Gregory striving to be a starter

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Gregory striving to be a starter

FOXBORO -- Steve Gregory walked onto the Gillette Stadium turf Thursday for his introduction to the New England media. He stretched his face toward the sun contentedly for a moment.

"Just like San Diego," he smiled.

Even after six seasons with the Chargers, don't think he'll hate Massachusetts in January; Gregory grew up in Staten Island, New York. He knows what the region is like -- that was part of the Patriots appeal.

"It's been great," he said of his new home. "Came back out here to the East Coast with my wife, and I'm excited. I'm excited to be here. Thankful to the Kraft family, coach Belichick and the organization for the opportunity to come out here and help this organization try and win a championship."

Yes, that last part is pretty important, too. The Syracuse grad gushed about how thrilled he is to move closer to home, but Gregory made it clear his focus is football.

"Just the chance to be a part of this organization. It's a winning organization," he said. "Everyone's goal is to win a Super Bowl, and I know that this gives me a great opportunity to do that."

In what capacity? Though Gregory has been used primarily as a defensive back, he also has experience on special teams. Considering New England's "the more you can do" mentality, that's not a bad thing.

Gregory knows it.

"Special teams -- that's the way I made my way in this league. I came in undrafted and really worked hard to work my way onto a roster," he said. "I did that in San Diego by playing hard on special teams; played all four. Did that for my first two years before I started to build up into playing time on defense. It's important. Special teams is part of the game and I look forward to playing and contributing on special teams as well."

His main focus will be elsewhere. The Patriots secondary needs help this offseason -- plenty of it -- and Gregory can play both safety positions as well as in the slot. His three-year, 7.05 million deal testifies to faith in his ability.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound back is returning the favor with confidence.

"I think any player in this league . . . You strive yourself to be a starter in this league, you approach it that way. I'll approach practice, I'll approach the offseason, I'll approach everything to be a starter. I think that's the only way you can go about it. I think every player should go about it that way. The competition on the field will let it stand where it stands."

Tuesday, May 3: Stamkos, Subban as 10-year-old teammates

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Tuesday, May 3: Stamkos, Subban as 10-year-old teammates

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while starting to actually feel badly for the Republican Party.

*Lukas Head revisits an old photo taken with Steven Stamkos and PK Subban when all three were youth hockey players together.

*A disappointed Brooks Orpik gets emotional when discussing his playoff suspension. Maybe he should stop lining up guys for predatory hits if he doesn’t want to be suspended. His track record, and unwillingness to answer the bell for his actions, is well-chronicled.

*Barry Trotz hints that the Pittsburgh Penguins received preferential treatment in the aforementioned Brooks Orpik suspension.

*A heartwarming story of the San Jose Sharks saving the black cat that somehow jumped on the ice at the Shark Tank prior to Game 1 of their playoff series.

*Congratulations to the inspirational Travis Roy, who was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame last weekend.

*Bob Hartley is fired by the Calgary Flames. Could it be that it was done to make room for Bruce Boudreau, asks Puck Daddy?

*Former Bruins enforcer PJ Stock did some kind of FaceTime television hit with Rogers Sportsnet to make some playoff predictions.

*For something completely different: Jerry Thornton has a number of local Boston businesses banning Roger Goodell from their premises.

 

 

New QB Brissett comes in with high praise from Parcells, Weis

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New QB Brissett comes in with high praise from Parcells, Weis

Suddenly, there’s an awful lot on the plate of young Jacoby Brissett.

Drafted in the third round by the Patriots, he’s charged with learning one of the most difficult offenses to in the NFL, performing in one of the league’s most demanding programs, dealing with being two heart attacks away from being the starter for a dynastic franchise and living up to the advance billing that’s built him up as one of the great Americans of the 21st century.

Bill Parcells, who’s known Brissett since the NC State product was in high school, spoke to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. The Tuna pumped Brissett’s tires up beyond all reasonable inflation levels.

“He’s a Curtis Martin, Willie McGinest, Troy Brown-type player,” Parcells said, reeling off the names of one Pro Football Hall of Famer and two Patriots Hall of Famers. “That’s the kind of guy he is. That’s what New England is getting. Those kinds, those Tedy Bruschi types, those players who’ve been successful — he’s very similar in his personal life to those kinds of guys.”

Former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, who coached Brissett at Florida in Weis’ vagabond post-Patriots career, was also reached by the intrepid Guregian.

“I only got to coach him for one season, but I absolutely loved the kid as a player and a person,” said Weis. “I couldn’t be any happier that he ended up in New England.”

There’s much more from both Weis and Parcells but I’m not going to scavenge the whole article so click here to see it. 

Meanwhile, Josh McDaniels on Monday also spoke about Brissett in complimentary but far-less-fawning terms.

“We’ll find out more as we get to know him in our building, but I know we feel good about the kid,” said McDaniels. “He did a lot of good things in college. He played in a lot of big games and played against some really good football teams. He performed well and admirably for his team. He takes care of the ball, makes some smart decisions. He’s a big kid and sometimes he’s hard to bring down in the pocket. There are some other things that we’ll get a better chance to see and evaluate when he gets here, but I’m looking forward to working with him.”

We already heard from Brissett in his post-draft conference call and he was enjoyable. But it will be interesting to speak with him in the flesh when the 2016 rookies are introduced en masse. No doubt by then the Patriots will have stressed to Brissett the importance of being a name, rank, serial number conversationalist rather than delving too deeply into his pre-Patriots relationships with former New England coaches.

 

Patriots release a pair from end of roster

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Patriots release a pair from end of roster

After importing a fleet of corners over the weekend, the Patriots released veteran Rashaan Melvin on Monday.

Melvin was claimed off waivers in October of last season as the Patriots were combing the league for cornerback depth. He’d been with the Ravens previously and was targeted repeatedly by Tom Brady in the 2014 AFC Divisional Playoff win. Soon after joining the Patriots, he was on the field against the Giants in Week 9 when Justin Coleman got injured. It didn’t go well as Eli Manning sought Melvin out and chewed him up.

The Patriots released Melvin in mid-December and then signed him back to their practice squad.

The Patriots drafted Cyrus Jones on Friday and reportedly added four more undrafted corners (the team hasn’t confirmed those agreements yet) so Melvin became expendable.

The Patriots also released linebacker James Vaughters, who they signed to a futures contract in January.