Belichick's old plan for punching up practice

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Belichick's old plan for punching up practice

FOXBORO --Entertaining anecdote or decades-old fuel for the Nanny Brigade? I guess we'll find out in the next few days. Anyway, old friend Chad Eaton revealed to the Dayton Daily News in a recent profile that, way back when Bill Belichick was coaching in Cleveland, Eaton was encouraged to instigate fights. And, lo and behold, an envelope would appear in his locker later that week.

If practice was going slow, hed look at me and just say, Its time, Eaton said. He wanted me to get on somebodys case and start a little fight. I was known for that and it paid off on Fridays. Thered always be some extra money in my locker. Practice players dont make much, so I really appreciated it.The story was brought to light by my friend Mike Florio on Pro Football Talk. It immediately reminded me of a story back in 2000 when Belichick allegedlybought another dustup, that one initiated by Rob Gattrell. Chad Finn of The Boston Globe found the story of a source telling Nick Cafardo that Gattrell was paid 200 to go after Lawyer Milloy. Belichick denied it back in 2000. And when asked about the Eaton story on Friday, Belichick said he didn't remember such a thing happening. Florio noted that greasing palms with cash for any reason may run afoul of NFL salary cap rules. Hopefully, the statute of limitations has long since kicked in and the league doesn't send its investigative geniuses sniffing around to see if Belichick's still running a practice squad fight club.My hunch is that he probably isn't.
First, that 2000 Patriots team and those Cleveland teams were trying to forge indentities. This team has established its identity. Belichick has also been heard on NFL Films segments in recent years taking a stance against practice fighting, seeing it as a waste of energy. And the cost of help now compared to back then makes it unlikely that he'd be interested in risking hands, knees and personnel by asking for a brouhaha.

Report: Patriots, Gronkowski restructure contract for 2017 season

Report: Patriots, Gronkowski restructure contract for 2017 season

The Patriots and Rob Gronkowski have restructured the tight end’s contract for the coming season, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. 

The reworked deal can bump Gronkowski’s salary for the 2017 season from $5.25 million to $10.75 million, according to Schefter. 

From Schefter on Facebook:  

Specific details on Rob Gronkowski's new deal with Patriots, per @RosenhausSports:

1st tier, which gets him to $10.75M either 90 percent play time or 80 catches or 1200 receiving yards or All Pro -- and he's made All Pro four times.

2nd tier to $8.75M: he has to get 80 percent play time or 70 catches or 1000 receiving yards or 12 TDs.

3rd tier takes him to $6.75M is 70 percent playtime, 60 receptions, 800 receiving yards or 10 TDs.

But a big new groundbreaking deal for Gronk.

Gronkowski was limited by injury to just eight games last season. He had 25 receptions for 540 yards and three touchdowns, all of which were career lows. 

The 28-year-old is entering his eighth NFL season since being selected by the Pats in the second round of the 2010 draft. He has played played in at least 15 regular-season games in four of his first seven season, though he’s twice played fewer than 10. 

Brandin Cooks ready to bring back arrow celebration after NFL rule change

Brandin Cooks ready to bring back arrow celebration after NFL rule change

Tuesday’s announcement from Roger Goodell that the NFL is “relaxing” its rules on celebrations is good news for at least one Patriot. 

That would be Brandin Cooks, who began celebrating the rule change on Twitter not long after the league made its announcement. 

Cooks, whom the Patriots acquired from the Saints this offseason in a trade that sent first and third-round picks to New Orleans, lost his favorite celebration last season when it was made clear that miming archery was off-limits. Josh Norman was fined $10,000 last season for such a celebration. 

Following Norman’s fine, Cooks lamented the league’s decision to punish what Cooks had previously done in reference to a Bible verse (Psalms 144:6). 

"Send forth lightning and scatter your enemy, and shoot your arrows and rout them," Cooks told the New Orleans Advocate. "I just remember it sticking with me for such a long time, I remember thinking, maybe I can do something with this."

Added Cooks: ”I’ve been doing it for three years now, and there was never a complaint about it. Now, all of a sudden, there is. It just reminds me that, it's almost as if they try to take so much away from us, but for something like this, that means so much to someone that has nothing to do with violence, it's frustrating. I'll definitely continue to speak my opinion about it, and if they have a problem with it, so be it."

When Tuesday’s news emerged, Cooks and former Saints teammate Mark Ingram were quick to react.