Koppen: IR was a 'business decision'


Koppen: IR was a 'business decision'

FOXBORO -- Dan Koppen, who broke his left ankle in the Patriots' season opener in Miami, spent time Wednesday with media. Koppen was placed on season-ending injured reserve back on September 21. Even though he had a very good chance of being healed before the end of the regular season, the need to open up a roster spot made the move necessary. "It was a decision made but it's a business and things gotta get done," he explained. "You can't hold spots all year."Koppen didn't sound too charged up about the fact he landed on IR, but he seems to have accepted the decision. "Obviously you want to come back and play and injuries are part of the game," he said. "It's a business and things gotta be done and don't work out the way you want to all the time."Koppen was wearing a bulky boot on his left foot. He said he just got off crutches. "It's tough," he admitted. "You want to be out there, you want to be playing, but like I said before, injuries happen and next man up's gotta be ready to go. But as far as watching, it's just tough. But you get used to it."Koppen turned 32 in September. The five-year extension he signed in 2006 expires after this year. Asked what he sees coming down the road, Koppen said, "I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I'm enjoying where I'm at right now, rooting these guys on and hoping we have a great season. We'll deal with that later."Koppen, who's been capably replaced by Dan Connolly, said he wants to remain with the Patriots."This is a minor bump in the road. We'll be back and hopefully I'll be here," he said.

Wilfork on Body Issue: 'Looking forward to what the locker room's going to say'


Wilfork on Body Issue: 'Looking forward to what the locker room's going to say'

ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue won't hit newsstands until July 8, but Vince Wilfork gave people a not-so-little preview of what to expect this week.

The former Patriots defensive lineman, who is listed at 325 pounds but said he's weighed as much as 350 pounds, sat down for an interview about his size that landed on ESPN.com on Thursday.

"I just think it's a good idea for people that are bigger-boned," Wilfork said when asked why he posed nude for the Body Issue. "If people can look at me, a guy that's 325-plus, doing an issue like this, I'm pretty sure that they might have a little confidence.

"There will be critics, just like with everything else. I think a lot of people will get a laugh out of it, I'll tell you that. I'm looking forward to what the locker room's going to say. But at the end of the day, I'm perfectly fine with who I am as a person and what I have accomplished. It shows a lot of my personality."

You can read the full interview here, as well as watch a video that shows Wilfork in all his modeling glory.

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


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).