Ihedigbo: 'It's all about continuing to fight'

592680.jpg

Ihedigbo: 'It's all about continuing to fight'

FOXBORO -- Surprisingly, injured cornerback Devin McCourty returned to Patriots practice on Saturday, after missing the entire week with a shoulder injury that he suffered in Sunday night's win over the New York Jets.

The practice was a "sweats and shells" session, and while the media was only allowed to watch the opening minutes, it's unknown as to how much contact McCourty made.

If the reports are true that McCourty separated his shoulder on Sunday, it may be unrealistic to think that he'd be able to make a complete return this soon.

If he's not available for Monday night's game at Gillette Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs, then the Patriots know it's just another opportunity for someone else to step up and make a name for themselves.

"Like it's been all year, guys have to seize the opportunity," said Patriots safety James Ihedigbo on Saturday. "McCourty's a phenomenal player, and whatever the case is -- I can't speak for someone else -- but if he's up, if he's playing, he's going to be flying around and making plays. If a guy has to step up, then a guy has to step up. That's how it is in this league."

Regardless of how ready McCourty may or may not be, just seeing him back on the field so soon on Saturday, was motivating to the rest of the team, who may also be a little banged up.

"This time of year, it's all about continuing to fight," said Ihedigbo. "Everyone in the league is battling something this time of year. So you really look up to guys who can fight through certain injuries or whatever it may be, to be on the field playing. So definitely, you have to look up to those guys and say, 'You know what, I've got to pick it up even more, when a guy like that's battling.'"

Report: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees reach deal for $86M, 5 years

yankees-aroldis-chapman.jpg

Report: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees reach deal for $86M, 5 years

OXON HILL, Md. - Aroldis Chapman found a spot in a most familiar bullpen - a very rich spot, too.

The hard-throwing closer reached agreement to return to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night with the highest-priced contract ever for a relief pitcher, an $86 million deal for five years.

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the contract was pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet complete.

Once it's done, the 28-year-old lefty whose fastballs routinely top 100 mph would shatter the previous richest contract for a reliever - that was the $62 million, four-year deal Mark Melancon signed with San Francisco just a couple days ago during the winter meetings.

Chapman was acquired by New York from the Cincinnati Reds last offseason, then missed the first 29 games of the season due to a domestic violence suspension from Major League Baseball. The Cuban was traded to the Chicago Cubs in late July and helped them win the World Series, becoming a free agent when it was over.

Chapman went 4-1 with 36 saves and a 1.55 ERA in a combined 59 games for the Yankees and Cubs. He struggled some in the postseason as the Cubs beat Cleveland for their first championship since 1908.

With the Yankees this season, Chapman teamed with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances in one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball history. Miller was later traded to Cleveland, but Betances is still with New York.

Earlier this week, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team was interested in both Chapman and fellow free agent closer Kenley Jansen. The Yankees had already made one deal at these meetings, signing slugger Matt Holliday, before paying a lot more to bring Chapman back to the Bronx.

Fox Sports first reported the agreement.