Koppen set to visit with Titans

Koppen set to visit with Titans

By Tom E. Curran

The signs for Dan Koppen being back with the Patriots in 2012 haven't been encouraging.

The longtime Patriots center who stepped in at center in his second game in the NFL in 2003 and stayed there for the next nine seasons is scheduled to visit the Tennessee Titans this week according to Jim Wyatt of The Tennesseean.

Koppen, 32, broke his ankle in the Patriots season opener in 2011 and was replaced capably by Dan Connolly who the Patriots re-signed earlier this offseason.

Koppen wasn't happy when the team placed him on IR during the season, believing he could have been back before the season was out.

Now a free agent, the Patriots have made it obvious he should pursue other options. A visit elsewhere doesn't mean he won't still land back with the Patriots later this offseason but it appears his time as the starting center for New England is over.

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.