Belichick on facing Koppen: That's the way it is


Belichick on facing Koppen: That's the way it is

Dan Koppen will likely be in the starting lineup when New England plays Denver at Gillette Stadium Sunday. You can look for him smack dab in the middle of the offensive line.

The Broncos offensive line.

It could be a strange sight for long-time Patriots fans. Koppen's NFL career was born via a 2003 New England draft selection, and he played with the team for nine seasons. He was released during final cuts this August.

Bill Belichick didn't eulogize Koppen's time with the Patriots on his Tuesday conference call. Business is business, the coach said.

"We kind of go through this every week, see players on other teams -- Ravens safety James Ihedigbo, Bills defensive lineman Mark Anderson, whoever it is -- there's players on other teams that have played for us," he noted of New England's last two opponents.

"It's a little bit unusual . . . It is but it isn't; we haven't seen Dan Koppen in another uniform, but you see plenty of other players in similar situations where that happened. That's the way it is in the NFL -- you can find it on every team throughout the league."

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”