Andre Carter gets itMORE: Life without Ortiz Jermaine O'Neal's still talking

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Andre Carter gets itMORE: Life without Ortiz Jermaine O'Neal's still talking

Yesterday on Sirius, formermaybe future Pats defensive lineman Andre Carter was on with guys at "Movin' the Chains." It was an interesting interview, the details of which you can read more about over here, but there's one part that I want to focus on.

Something that Carter said after being asked about spending last season in Foxborough.

Ahem.

"I think I learned more about football than I had throughout my whole 11 years."

Wow.

After more than a decade of listening to the world talk about what a genius Bill Belichick is, I think it's sometimes easy to take him for granted. Or at the very least, to temporarily lose sight of just how much football's been absorbed by the man's brain over the last 60 years.

But every once in a while you hear something like this, and it puts everything in perspective. You hear Andre Carter, who's played a dozen seasons in the NFL, for seven different head coaches including Joe Gibbs and Mike Shanahan say that he learned more in four months with Belichick than in the rest of his career combined.

I guess we need to take Carter's words with a grain of salt. After all, you know that he's dying for a chance to re-join the Pats this year. And he knows that it can't hurt to kiss a little Hoodie ass in the media. But there's no doubt that part of the reason Carter's so eager to play for the Pats in the first place is that bottomless pit of knowledge that sits on top of Belichick's head.

Whether or not Carter and the Pats will ever come to terms this season . . . we'll see. A lot still depends on Carter's recovery from last December's quad injury. He might be a great guy, but unless he can play to last year's standards, you know Belichick won't bite. But count me among the thousands that hope the two sides work something out.

Not only can the Pats use Carter's presence on the line, but the Pats D can use another established veteran. A guy who might still have a lot to learn from Belichick, but also has a lot he can teach to Chandler Jones and the rest of the defensive line.

One other highlight from the Carter interview?

This: "I didnt realize how big Donta Hightower was," Carter said about the Pats other first round pick. "That boy is a beast. He is big and solid and he can run like the wind, especially for a man his size (6-2, 270). I think for him, on the back end, he can do it all whether its a 3-4 or 4-3, Ill be interested to see what he does."

I'll be, too. Like I said before, I really think we're seeing the start of something special with the Pats crew of young linebackers: Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes and Hightower.

I think I'm more excited for them than I've been for any linebacking trio throughout my whole 11 years.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

What will it be like when Goodell shows up in Foxboro?

What will it be like when Goodell shows up in Foxboro?

Tom E. Curran in the Cumberland Farms lounge joins Sports Tonight to discuss what he thinks it will be like when Roger Goodell attends the Patriots home opener on September 7.

Burkhead's former running backs coach: 'He's going to flourish' with Patriots

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Burkhead's former running backs coach: 'He's going to flourish' with Patriots

PHOENIX -- Rex Burkhead was buried on a deep running back depth chart in Cincinnati, but in New England he may finally have a chance to show his offensive value. That's how Burkhead's former running backs coach and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson feels, at least.

Before he was hired as Browns head coach last season, Jackson worked closely with Burkhead for three years and saw the 5-foot-10, 210-pounder's versatile skill set on a daily basis. With the Patriots, under Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels, Jackson believes Burkhead has a chance to see that skill set maximized. 

"He's very talented," Jackson said during the league meetings at the Arizona Biltmore. "He's a guy that was playing behind some very talented players [with the Bengals], and so he's going to get his opportunity now, and he's going to flourish. He's a really good player. A really good player.

"He's very versatile because he's a good runner, a good pass-catcher. He's a good blocker. He's very bright. He's been a sensational special teams player there so he brings a lot of different elements to that football team."

The Patriots signed Burkhead to a one-year deal earlier this offseason that could pay him more than $3 million -- a sign that they're hoping he'll factor heavily into the offense in 2017. With LeGarrette Blount still on the free-agent market, Burkhead is currently the biggest back on the Patriots roster alongside Dion Lewis, James White and DJ Foster, and he could be in line for a significant amount of work in short-yardage situations and on first and second down.

Burkhead served primarily as a special-teamer during his four-year career in Cincinnati, but in Week 17 of last season, because of injuries to his teammates at the position, he was the Bengals lead back and ran 27 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns. We took a closer look at the qualities he put on display that day right here

It was a performance that gave Burkhead's profile a where-did-that-come-from type of boost as he headed toward unrestricted free agency, but his head coach at the time wasn't surprised.

"Not at all. That's why we drafted him," said Bengals sideline boss Marvin Lewis, who went on to explain why Burkhead was an inconsistent offensive contributor leading up to that game.

"A lot of times when Rex got opportunities to play, he wasn't quite 100 percent and so that kind of limited him some. Even in preseason opportunities and so forth like that where you'd go into the game, and it'd be Rex's -- in my mind, Rex's ballgame -- to carry the ball in the first or second quarter and he wasn't able to suit up that day.

"That's one of the things he's battled over his career is just being 100 percent completely healthy. [But] he's just a hard-working guy who always wants to be out there."

And in New England, it looks like he'll have the chance to be out there more.