Light, Faulk as honorary captains: Nobody more fired up

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Light, Faulk as honorary captains: Nobody more fired up

FOXBORO -- The Patriots announced Thursday that former running back Kevin Faulk and left tackle Matt Light would serve as honorary captains for Sunday's AFC Championship game against the Ravens. Media availability for both was held the following day.
The pair stepped before the podium after a brief introduction by Robert Kraft.
Big as he is, Light could hardly contain his good humor.
"As a fan I've never seen anything but a win at Gillette Stadium. Besides what some of you know is a guy who isn't the biggest sports fan off the field, there's nobody that's going to be in this stadium that's going to be more fired up for this one than this guy right here," he boomed. "And, secondly, the guy that's getting the honor alongside me right here, Kevin Faulk if there's one guy I'd want to walk out on the field one more time with, it'd be the guy who did it on third down, and every time he touched the field I felt better at my position.
"It's just an awesome thing to be back here, to be alongside Kevin Faulk, to have the Kraft family honor us in this way, to share in this special moment at this time of the year when everybody is amped up, is just truly a blessing."
Faulk was asked if the Patriots postseason run, happening just three months after he officially retired, is a mixed blessing. Of course he's thrilled for the team's success, but is it bittersweet to watch from the outside?
"I don't know if it's a blessing or what," Faulk laughed ruefully. "It's a good thing in a way, but as a competitor, you want to be out there because you just left the locker room, you've just been with all these guys. Like last week, to see the excitement on Shane Vereen's face after the game that he had that's what I miss. And I know that's what Matt misses, too. I miss going in the locker room after a game like that when a guy I spent the whole year in the meeting room with has a game that really boosts his confidence for, probably, the rest of his career."
Light agreed, noting how much he respected the commitment and drive of his former teammates.
"Everybody talks about the system and everything else, but you have to have individuals that are really better than anybody else to make that work. You have to have the top. And I'm not saying they're better than everyone in the league, but you have to have people that really understand what it means to be selfless, and spend a lot of time working and never be satisfied. And that's one of the things I miss the most from my playing days because that's hard to find in the real world."
But though both admitted feeling nostalgic, Light made it clear he's not itching to suit up on Sunday. He's perfectly content to support New England from his seat in the stands.
"I'd probably make it through the warmup. About that time I'd probably fall out," Light joked before sharing his answer. "I'd just be crazy to think that any former Patriot, any guy that's spent any time in this organization knows what it's like to be here, to not just be overly excited for this opportunity, and what these guys are going through, and all the work that that they've put into it."

Goodell: NFL working on a way to reduce commercial breaks during games

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Goodell: NFL working on a way to reduce commercial breaks during games

The NFL is acknowledging it has a time-management issue. Games are too long. Commercial are too frequent. And according to an email addressed to NFL fans, Roger Goodell is hoping to change that.

On Wednesday afternoon the commissioner explained the methods by which the league is hoping to improve the fan experience, most of which concern the presentation of games with as few interruptions as possible. 

"On the football side, there are a number of changes we are making to the mechanics and rules of the game to maintain excitement and also improve the consistency of our officiating," Goodell wrote. "For example, next week clubs will vote on a change to centralize replay reviews. Instead of a fixed sideline monitor, we will bring a tablet to the Referee who can review the play in consultation with our officiating headquarters in New York, which has the final decision. This should improve consistency and accuracy of decisions and help speed up the process.

"Regarding game timing, we're going to institute a play clock following the extra point when television does not take a break, and we're considering instituting a play clock after a touchdown. We're also going to standardize the starting of the clock after a runner goes out-of-bounds, and standardize halftime lengths in all games, so we return to the action as quickly as possible. Those are just a few of the elements we are working on to improve the pace of our game."

Goodell also mentioned that the NFL is working with its broadcast partners to reduce the frequency of commercial breaks during games. 

"For example," Goodell wrote, "we know how annoying it is when we come back from a commercial break, kick off, and then cut to a commercial again. I hate that too. Our goal is to eliminate it."

Goodell, team owners and executives will convene in Phoenix next week for the league's annual meetings where discussions about these potential changes could see meaningful progress.

Dear Jaylen: Go back to being you

Dear Jaylen: Go back to being you

Dear Jaylen,

When the Celtics drafted you third overall, I cursed you for not being Kris Dunn. I still have no idea if you're going to be a good NBA player, but I can tell by watching you there's reason for hope. 

You're young, impressionable, and you lack confidence, which is typical for a 20-year-old whether he plays in the NBA or works at a bank. Tonight’s game against the Pacers is the time for you to take a step. Not a giant step; just a small step back towards becoming the player you were before Marcus Smart disrespected you in the Minnesota game. 

Prior to Smart’s griping at you for no reason, you had shot 11-for-22 in the previous three games. Since that time you've gone 4-for-14. This isn't a coincidence and hopefully Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens have talked to you about it. You need to know they have your back, especially if Smart doesn’t.

The tough-guy Twitter jerks will tell you to toughen up and that if you’re going to play in the league you have to be able take it. Well, they’re right, but it's unfair of them to expect that now. It’s one thing to get into it on the court with an opponent, but when one of your own dresses you down like Smart did because you drove for a layup . . . that can be a bit unnerving. 

So tonight, Jaylen, it’s all about you. Get the ball, don’t wait for the damn play and take it to the rim. It’s your time, kid, and the Celtics need you now and for the next 10 years. 

Sincerely,
Gary Tanguay