Kuechly sounding like a pro already

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Kuechly sounding like a pro already

It would be interesting to see Luke Kuechly rattled. As of now, it's tough to imagine.

The former Boston College linebacker, a projected first-round NFL Draft pick, changes direction in interviews as smoothly as he does on the field. Kuechly held court for over 10 minutes during Wednesday's Pro Day. Reporters set questions up and Kuechly felled them, with an efficiency more resembling a machine gun than an axe.

In certain instances the 21-year old sounded like he was schooling veteran media members on the Combine and Pro Day processes.

"Each room's kind of different," Kuechly said of February's interviews in Indianapolis. "But they can only meet with you for 15 minutes so they can't get a whole bunch of stuff done. It's a lot of quick background stuff -- where you're from, who your family is -- some teams watch a little bit of film with you. But it's 15 minutes at the end of the day it's snapsnapsnapsnap and you're out the door."

Was New England one of the 18-20 teams he met with at the Combine?

"Yeah."

Who from the Patriots did he talk with?

"Everything kind of washes together."

So that interview just melted right into a chitchat with, let's say, Tampa Bay? Sure.

To think about it, Kuechly's cold calm in handling interrogation suits him. He doesn't waste a minute during workouts. Kuechly answered questions about his speed by posting a 4.58 40-yard dash at the Combine.

On Pro Day he worked head-and-shoulders above the rest: cleaner direction changes with a quicker burst, smooth through the hips coming out of breaks. A textbook tackler showing how it's done.

Philadelphia Eagles linebackers coach Mike Caldwell, who directed the group of four linebackers at Alumni Stadium, was likely pleased. Kuechly has been linked to the Eagles for weeks and said Caldwell called him last week to say he'd be in Boston.

But has the flirtation been tempered by the Eagles' recent signing of DeMeco Ryans? Kuechly appeared unbothered by the idea.

"One of my buddies told me about the Ryans deal," Kuechly smiled. "He's a good player."
Completely unfazed. No rambling declaration of why he's still worthy of Philly's Number 9 pick. Just a grin.

Kuechly similarly dismissed a question regarding Pro Day injury concern. Why risk tweaking a knee when you're a first-round lock, anyway?

"When you're playing it's the last thing you think about," he said. "You've got to go out there and do what you've been doing forever and let your body take care of itself. It's not something that goes across my mind really.

"You just got to get out there and do it. Just another opportunity for people to see you."
So it's back to what Kuechly calls "The Waiting Game." To Carolina, to Cincinnati, and back to IMG Training Academy in Florida. He doesn't have many visits planned yet but "that will pick up," he assured.

"That's the weird part right now is you don't really know what your schedule's going to be. I just found out today that I'm going to be going back to Cincinnati on Saturday.

"You live it day by day and kind of see what they throw at you and go from there."

One would expect nothing less.

Amid signs his job might be in trouble, Julien says: 'I'm not quitting on this team'

Amid signs his job might be in trouble, Julien says: 'I'm not quitting on this team'

BRIGHTON, Mass – Roughly 12 hours after embattled Bruins coach Claude Julien bristled at a question about his job security and labeled it “shock journalism” in the heat of the moment after a tight loss to the Blackhawks, the B’s bench boss delivered a classy, heartfelt response to the same question.

Julien was asked about it in French by a reporter from the Montreal Gazette, but answered in English because of the “loyalty he feels to the people in Boston.”

In essence, Julien basically said he should be relieved of his duties if he’s deemed to be behind what ails the Black and Gold, but he’s going to keep working to fix things until that day comes.

It was exactly the kind of response you would expect from a coach who's taken the B’s to the mountaintop in his 10 years running the team and will always be respected and loved in Boston long after his coaching days are done.

“How do I deal with all of the rumors and all that is going on? I didn’t feel like [Friday night] was the appropriate time for me to answer that after a game where you’re emotions are pretty high. I wasn’t getting into that, but to be honest with you my job is to coach the hockey club,” said Julien. “Am I worried about my job? No, I’m not. Because it’s not my job to worry about it. My job is to fix things, and my job is to coach this team and do everything I can. If I become one of the reasons that we’re not doing well, then management has to make that decision.

“It’s not my decision to make. I’m not quitting on this team. I’m not quitting on anybody. I’m not quitting on management. I’m ready and willing to go through the hard times, and I said that at the end of last year. If it’s deemed my fault, then I shouldn’t be here, and that’s all I can say.”

While the Bruins roster is clearly less than perfect and has a larger dose of youthful players than in years past, Julien also freely admitted that they should be held to a higher standard after proving many nights that they should be a playoff team. That’s the mandate from Bruins ownership and that’s the challenge that Julien has willingly accepted.

It’s also the challenge that’s falling a bit short now as they’ve lost three crushing games in a row and have fallen behind the Ottawa Senators in the playoff standings, with Toronto also right behind them holding six games in hand.

“If we’re going with what we said we were going with and there’s going to be some growing pains along the way, so be it,” said Julien. “I think we put ourselves in a position earlier in the year where we could all of a sudden believe that we’re a playoff team...absolutely. I still think we’re a playoff team. Whether we can do it or not we’ll find out at the end of the year, but my job is to do everything I can to get us into the playoffs and that’s what I’m going to do.

“As far as the rumors are concerned, they’re out there and I know that. But I don’t worry about it because worrying is wasting a lot of my time. And my time is spent trying to fix things here.”

Julien and the Bruins are headed to Pittsburgh for a Sunday matinee against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and will have two games against the red-hot Pens headed into an All-Star break weekend that must feel like a well-earned oasis for Julien at this point in the season. 

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- David Oritz’s time in Boston as a player is over. He continues to say there’s no Brett Favre-type comeback, no matter how many people ask him.

However, that doesn’t mean his time with the Red Sox is over.

Sam Kennedy, Tom Werner and Dave Dombrowski are heading down to the Dominican Republic to tour the team’s academy on the island to see what changes, if any, need to be made.

Ortiz will join them on those tours.

“He’s just a good guy to go to the Dominican with,” Kennedy said. “We thought it’d be great to catch up. Haven’t seen him since before the holidays.”

But the front office members intend to exchange more than just pleasantries and stories from the holiday season. One goal on the trip is to bring Ortiz back to the organization as an employee.

“Yeah that’s something on the agenda,” Kennedy said. “We’re gonna talk about what he may or may not want to do. He did say after the season let’s just talk in January. He was so overwhelmed and tired so it’s a good time to start those conversations.

“I know he has a lot of plans, broadcasting, a lot of businesses he’s involved with and we’ll see what he’s up to. But we hope to cement something so he’s a part of the organization.”

What role that is yet to be determined. Assuming he doesn’t pursue a broadcasting career.

“I truly don’t know what’s on his mind,” Kennedy said. “He’ll obviously be good at whatever he decides to do, but I would hope that we could create a role where he has influence in the baseball operations side, he has influence in marketing, as an ambassador. A lot of our alums we’ve found really enjoy working with young players. Pedro [Martinez] is a perfect example of that.

“So we’ll see what he’s interested in doing, but I have heard him talk about broadcasting in the past and I think he’d be great at it if he decides to do it.”