Belichick offers up 100-Watt praise for Texans


Belichick offers up 100-Watt praise for Texans

FOXBORO - Words don't go careening around Bill Belichick's brain and out his mouth haphazardly.

What he says, to whom he says it and when it's said are all important factors to consider when perusing a Belichick press conference transcript.

During Wednesday's conference call with the Houston media, Belichick verbally rolled J.J. Watt over like a yellow lab and scratched his tummy until Watt's legs kicked.

Most disruptive player in the league. Defensive Player of the Year material. Comparing the combination of Watt and Antonio Smith to Lawrence Taylor and Carl Banks. Check, check annnnnd check.

Belichick talks up every team the Patriots face. He expresses his weekly talking points to his team and then delivers them to we in the media, who then reintroduce them into the discourse.

But when Belichick is talking to out-of-town media, he knows that words of praise will be shared as well, hopefully leading to a sense of overconfidence.

Speaking about Watt, who's having a dominant season at defensive end for the Patriots next opponent, the Houston Texans, Belichick spared no superlative.

"Hesthe most disruptive player in the league certainly that weve seen," said Belichick. "Hes reallypretty good at everything. Hes got great quickness and length, instincts, goodplaying strength, got a high motor. That looks like the defensive player of theyear to me. Hes been so productive and so disruptive. Its not just the passrush. Its batted balls. Its tackles for loss and the blocking that he drawshelps everybody else out. Hes been a terrific player for them in a lot ofdifferent ways. He contributes so many things to their team. This guy is reallya good player.

All of it is, of course, true. Watt is having a career season. But the bouquets laid at Watt's feet by Belichick got deeper and deeper on Wednesday.

"It was easy to see the physical talent, but he didnt have a lotof college experience," said Belichick. "Hes developed kind of different, but similar to like aJason Pierre-Paul situation, didnt have a lot of college production, but hadenough. You could see enough, just wonder how high the bar can go and howquickly it will get there. As it did with JPP, its risen very fast for J.J."

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski is a model citizen in the NFL. In fact, the NFL Players Association is advising rookies to be more like Gronk, according to The Boston Globe

The New England Patriots tight end has developed a name for himself on and off the football field. With that attention comes branding. And at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere from May 18 to 20, the NFLPA encouraged rookies to develop their own brand -- much like Gronkowski.

“Some people think he’s just this extension of a frat boy, and that it’s sort of accidental,” Ahmad Nassar said, via The Globe. Nassar is the president of NFL Players Inc., the for-profit subsidiary of the NFLPA. “And that’s wrong. It’s not accidental, it’s very purposeful. So the message there is, really good branding is where you don’t even feel it. You think, ‘Oh, that’s just Gronk being Gronk.’ Actually, that’s his brand, but it’s so good and so ingrained and so authentic, you don’t even know it’s a brand or think it.”

Gronkowski's "Summer of Gronk" has indirectly become one of his streams of income. The tight end makes appearances for magazines and sponsors. Because of his earnings from branding and endorsements, he didn't touch his NFL salary during the early years of his career.

Gronk was one of three players who were the topics of discussion during the symposium. Dak Prescott and Odell Beckham were also used as examples of players who have been able to generate additional income from endorsements. Beckham, in particular, has been in the spotlight off the football field. He's appeared on the cover of Madden, and just signed a deal with NIke which is reportedly worth $25 million over five years with upwards of $48 million over eight years. His deal, which is a record for an NFL player, will pay him more than his contract with the Giants.

“A lot of people talk to the players about, ‘You should be careful with your money and you should treat your family this way and you should treat your girlfriend or your wife.’ Which is fine. I think that’s valuable,” Nassar said, via The Globe. “But we don’t often give them a chance to answer the question: How do you see yourself as a brand? Because Gronk, Odell, none of those guys accidentally ended up where they are from a branding and marketing standpoint.”

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.”