he said, once directed to contract talk. Thats when you make mistakes. Youve got to go into every season like everything is the same and nothing has changed.

Every year is the same. Youve got to ball out, regardless if its year one to year four. Youve got to play hard. Im not really worried about it.

So money isn't on the man's mind? Yeah, right. Any athlete would be a fool not to consider his future. It's just that Chung has plenty else to consider in the here and now.

More responsibility in a leadership role, for one thing.

"Coaches on the sideline give us information; youve got to have someone to relay it out there. I have to take charge and be mentally prepared," he said. "Everybody is physical, fast, strong, big, but the smarter guy always wins. So Im trying to be smarter than everybody."

Second round pick Tavon Wilson will need schooling at safety. Offseason acquisition Steve Gregory is a seven-year veteran, but new to the Patriots system. And there are other changes -- more vets, more pups -- to the rest of what was a much-maligned secondary last season.

We all help each other. Regardless of who is safety or whos at corner. If CB Devin McCourty sees something I dont see, hell tell me. If I see something that he doesnt see, Ill tell him. Its kind of like a brotherhood, youre going to tell your brothers what your going to tell them, whether its bad or its good."

There was too much of the bad, too much inconsistency overall last year. Beyond the group's struggles, Chung's personal development was derailed by a foot injury that forced him to miss half the regular season.

He said he's put it all -- Super Bowl disappointment included -- behind him.

The offseason is the offseason. You get out of it, but youre ready to get back into it. Im glad to be back with my boys. Its time to play some ball.

This is an important year for the Patriots safety. In more ways than one.

Easley on character concerns: 'It's all rumors' until sources step forward

easley.jpg

Easley on character concerns: 'It's all rumors' until sources step forward

When Dominique Easley was released by the Patriots this spring, it wasn't because he wasn't productive when he was on the field. In fact, on a per-snap basis, he was one of the most productive interior pass-rushers in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Instead, there were some off-the-field factors, as well as injury concerns, that led to the Patriots choosing to cut ties with their 2014 first-round pick. 

As our Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran put it, there were "philosophical differences" between Easley and the team.

Other, more scathing reports of Easley's impact in New England were released, including one report from the Boston Globe that included a quote from a former teammate saying he was a "locker room cancer."

Since then, Easley has landed with the Rams and has a chance to contribute to one of the most talented defensive lines in football. In an interview on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Phil Savage and Amber Theoharis, Easley said he hopes that his new team will get to see that he's a better person than some have indicated.

"Just really," Easley said, "just hopefully that the Rams get to see what a great person and a great hardworker I am, and really, just a great person."

Easley went on to say that he's not sure who would speak of him negatively or why. He explained that it's not his "main goal" to prove there's nothing to worry about with his character, but clearly it's somewhere on the list. 

"There's been, obviously, stuff said about me," Easley said. "We don't know where it came from. I would say the person doesn't want to come out and say it, neither. As far as I know, it's all rumors until that person comes out and say that it was from them, and they can prove that they actually know who I am, or been around me long enough to know who I am and how I am as a person."

PFT: NFL plans to interview Manning about Al Jazeera PED allegations

broncos-peyton-manning-012016.jpg

PFT: NFL plans to interview Manning about Al Jazeera PED allegations

Peyton Manning is retired, but that doesn't mean he's exempt from the interviews that the NFL plans to conduct as it looks into the allegations made by Al Jazeera's December PED documentary. 

It was reported last week by USA Today that the league's senior vice president of labor policy and league affairs Adolpho Birch informed the NFLPA that players named in Al Jazeera's report would be interviewed in July. 

Among those scheduled to be interviewed are Packers linebackers Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews and Steelers linebacker James Harrison. Former Packers linebacker Mike Neal will also be interviewed.

(Harrison has taken issue with the league's request, and said on social media that he would only meet with the league if commissioner Roger Goodell showed up to his home.)

Manning was not mentioned in the letter obtained by USA Today detailing the league's interview plans, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk followed up on Monday to see if the NFL intended to speak with Manning. It does.

The former Broncos and Colts quarterback has been very vocal about just how strongly he denies Al Jazeera's claim that his wife, Ashley, received HGH for his use. Despite the fact that he's no longer playing, it will come as no surprise if, given his stance, Manning cooperates fully with the league as it seeks more information regarding the report. 

As Florio points out, if Manning hopes to return to the NFL at some point as an executive -- as many believe he will -- this is something he'll want to put to bed beforehand. That process will start with an interview.