FOXBORO -- An interesting question was posed to Tom Brady on Tuesday morning. Does he see similarities between himself as the 199th pick in the 2000 draft and Tim Tebow, the 25th pick in the 2010 draft. On its face, the question definitely has merit. Tebow's been buffeted by waves of critics who questioned his suitability for playing NFL quarterback. Yet Tom Brady was never anybody's five-star high school recruit as Tebow was. Nor did Brady win a Heisman Trophy or become the most celebrated college athlete of the past several years.
Brady was a schmoe's schmoe until 2001. And even after that, there was debate for another two seasons whether he was the engine or just a cog in the machine. So it's not surprising that Brady's answer actually reflected some of his personal journey. "I think everybody's got a story to tell," Brady pointed out. "Every player that's made it this far has had to overcome some adversity. Every player's had that. Could be injuries. Could be lack of opportunities. Could be stuck behind someone. There's very few players who come to the NFL ushered in on a red carpet. I think everybody has to fight through some things which really, you can see someone's strength of character and what they're made of when they're faced with some adversity."Those that have -- in Brady's words -- enjoyed that red carpet ride have often found the going much rougher when the carpet crash-landed. Peyton Manning went 3-13 in his first NFL season and didn't win a Super Bowluntil 2006 and probably will never win another.Drew Bledsoe fits that suit too. Thearm-long list of No. 1 overall picks who've washed out in the league is, in many instances, proofthat beingtheanointed one can be a curse as well. What have they had to fight through? Brady said the timber of Tebow's personality -- and ofother Broncos -- is what makes them a worthy opponent. "They have a bunch of guys like that," said Brady. "Talking to Josh (McDaniels, the Patriots offensive assistant), he has a bunch of admiration for this team and players on this team and they're mental toughness. They're a tough team. We played them four weeks ago. We know them better than any team in the league."
Celtics fans aren’t the only ones thinking of ways Kyrie Irving could end up in Boston.
Even though it would be hard to imagine last season’s No. 2 seed in the East trading one of the best players in the league to last season’s No. 1 seed in the East, ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote Monday that the Celtics have indeed called the Cavs about the 25-year-old point guard.
Most teams, including the asset-rich Celtics, have placed the obligatory call letting Cleveland know they would like to be kept in the loop, sources say. Boston could offer Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and one of their golden picks -- Brooklyn's pick next season, or the Lakers/Kings pick they got from Philly in the Markelle Fultz deal. It's unclear if they would dangle all of that, but those picks could represent the young stud Cleveland needs. Regardless, a deal between the East's two best teams seems unlikely.
While nobody’s counting on Irving joining the Celtics, a trade of Irving elsewhere could still swing the balance in the East in Boston’s favor depending on what Cleveland gets back. Irving reportedly requested a trade from Cleveland earlier this month.
The figures and briefs are in for the Bruins and Ryan Spooner for their arbitration hearing Wednesday, but both sides are still hoping that a deal can be reached prior to it. The Bruins have submitted a one-year contract offer for $2 million. Spooner’s camp countered with $3.85 million, creating a sizeable gap of almost $2 million between the two.
Spooner, 25, has averaged 12 goals and 44 points the past two seasons with the B’s, including 35 power-play points while working the half-wall for a Boston PP that’s been ranked seventh overall two seasons in a row.
Spooner is coming off a two-year contract worth $1.95 million and his is a complicated situation for the Black and Gold. Spooner holds significant value as a trade piece and has been an important part of a very effective power play, but he also finished the playoffs as a healthy scratch after going quietly the past few months of the season.
Spooner was one of the major pieces discussed in trade talks with the Minnesota Wild around the draft prior to the Wild shipping Marco Scandella to the Buffalo Sabres and he's been involved in trade discussions with several teams the past couple of years.
The Bruins have prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson waiting in the wings if/when the B’s decided to spin Spooner to another team, but they also enjoy his speed and playmaking when he’s on his game. There’s clearly a scenario where the Bruins start the season with Spooner installed as their third-line center and perhaps explore more trade discussions while seeing if a full season under Bruce Cassidy can unlock his significant offensive potential.
If that's still in the plan, they’d be wise to come to an agreement and avoid the hearing Wednesday where they’d ostensibly be bad-mouthing a player they’d want back on their team. The Bruins have the right to walk away from Spooner should he be awarded the full $3.85 million by the arbiter. Still, it’s hard to believe they’d do that given that he’s a homegrown asset with trade value.
The feeling at this address is that there’s a deal to be made between the two sides for something around the $3 million mark. That’s something that would be worthwhile for the Bruins if they have any designs on continuing on with Spooner.