Demps hopes to get on fast track for Pats

Demps hopes to get on fast track for Pats

By Tom E. Currab

TAMPA - I'm 5-10. With shoes.

So when I stood behind Jeff Demps in a media scrum on Wednesday and realized that he's about up to my nose, I once again found myself marveling at just how amazing these athletes like Demps, Wes Welker, Danny Woodhead, Kevin Faulk, Darren Sproles, etc. really are.
Blessed, yes. But - particularly in the case of Demps, who just returned from the London Olympics - wholly committed to doing all they can with the talent given.
Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears was beaming Wednesday after his first padded practice with Demps.
Hes super fast," said Fears. "Just going back to his college history (at the University of Florida),the guy was extremely productive in college. All that is part ofit, but this is the first day weve seen him. So there isnt a whole lot totell you right now except that he got tired running two runs, so I was kind ofa little pissed off at him. Id like to know what type of Olympic training theydo. Its not conditioning for football.
Demps admitted as much after the practice, saying he could be beaten straight up in a 100-meter sprint at that point. That, no doubt, was humility.
No doubt aboutit," said Fears when asked if Demps is the fastest player he's coached. "I havent had anybody that Id say had world-class speed. Ive had somefast guys, but legitimate world-class speed? No.Fears has seen machines on the Patriots teams. Terry Glenn, Bethel Johnson and Donte Stallworth spring to mind. For Demps to be called the hands-down fastest shows just how speedy he is.
What's his prognosis?
Skill guys can play a lot faster than big guys can," said Fears. "Forhim, its mostly just getting his feet up under him, getting a little wind backin his lungs, and getting used to catching the ball. He hasnt touched it insix months, and getting the feel for what he did when he was back in college,getting back in the groove. Im sure it wont take that long for a guy likehim. Hes such a great athlete, just based on what Ive seen on film.Fortunately, this is not a track athlete that's dabbling. Demps is about football, which Fears noted when he pointed out how willing he was in blitz pickup drills.
Demps cited the family atmosphere in New England as a reason he signed here as opposed to with other pursuers like the Bucs and Jets.
He acknowledged he needs to get into football shape and get into the playbook fast to make a contribution.

Demps also is aware that what he's poised to do this season - regardless of his role with the Patriots - is unique.

"It's just a blessing to come from the Olympics and come to a football field," he pointed out. "Not many people do that, so it's just a blessing to do that.

Fears seems to feel a bit blessed himself. Within reason.

Im not going to go overboard," said the coach. "What hes done has beentruly amazing and a great story, but out here, I aint giving him nothing. Hesgoing to earn everything he gets from us. No matter how I feel about him,unless he does it on the field, hes not getting anything else.

Does Butler want to be with Patriots beyond 2017? 'Whatever happens, happens'

Does Butler want to be with Patriots beyond 2017? 'Whatever happens, happens'

FOXBORO -- Malcolm Butler came off of the Gillette Stadium practice field to a gaggle of reporters who've been waiting to hear from him all offseason. There was speculation he'd be traded. There was speculation he might sign elsewhere as a restrcited free agent. 

In the rain, in front of a dozen or more microphones, following his team's third organized team activity practice, Butler was asked if he would like to be in New England beyond the 2017 season -- the final year of his contract. 

"Can't predict the future," he said. "Whatever happens, happens."

Butler was given several opportunities to say that he'd like to stick with the Patriots for the long term, but he was non-committal. 

More to come . . .

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars being released today. Amazing that the power and influence of the best movie franchise in cinematic history are just as strong today as it was four decades ago. I still remember my first time seeing it as a very little kid with my parents at the dearly departed Starlight Drive-In in North Reading.

*Good guy and recently fired Colorado Avalanche assistant coach Tim Army talks about a rough past season with the Avs, and some of the difficulties they faced in a truly terrible season. The former Providence College head coach and good hockey man shouldn’t have much trouble finding his next gig.

*A great move by the Arizona Coyotes, who have hired former Bruins forward Craig Cunningham as a pro scout after his awful medical situation last season that resulted in his leg getting amputated. Cunningham is a hard worker and a hockey lifer, and that’s exactly the kind of traits that the best scouts have in huge amounts.

*The New Jersey Devils have fired a number of employees after a rough season, including a groundbreaking radio analyst.

*With the ultra-competitive demand for an edge in NHL player development, teams are beginning to look to Europe for more and more diamonds in the rough. The Bruins tried that with Joonas Kemppainen, but it didn’t work out so well.

*One of the real big advantages of the Nashville Predators getting to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time is a national spotlight getting flashed on PK Subban, who shows off his personality in a rare ESPN interview of a hockey player featured on the network's magazine show.

*Ryan Johansen isn’t done talking smack to Ryan Kesler after the Predators prevailed over the Ducks, and it’s some delicious playoff hatred.

*Is the NHL ready to draft another goaltender with the last name DiPietro in the first round? Inquiring minds want to know, but I’d recommend the New York Islanders take a pass just in the name of avoiding a repeat of some bad history for them.

*Taylor Hall sounds pretty bitter about the whole “Edmonton Oilers getting into the playoff without him” thing, doesn’t he?

*For something completely different: As mentioned above, it’s a milestone birthday for the Star Wars franchise hitting 40 years old today. Boy, this Boston Globe movie review was right on the money back in 1977.