Belichick loves Larry Fitzgerald

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Belichick loves Larry Fitzgerald

When it comes to his press conferences, Bill Belichick's about as likely to break into a seductive belly dance as he is to gush over one of the 53 players on his roster. But when it comes to the opposition, the coach is always more than willing to lay on heavy helpings of praise, and convince the world that his Pats are up against the NFL's best . . .

And sometimes, he doesn't even have to lie.

For instance, Larry Fitzgerald. You know about Fitzgerald. He'll go down as one of the best to ever play the wide receiver position. He's only 29 years old, but already finds himself in the Top 5 among active players in receiving touchdowns and, by the end of this season, will likely have more than 800 career receptions and well over 10,000 career receiving yards. He's a 6-foot-3, 225-pound freak of nature, who strikes fear in the eyes of any NFL coach even perhaps the greatest of all time.

Anyway, here's what Belichick said about Fitzgerald this afternoon, as the Pats prepare for Sunday's home opener against the Cardinals (courtesy of Mary Paoletti):

"He does everything well," Belichick said. "Hes a great, great receiver; will go down as one of the all-time greats and might end up being the best one ever, I dont know. He has size, quickness, ability to separate and gets open, exceptional hands. Hes good short, deep, with the ball in his hands after the catch; strong, very smart, sets up his routes well. They move him around, they put him in a lot of different spots, its hard to even find him; you have no idea where hes going to line up from play to play. He has a very big route tree; he runs all the routes with double moves off of them and complementary moves so one route sets up another."

And here's what Belichick didn't say: "It's just lucky for us that the Cardinals are starting Kevin Kolb at quarterback."

But he could have, and should have.

Listen, I love Larry Fitzgerald as much as the next guy. The dude transcends NFL allegiance. And no one will be surprised if he puts up massive numbers on Sunday.

I also realize that Kolb who's extremely likely to start for the injured John Skelton in Week 2 was very effective in relief against the Seahawks last Sunday. Not that it would take much, but it's very safe to say that he'll have more confidence coming into Week 2 than he's had in more than a year.

But come on, it won't last long.

It's one thing for Kolb to sneak up on Slappy Carroll and the Seahawks in the comfort of his own Arizona home (although, there were a few boo birds as he took over for Skelton.) It's another thing to start on the road against Bill Belichick and the fully-prepared Pats. At the end of the day, even if Fitzgerald puts up his numbers, it won't be enough to offset Kolb's.

Although I'm sure Belichick will still have plenty of nice things to say about them both.

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

Belichick headlines big-name crowd in attendance at Ohio State pro day

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Belichick headlines big-name crowd in attendance at Ohio State pro day

Bill Belichick has counted both Urban Meyer and Greg Schiano among the list of coaches he trusts. On Thursday, the Patriots coach was in attendance at Ohio State's pro day to watch players who've been coached by both. 

Belichick has been closely tied to both Meyer and Schiano over the years, drafting multiple players from their programs when Meyer was at the University of Florida and Schiano was at Rutgers University. The Schiano connection has been particularly strong in recent years as Belichick's son, Steve, played for Schiano, and the Patriots had three key players in their secondary -- Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan -- for the last four seasons who studied under Schiano. 

Now the head coach and associate head coach/defensive coordinator, respectively, Meyer and Schiano have tutored some of this year's top draft prospects. Here's a quick breakdown of some of the top-tier talent hailing from Columbus this year . . . 

Malik Hooker, safety: The 6-foot-1, 206-pounder is expected to be the first true free safety off the board. His impressive ball skills made him a turnover waiting to happen in the Big Ten. 

Marshon Lattimore, corner: With a 38.5-inch vertical and a 4.36-second 40-yard dash time, Lattimore is one of the best draft-eligible athletes this year. He was hampered by hamstring injuries in college, but he's still projected to be one of the first defensive backs taken. 

Gareon Conley, corner: Among the draft's fastest risers after putting together a strong combine (4.44 40-yard dash, 6.68-second three-cone), Conley will give his next team good size (6-feet, 195 pounds) and length (33-inch arms). He may not be as polished as Lattimore, but still could very well be a first-round pick.

Pat Elflein, center: This smart, hard-working pivot may not have the world's best footwork, but he should be among the first players taken at his position. Elflein (6-foot-3, 300 pounds) is a former wrestler who has experience at both center and guard. 

Curtis Samuel, receiver: A true all-purpose threat in college (AP All-American, first-team All-Big Ten), he could have trouble adapting to life as a full-time receiver in the NFL. At 5-11, 196 pounds that's probably where he'll end up.

Raekwon McMillan, linebacker: At 6-2, 240 pounds McMillan was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten choice. He's instinctive, but there's some concern as to whether or not he has the strength to hold up inside at the next level. The Patriots, as we've noted, have been looking at the linebacker position throughout the pre-draft process.

FBI returns Brady Super Bowl jerseys to Gillette

FBI returns Brady Super Bowl jerseys to Gillette

The FBI returned Tom Brady’s Super Bowl XLIX and Super Bowl LI jerseys to Gillete Stadium Thursday, days after recovering the stolen items. 

After the FBI’s visit, Robert Kraft issued the following statement:  

"We want to thank the FBI, the Mexican authorities and the many different local agencies that were involved in the investigation and ultimate recovery of Tom Brady's Super Bowl LI jersey. Working along with the Patriots and NFL security, those agencies collectively coordinated an investigation that also led to the recovery of Tom’s missing Super Bowl XLIX jersey. It was great to have both jerseys returned to Gillette Stadium today. I don’t know that any agency could have accomplished this independently, but collectively multiple agencies -- both in the U.S. and in Mexico -- worked together to achieve the goal of retrieving the stolen property. It is another example of the importance of teamwork and what can be accomplished when everyone works together. We appreciate the effort of everyone involved and look forward to returning these jerseys to Tom when he gets back to New England."

Brady’s jersey was reported missing shortly after the Patriots’ Super Bowl LI victory over the Falcons, with it being learned in recent days that Martin Mauricio Ortega Camberos of Mexican newspaper La Prensa was the culprit. Video emerged Tuesday of Ortega illegally entering the Patriots’ locker room and leaving with the jersey.