Fuller: 'I have a chance to play this week'

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Fuller: 'I have a chance to play this week'

FOXBORO -- A day after signing on with the Patriots, veteran safety Vincent Fuller practiced with the team at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, and said afterward that he felt "blessed" to have a chance to contribute to a winning organization.

"Man, I got a phone call, and I came here and signed a contract," said Fuller. "That's basically the gist of it. I was sitting at home with my family, watching the games on Sunday, and now I have a chance to play this week."

Fuller was released by Detroit on Dec. 6, nearly two months after the Lions placed him on injured reserve because of an elbow injury.

He said he's stayed prepared just in case he did get the call to join another team.

"I wasn't just at home doing anything," said Fuller. "I was actually working out and preparing as if I would be able to play in the next couple of weeks. So just being a professional, hopefully that allows me an opportunity to come in and help."

Fuller worked out for the Patriots after he was released by the Tennessee Titans in early September -- before the regular season began -- but he signed with the Lions.

Once him and the Lions agreed to part ways, Fuller saw what was going on with New England's defense, and knew that it would be an option for him.

"I knew the Patriots had some issues in their secondary, as well as some other teams," said Fuller. "So the Patriots were one of those teams that -- talking to my agent -- was a team that came up."

And for an indication as to what Fuller's motives are for the rest of the year, when asked what he knew about the Patriots from afar, Fuller said, "that they win."

Andrew Hawkins celebrates joining Patriots with 'Ballers' spoof

Andrew Hawkins celebrates joining Patriots with 'Ballers' spoof

Andrew Hawkins' situation isn't far off from a character in HBO's "Ballers." And he played into those connections with a video on Twitter.

The slot receiver, who signed with the Patriots on Wednesday, shares some similarities with the fictional football player Rickey Jerret, a veteran receiver who wades through interest from a number of teams, including New England, during free agency. Because of those similarities, Hawkins spoofed on a scene from "Ballers" where Jerret works out with Patriots receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. Hawkins imposes his face over Jerret's.

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

The Coyotes have hired former player Craig Cunningham as a pro scout, keeping the 26-year-old in hockey after a cardiac episode ended his playing career this season. 

Drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Cunningham played 34 games for Boston over parts of two seasons before he was waived and claimed by Arizona. He totaled 19 games for the Coyotes, but served as captain of the Tucson Roadrunners, the team’s AHL affiliate. 

Cunningham was hospitalized after he collapsed during pregame warmups on Nov. 19. He was kept alive by continual CPR, but had his lower left leg amputated the next months due to an infection from the episode. 

Known as a high-character player who was popular with his teammates, Cunningham’s transition to scouting lets him further his career after a scary break. 

"I'm very excited to begin the next chapter of my life with the Coyotes," Cunningham said in a statement released by the team. "I'm very grateful to John Chayka, Dave Tippett, the Coyotes and Roadrunners organizations, and all of the great fans across Arizona for the incredible support I've received over the past year. I'm looking forward to helping the Coyotes and I can't wait to get started in my new role."

Said Chayka, the team’s general manager: ”We're thrilled to have Craig join our hockey operations department as a pro scout. Craig was a smart, hard-working player with an incredible passion for the game. We're confident that he will bring those same qualities to the Coyotes in his new role and that he will be an invaluable asset to our organization. We look forward to Craig helping us in several areas and are excited that he is staying with the club."