Patriots training camp notes: Day 6

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Patriots training camp notes: Day 6

FOXBORO -- Night practice: A training camp highlight for Patriots season ticket holders. Or, as it was this Wednesday, a chance for the team to pop the top on some serious aggression.
There was a fracas. Dust-up. Kerfuffle. Whatever you want to call it, Brandon Spikes got dinged up and Nate Solder had to run a lap. Look for a story on that.
On to the notes!
Several guys were out for this session. Expected: Logan Mankins, Alfonzo Dennard, Daniel Fells, Tony Fiammetta, Nick McDonald, Jake Ballard, Myron Pryor, Visanthe Shiancoe, Markus Zusevics, Jonathan Fanene, Jeremy Ebert, Nate Ebner, Brian Waters, Tracy White, Sebastian Vollmer, Jamey Richard. Not expected: Brandon Lloyd, Will Allen, Dan Connolly.
James Ihedigbo and Matthew Slater still wear those red jerseys.
The offensive line did a little shuffling in Connolly's absence and Donald Thomas got more reps out of it. As Bill Belichick would say, there are some things he did well and some things he needs to improve on. Isn't that helpful?
Speaking of the O-line, veteran Dan Koppen looks to be struggling. Not only was he working with the second team but has been losing 1-on-1 battles. His frustration was obvious when he got in the faces of both Dane Fletcher and Ihedigbo.
Matt Kopa left the session early.
Alex Silvestro is now wearing No. 49 and listed at tight end. I don't see this as a good thing for him.
I know fans were really looking forward to seeing Lloyd, or rather, Lloyd working with Tom Brady. I'm told he was kept out for precautionary reasons and the issue is nothing serious. Other than that, I'm not sure what the injury is.
The offense looked sloppy. Several guys had drops: Donte' Stallworth had at least two in 1-on-1s and another in 11-on-11, Edelman had two, and Welker had a ball bounce out of his hands and off his chest. Rob Gronkowski and Jabar Gaffney dropped touchdown balls.
Gaffney was also targeted for a ball by Brian Hoyer that Kyle Arrington intercepted.
But you know who had soft hands? Britt Davis. One catch was a sweet little grab over Ross Ventrone and Tavon Wilson in the corner of the end zone.
The sloppiness continued elsewhere. False starts and offsides penalty lead to laps run by Marcus Cannon, Dane Fletcher, Marcus Forston, Thomas, Jermaine Cunningham, Solder, and Justin Francis. Doing the Run of Shame in front of 22,633 fans had to nick the pride.
Toward the end of practice, Brady lead a 2-minute drill walk-through. Not as exciting as it is when full speed. When they amped it up a little, the offense stalled. Brian Hoyer had a more successful drive, setting up a Stephen Gostkowski field goal.

Aaron Hernandez and Hoyer hooked up beautifully on a crossing route on the drive with Hernandez reaching up between two defenders to make a grab.

Ryan Mallett continues to struggle. His accuracy was shaky during a red zone drill and the final rep ended with him not getting a throw off before Belichick blew the play dead.

During 1-on-1 tackling drills, Aaron Lavarias ran clean out of his cleat when he started.

Shane Vereen put a ridiculous juke on Spencer Larsen during the tackling drill.

The team gets back to its normal 1:30 to 4 p.m. practice schedule on Thursday and Friday.

Easley on character concerns: 'It's all rumors' until sources step forward

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Easley on character concerns: 'It's all rumors' until sources step forward

When Dominique Easley was released by the Patriots this spring, it wasn't because he wasn't productive when he was on the field. In fact, on a per-snap basis, he was one of the most productive interior pass-rushers in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Instead, there were some off-the-field factors, as well as injury concerns, that led to the Patriots choosing to cut ties with their 2014 first-round pick. 

As our Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran put it, there were "philosophical differences" between Easley and the team.

Other, more scathing reports of Easley's impact in New England were released, including one report from the Boston Globe that included a quote from a former teammate saying he was a "locker room cancer."

Since then, Easley has landed with the Rams and has a chance to contribute to one of the most talented defensive lines in football. In an interview on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Phil Savage and Amber Theoharis, Easley said he hopes that his new team will get to see that he's a better person than some have indicated.

"Just really," Easley said, "just hopefully that the Rams get to see what a great person and a great hardworker I am, and really, just a great person."

Easley went on to say that he's not sure who would speak of him negatively or why. He explained that it's not his "main goal" to prove there's nothing to worry about with his character, but clearly it's somewhere on the list. 

"There's been, obviously, stuff said about me," Easley said. "We don't know where it came from. I would say the person doesn't want to come out and say it, neither. As far as I know, it's all rumors until that person comes out and say that it was from them, and they can prove that they actually know who I am, or been around me long enough to know who I am and how I am as a person."

PFT: NFL plans to interview Manning about Al Jazeera PED allegations

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PFT: NFL plans to interview Manning about Al Jazeera PED allegations

Peyton Manning is retired, but that doesn't mean he's exempt from the interviews that the NFL plans to conduct as it looks into the allegations made by Al Jazeera's December PED documentary. 

It was reported last week by USA Today that the league's senior vice president of labor policy and league affairs Adolpho Birch informed the NFLPA that players named in Al Jazeera's report would be interviewed in July. 

Among those scheduled to be interviewed are Packers linebackers Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews and Steelers linebacker James Harrison. Former Packers linebacker Mike Neal will also be interviewed.

(Harrison has taken issue with the league's request, and said on social media that he would only meet with the league if commissioner Roger Goodell showed up to his home.)

Manning was not mentioned in the letter obtained by USA Today detailing the league's interview plans, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk followed up on Monday to see if the NFL intended to speak with Manning. It does.

The former Broncos and Colts quarterback has been very vocal about just how strongly he denies Al Jazeera's claim that his wife, Ashley, received HGH for his use. Despite the fact that he's no longer playing, it will come as no surprise if, given his stance, Manning cooperates fully with the league as it seeks more information regarding the report. 

As Florio points out, if Manning hopes to return to the NFL at some point as an executive -- as many believe he will -- this is something he'll want to put to bed beforehand. That process will start with an interview.