FOXBORO - Antwaun Molden was a project when he came out of Eastern Kentucky in 2008. The Texans took him in the third round. The sentiment then was that he was probably taken too high. That changed to "definitely taken too high" when he was released at the end of training camp. Now he's the Patriots corner most likely to get additional reps with the surprising release of Leigh Bodden on Friday. Molden's eyes widened with surprise on Friday when I told him Bodden had been released. Having been cut less than two months ago himself, though, Molden meant it when he used the common "it's-a-business" refrain to move away from talking about a decision that's well above his pay grade. It is a business, indeed. And now Molden is going from a guy only devotees had heard of to one of the guys replacing a big-ticket free agent signing from 2010 that went belly-up in a big hurry. How Molden does his business will reflect on how the Patriots are doing theirs. Kyle Arrington and Devin McCourty are likely to be the Sunday starters for the Patriots. Ras-I Dowling would come next, but he's hurt (still . . . again). So Molden will be in the mix against the Steelers. He's 6-foot-1, 198 pounds, long and athletic with excellent speed (sub-4.5)While in college, he transferred from the University of Toledo to Eastern Kentucky because he wasn't happy with his playing time. He really only had one year of low-level college football before being drafted.He played 35 defensive snaps in three years with the Texans. And the Texans couldn't coveranybody while Molden was there, so that seems damning. But the Patriots have turned other teams' trash into their own treasure often enough to used that evidence as conclusive that Molden can't play. Asked how he's progressed since being signed August 31, Molden said, "It's come along pretty good. I just have to stay consistent and do the things the coaches ask me to do and get better at it."And overall defensively?"I think we jelled as a team and we've been consistent with things that we've been doing," he explained. "We just have to keep getting better at the little things."Boilerplate stuff from a player about to be put in the frying pan aganst the Steelers.
Kei Kamara talks with Dalen Cuff about joining the club in New England and assuming a leadership role
Three NFL owners have expressed “extreme disappointment” in Robert Kraft and the Patriots filing an amicus brief on behalf of Tom Brady in the quarterback’s appeal of the Second Circuit Court’s reinstatement of his Deflategate suspension, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report.
The Patriots filed the brief on Wednesday.
The owners see the move as a publicity stunt done to appease Brady and the Patriots fans, Cole said, and they don’t believe Kraft did it any seriousness because the issue speaks to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ability to punish players and undermines the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the players.
If Kraft thought it mattered, he wouldn't have done it, Cole said one owner told him.
FOXBORO – A fleet of Patriots have expiring contracts after this season but Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins are the two most prominent on that list.
With the sport being the way it is – a nearly 100-percent casualty rate every season – it’s never comfortable for a player to enter a contract year without knowing his long-term future. And it’s especially uncomfortable for players whose first contracts are expiring because the second NFL contract is usually the bonanza.
Both Hightower and Collins can entertain thoughts of contracts worth more than $50M if good fortune sticks with them.
The question as it pertains to both of these players is whether they get contract extensions this summer or whether they go into the year with contract pressure bearing down and ultimately become free agents.
Neither player was very forthcoming after their OTA practice Thursday.
With Collins, that’s often the case. He’s never been expansive with media. It was very uncharacteristic for Hightower to be so clipped in his answers, though.
Every question posed to Hightower was met with a variation of, “I’m just trying to get better.”
Asked about his contract, Hightower replied, “I ain’t got nothing to do with none of that. I’m just out here trying to get better with my teammates.”
When it was pointed out that Hightower does indeed have say on his contract, he answered, “That might be. But there’s a time and place for everything and I’m just out here trying to get better.
“If I get better I feel like that’ll take care of everything else,” he added. “If I get better each and every day that’s all I can ask for.”
Asked whether he’s at all focused on his deal, Collins replied, “No, I come out here and I handle my business and I let the rest speak for itself … My first priority is me. So I’m gonna handle me."