Belichick appreciates Bulman's smarts, conditioning


Belichick appreciates Bulman's smarts, conditioning

The stories circulated quickly when Tim Bulman was a senior captain on the Boston College High School football team. And as he led both the offensive and defensive lines of the eventual Division 1 state champions, some of those stories became legend.

I was a freshman at the school at the time, and I'd hear stories that he would wake up in the middle of the night just to lift weights, then go back to sleep. Kids said he would snag sewer covers off the streets in Milton, Mass. when he ran out of 45-pound plates at home. They said that he once snapped a bench-press bar in half because it was overloaded with weight.

Whether the stories were true didn't matter. The boys at BC High listened, saw him dominate on the field, and thought he could do anything.

But never did we think he'd play for the Patriots. Even for the kids who passed him in the hallways on the Dorchester campus, it would have seemed too far-fetched. But here he is nonetheless, 12 years after his senior fall at BC High, on a one-year deal with his hometown team after spending the last six seasons in Houston.

"Tim had some production for the Texans," Bill Belichick said today. "He led their team in sacks, or was second in sacks . . . a couple years ago. You know, active guy, smart. Had a good workout, he's in good condition, so we'll see how it goes."

Bulman played in 41 games in Houston, including 10 last season. He was undrafted out of Boston College in 2005 but was signed by Arizona and played eight games for the Cardinals.

He's versatile -- he has experience in both 4-3 and 3-4 sets, which should benefit him -- but a roster spot at the end of camp is far from certain.

Until then, we'll see how it goes. The boys who remember him from BC High -- not to mention the folks from who know him from BC or back in Milton -- will certainly be watching.

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

When it comes to projecting Rob Gronkowski's health, it's been best to steer clear of absolutes. There have been too many injuries, too many surgeries, to predict exactly how he'll feel months in advance. 

Still, in speaking with ESPN's Cari Champion recently, he said he had "no doubt" he'll be ready for Week 1 of the 2017 regular season. 

"Yes, for sure," he replied when asked if he expected to be good to go. 

Gronkowski also fielded a question about his long-term future in the sit-down. Lately it's been his coach Bill Belichick and his quarterback Tom  Brady who receiver all the life-after-football queries, but Gronkowski, 27, was asked how much longer he'd like to play. 

"I’m not really sure," he said. "I mean, I still love playing the game, and as of right now, I want to play as long as I possibly could play. My mindset is to keep on going."

Gronkowski landed on season-ending injured reserve in December after undergoing a procedure on his back -- his third back surgery since 2009. He's had nine reported surgeries -- including procedures on his knee, forearm and ankle -- since his final year at the University of Arizona. 

Gronkowski doesn't think Goodell can visit Gillette: 'The fans are nuts'

Gronkowski doesn't think Goodell can visit Gillette: 'The fans are nuts'

At this point, there may be no getting out of it.

Roger Goodell chose to visit Atlanta twice in as many weeks during its run to a Super Bowl, and in the process he opted not to check in at Gillette Stadium for either the Divisional Round or the AFC title game. But once the Patriots won Super Bowl LI, many felt as though Goodell would simply have no choice but to attend the 2017 regular-season opener in Foxboro. 

There are those who are itching to have him visit. There are those who hope he stays away. In an interview with ESPN, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski didn't put himself in either camp, but he seemed to suggest that it might not be the best idea for the commissioner to show his face in New England.

"To tell you the truth, I really don’t think so," Gronkowski said when asked if Goodell could come back to Foxboro any time soon. "The fans are nuts, they’re wild, and they have the Patriots’ back no matter what. They have Tom’s back. I’m telling you, he won’t get through the highway if the fans saw him. I don’t even think he can even land in the airport in Boston because Patriot fans are the best fans, they’re the most loyal fans. I’m telling you, they might just carry out Roger themselves. They couldn’t even get to the stadium in Foxboro if he landed in Boston."

Goodell hasn't been to Gillette Stadium since Deflategate, but he said during Super Bowl week that he'd be happy to visit if he was invited.