Stick to sprinting, Usain


Stick to sprinting, Usain

I wanted to write about the Patriots this afternoon, but what can I say?

Its great to have them back. It's great to know that real football is right around the corner.

But the excitement just isnt there. Not yet. Of course, once pre-season kicks in (THURSDAY) and fantasy drafts start up (AUGUST 28!), I'll need massive doses of Vicodin to hold off the NFL bug, but for now . . .

Heres a video of Usain Bolt attempting a windmill dunk show before a game at the Garden last year. (ht to HoopsHype)

You know, I always thought that Bolt would make a great NFL wide receiver. And why not, right? He's 6-foot-5, and the fastest man in the world. Give some pads and teach him to run a post-route. But after seeing this video, I'm changing my tune.

Honestly, when I hit play I was expecting one power dribble, a jump step and a dunk reminiscent of 1987 Dominique Wilkins. Instead . . . isn't he a little awkward? I think it's the weird, right-legged skip at the start of his approach that gets me. I'm not sure his coordination is quite up to speed with what you're looking for in an elite NFL wideout. I don't think he's got the hands for it.

Of course, that's fine for him, since he's already the fastest and very likely coolest athlete in the world. Sucks for my dream of one day seeing him in the NFL.

Although maybe the Pats should bring him on board anyway. Would definitely give us something to write about.

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Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl


Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl

NFL Siberia can’t be all that bad. The Cleveland Browns have signed Jamie Collins to an extension that keeps him off the free agent market.

The former Patriot, stunningly shipped out of town on Halloween, has agreed to a reported four-year, $50 million deal with $26M in guaranteed money.

As eyebrow-raising as the move was at the time, this is an all’s well that ends well story.

Collins, a reluctant Patriot once it came clear the team wouldn’t to aim a confetti cannon of money at him, gets the desired big-dough deal. He didn’t drape himself in glory with his level of play this year in New England, but his agitation over making $900K this year was understandable.

The Patriots -- who made the deal not knowing exactly how it would work out with Collins’ fleet of replacements (primarily rookie Elandon Roberts and, October acquisition Kyle Van Noy) -- have played better defense since Collins has been gone and are headed to the Super Bowl.

Would they have been better if Collins stayed? The answer to that is a question: Which version of Collins, the irked one or the motivated one?

Collins did nothing to veil his desire for a huge contract, saying at the end of the season he’d stay with the hapless Browns if the money was right. Now that he’s decided the money was right, what kind of Collins will the Browns get? With $26M guaranteed, the Browns have tethered themselves to the 27-year-old Collins for a chunk of his prime. The shorter term is ideal for Collins because -- if he performs to his capability -- he’ll be able to see another lucrative deal before he’s too aged.

The deal will certainly be noticed by Collins’ former teammates, primarily Donta Hightower who will be a free agent at the end of the season.

The Patriots could franchise Hightower (last year’s tag number was more than $14M) but that’s not going to be ideal for either side. Hightower will want to get the windfall of guaranteed money that comes with a long-term deal and the Patriots may be reluctant to pay that much to a player that’s got an injury history and plays one of the game’s most violent positions.

A lot’s going to happen between now and the time the Patriots have to make their decision. A good deal of it will happen in the next 12 days. If Hightower stealthily saves the Super Bowl as he did in 2014 with his first-down tackle on Marshawn Lynch … how do you put a price on that?

Andy Dalton named Tom Brady's Pro Bowl replacement

Andy Dalton named Tom Brady's Pro Bowl replacement

With Tom Brady spending this week and next preparing for the Super Bowl, Andy Dalton has been named his replacement in the Pro Bowl. 

This will mark Dalton’s third Pro Bowl appearance. He finished fourth in the AFC in passing yards (4,206) and tied for 10th with 18 passing touchdowns. Brady threw 10 more touchdowns in four fewer games. 

Though he’s often skipped the actual games, this was the 12th season in which Brady was named to the AFC’s Pro Bowl roster. He’s been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the last eight seasons.