FOXBORO - Earlier this week, the Patriots signed veteran tight end Visanthe Shiancoe.
Whether the 32-year-old was signed as camp fodder, insurance for the injured Daniel Fells or a legit role has become more clear as the week has progressed.
On Thursday, Bill Belichick said of the former Viking, "We'll just have to see how it all plays out. (Shiancoe's) a good football player, he's had a good career, he's been productive for two organizations with several different quarterbacks. I think he's a good football player and he'll be competitive on our team. We'll see how it all turns out."
Aside from that quote, the fact the Patriots gave Shiancoe a 400,000 bonus (according to our boys at PFT) indicates Shiancoe's role is expected to be larger.
The Patriots had historic production from the tight end duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in 2011, but they were the only two tight ends to catch a pass last year. Clearly, with Fells and Shiancoe in the mix, the Patriots are plotting to use the tight end in a more expanded role in 2012. What that role will be should come clear in the next 40 days.
When Danny Amendola told the world on Tuesday that he's better than Tom Brady at ping pong, the quarterback must have been listening.
On his Facebook page, Brady published a snarling image of his face Photoshopped onto the body of a table tennis player. That paddle he broke after losing to Amendola three years ago? It's fixed, Brady explained in the caption. And he's ready for a rematch.
Talk about intimidation.
Vince Wilfork will be one of many well-known athletes to strip down and pose nude for photographs in ESPN The Magazine's's Body issue, joining a group that includes Cubs pitcher Jake Arrietta, Broncos defensive end Von Miller and Heat guard Dwyane Wade.
Judging by his latest tweet, the former Patriots defensive lineman -- who is listed at 325 pounds -- is getting pretty comfortable with the idea of becoming a model.
Now it's up to Tom Brady to play match-maker, it seems. Gisele retired from the runway last year so maybe her people are on the lookout for some new talent.
Bill Belichick released a statement on Buddy Ryan's passing Tuesday afternoon.
"Today is a sad day in football due to the passing of Buddy Ryan," Belichick said. "It was always very challenging to compete against Coach Ryan, who was father to a great football family that carries on his coaching and defensive tradition. My condolences are with the Ryan Family."
Belichick is certainly very familiar with Ryan's legacy and the tradition Ryan passed down to his sons Rex and Rob. The Patriots coach has competed against all three.
Rex Ryan has squared off with Belichick during his time as head coach for the Jets (2009-14) and Bills (2015-present), and their matchups go back to Rex's days with the Ravens (1999-2008) when he was a defensive line coach and then defensive coordinator.
Rob Ryan, like his brother, got his first NFL break when his father was the head coach of the Cardinals in the mid-1990s. His second break, though, came from Belichick. He joined the Patriots staff during Belichick's first year as head coach in 2000 and coached linebackers for four seasons in New England. He has since competed against Belichick as a defensive coordinator for the Raiders, Browns, Cowboys and Saints. Rob joined Rex in Buffalo this year to serve as an assistant on the staff there.
For Belichick's thoughts on the impact of Buddy Ryan's famous "46" defense, we dug up some of his comments from a 2012 press conference that you can find here. He called the combination of Ryan's scheme and the talented players Ryan had at his disposal as defensive coordinator of the 1985 Super Bowl champion Bears "pretty unblockable."