NFL Draft 2012 Live Blog: Belibuster on NFLN


NFL Draft 2012 Live Blog: Belibuster on NFLN

Lotta downtime on draft night. And then there are flurries of activity. I'll timeline the hell out of it right here.

8:20 P.M. -- Trent Richardson is going to the Browns. I kinda like it. Colt McCoy needs Trent Richardson behind him so much more than he needs Justin Blackmon in front of him. And a good move by Minnesota who drops down, will still likely get Matt Kalil and get three late-draft picks.

8:14 P.M. -- Rich Eisen sounds like he's going to wet himself as the draft begins and the Colts GM picks up the phone. When NFLN shows Luck speaking to the Colts by cell, Eisen immediately launches into a defense of this now PROHIBITED MANEUVER by saying it was OK because everyone knew the pick. Who freakin' cares.

7:15 p.m. - Bill Belichick looks like a mannequin sitting and waiting for his interview with NFL Network. They come back from the break ad Belichick's still sitting there. I've been in the room where they do that hit, it's not luxurious. Or comfortable. Belichick proceeds to give a wide-ranging six-minute dissertation long on syllables and verrrrry short on specifics. I'm sure some producer somewhere in LA was yelling, "Never again! We're never having him on again before the draft! He kills the momentum!"
7:04 P.M. -- Brandon Meriweather, a Patriots' first round pick in 2007, elbows his way into the draft night hoopla. One thing about the draft - personnel guys swing and miss on speed, heart and stuff like that. But if a guy is a moron in college and does things that announce he's a character risk, it quite often happens that he continues down that road.

7:02 P.M. -- Working the red carpet for the NFL Network is Melissa Stark. She asks Robert Griffin III if the maroon and gold socks he's wearing which say, "Chase Your Dream" or some such thing were "specially made." No, Melissa. Bought 'em off the rack in Redskins colors right at a Duane Read in Times Square.

6:58 P.M. -- The media's in the press box for the draft. This is my 16th. I've spent 14 at GilletteFoxboro Stadium. The first draft I covered was for the MetroWest Daily News back in 1997. They took Chris Canty, Brandon Mitchell, Sedrick Shaw and Chris Carter in what was the maiden draft voyage of Pete Carroll and Bobby Grier. Sedrick Shaw later told me it wasn't him on the conference call with the local media but a friend who was at his house.

6:30 P.M. -- Little scene-setter for you. Just finished doing TV with Mike Giardi for Sportsnet Central at 6 and now I'm up in the press box. I spilled a bucket of words and didn't really say anything during that hit. I hate when I do that.

Horford-Celtics partnership gives both stability, chance to win


Horford-Celtics partnership gives both stability, chance to win

BOSTON –  This is not where Al Horford thought he would be right now.
Back in May, the Atlanta Hawks had just been swept out of the playoffs by the soon-to-be NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Disappointed with the outcome obviously, Horford was a free agent-to-be who was confident that he would be back in Atlanta and the Hawks would retool by adding to their core group which he was a major part of, and they would be back to making another run at it this season.
First there was the draft night trade of point guard Jeff Teague to the Indiana Pacers. 
And during Horford's negotiations with the Hawks in July, they were also negotiating with Dwight Howard and ultimately signed the Atlanta native to a three-year, $70.5 million contract. 
Before the Howard deal was complete, the Celtics had already made a strong impression on Horford during their presentation to him. 
So the choice was pretty clear.
Return to Atlanta and potentially have a major logjam up front with himself, Howard and Paul Millsap, or join a Celtics team that’s on the rise where his five-tool skillset – passing, rebounding, defending, scoring and making those around him better – could be put to great use on a team that’s clearly on the rise. 
Horford chose the latter, giving both himself and the Celtics exactly what they wanted – stability and a chance to win at the highest of levels.
The first shot to see how this basketball marriage looks on the floor will be tonight when the Celtics kick off the 2016-2017 season at the TD Garden against the Brooklyn Nets. 
The preseason isn’t the best indicator of what’s on the horizon now that games count, but Horford’s presence was undeniable.
Boston’s starters which includes Horford, Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Amir Johnson, each finished with a positive, double-digit plus/minus in the preseason. 
“He just makes the game so much easier for all of us,” Johnson told “He can do so many things out there at both ends of the floor. He’s going to be big for us this season.”
And his impact can be felt both on the floor and inside the locker room, similar to what he brought to the Atlanta Hawks.
“With the way that I go about it is, I’m trying to win,” Horford told “I’m gonna work, put in my work, try to help guys get better not only on the court but off the court as well. That’s how I carry myself.”
 And it is that approach to the game that has made his transition to the Celtics a relatively seamless one. 
Horford holds many fond memories of his time in Atlanta, a place that will always be near and dear to his heart. 
But he’s a Celtic now, coming in with the same single-minded focus that drives this organization to continue pursuing the only thing that truly matters to them – an NBA title. 
"Even though I’m leaving a lot behind, as a player you always want to be in the best position you can,” Horford said. “I felt for me being on this team would put me in a position to be able to contend and win an NBA championship. That’s my ultimate goal.”

Report: Patriots RB Lewis expected to return to practice this week


Report: Patriots RB Lewis expected to return to practice this week

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will have a familiar face back on the practice field, it appears. 

According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, running back Dion Lewis is expected to begin practicing this week. Lewis has been on the physically unable to perform list since the start of the regular season. 

Lewis tore his ACL in a Week 9 win over the Redskins last season, landing him on season-ending injured reserve. He was able to participate on a limited basis during OTAs but then experienced a setback that required surgery before the start of the season. 

Once Lewis hits the practice field, the Patriots have a three-week window to place him on the active roster. The team currently has an open roster spot and could, in theory, activate him as early as this week. 

When healthy last season, Lewis as a dynamic all-purpose back whose quickness allowed him to make defenders miss both in tight spaces between the tackles and in the open field as a receiver. The Patriots have used James White as their primary sub back in Lewis' absence, and he's on pace for a career year, with 27 receptions for 244 yards and three touchdowns.