Gregory could be part of the answer at safety


Gregory could be part of the answer at safety

After playing "Safety of the Week" during the latter half of the 2011 season, the Patriots have begun addressing the position with the signing of Steve Gregory.The 29-year-old, formerly with the Chargers, has signed a three-year deal, according to his agent David Canter. Speed is an attribute of Gregory's and that's something that's been lacking on the back end of the Patriots defense. But not the only thing. Angles and a little better comprehension of the fits and responsibilities in the secondary are needed as well. When you consider the moves made at the end of training camp -- the release of bad angle expert Brandon Meriweather and the not-so-speedy James Sanders -- it's clear the Patriots thought Josh Barrett and Sergio Brown could fill the void next to Patrick Chung. But Barrett got hurt and Brown underwhelmed. The Patriots got good work from James Ihedigbo back there but he's a hitter more than a centerfielder and that really overlaps the work of Chung, who is generally better in a strong safety role. Devin McCourty and Matt Slater also got reps back there but Slater was duct tape while McCourty should be able to go back to corner. The free agent class at safety -- and the draft class, for that matter -- is weak. We'll see what Gregory brings. A three-year deal does show a level of confidence that he can contribute. And he has special teams value as well so that makes him appealing. Gregory played 782 snaps in 2011 according to Pro Football Focus. According to their stats, 19 of the 30 balls in which he had primary coverage were completed during the course of the season. According to the PFF grading system, Gregory had a positive impact in half of San Diego's 16 games. He had a negative impact -- sizably so -- in the final three games of the Chargers season. In other words, Gregory is a possible answer to the Patriots travails at safety. But New England isn't counting on him as a definite. LaRon Landry, the injury-plagued big hitter from Washington, is still a possibility as well and we hope to update the Patriots' interest on him soon.

Andrew Benintendi leads Red Sox past Nationals in 8-1 win

Andrew Benintendi leads Red Sox past Nationals in 8-1 win

Andrew Benintendi excelled in his early-game action against Nationals starter Joe Ross in the Red Sox' 8-1 win. Benintendi finished the contest 2 of 2 with a triple and two RBIs. Dustin Pedroia helped Benintendi at the top of the lineup. Pedroia was 2 of 2 with a double and two RBIs.

Kyle Kendrick got the Red Sox pitching staff off to a strong start in his four-inning appearance. The 32-year-old righty had six strikeouts and allowed five hits with one earned run. Kendricks performance should ease some anxiety in Boston, as Drew Pomeranz headed to the disabled list.

Reliever Ben Taylor, 24, pitched the final two innings for the Sox, and had four strikouts with three hits allowed and no runs.

Chris Sale will pitch Friday for the Red Sox at 4:05 a.m against the Nationals.

Hernandez's fiancee: I learned to keep my mouth shut and not ask questions


Hernandez's fiancee: I learned to keep my mouth shut and not ask questions

BOSTON -- Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez's fiancee testified in his double-murder trial Thursday that she learned to keep her mouth shut and "not to ask any questions" in certain situations.

Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez testified against Hernandez under a grant of immunity from prosecutors. She and Hernandez have a 4-year-old daughter. She said she took Hernandez's last name in 2015.

Hernandez is accused of fatally shooting two men in Boston in July 2012 after an encounter at a Boston nightclub. He is also charged with witness intimidation in the shooting of Alexander Bradley, allegedly to silence him about the killings.

Jenkins-Hernandez repeatedly said she could not recall details about conversations with Hernandez after the 2012 killings and after Bradley's shooting in 2013.

She said she didn't ask Hernandez for details about Bradley's shooting, even though Hernandez and Bradley were close friends.

"[Bradley] was not my friend . . . Yes, it's a sad situation [but] why should I press about something like that?" she said.

Jenkins-Hernandez also said she did not recall getting a call from Hernandez at 2:37 a.m. on July 16, 2012, minutes after prosecutors say Hernandez shot Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado as they sat in a car at a stop light in Boston. Prosecutors said phone records show a 17-second call from Hernandez to her at that time.

Hernandez has denied shooting the men. His lawyer told the jury during opening statements that Bradley shot the men over a drug deal.

Bradley testified he saw Hernandez shoot the men. He also said Hernandez shot him in the face months later after he made a remark about the Boston shootings.

Hernandez is already serving a life sentence after being convicted in the 2013 killing of a man who was dating the sister of Jenkins-Hernandez.