Box Score Bank: Carroll's Last Stand

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Box Score Bank: Carroll's Last Stand

On Sunday in Seattle, the Patriots will face off with Pete Carroll for the first time since he was fired by the Krafts. So let's Box Score Bank-it back to Carroll's last game as HC of the NWP.

January 2, 2000

"Smooth" by Santana (featuring Rob Thomas) was the No. 1 song in America. The Green Mile was atop the box office. The night before Tom Brady had played the last game of his college career, leading Michigan to a 35-34 OT victory over Alabama in the Orange Bowl.

And down at old Foxboro Stadium, the Pats were sending their coach out in style with a beat down of the Baltimore Ravens.

FINAL SCORE: Patriots 20, Ravens 3

The Pats offense on this afternoon was about as bland as Carroll's coaching tenure. They scored on two field goals (one of the 25-yard variety) and a one-yard touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe to Mighty Mike Bartrum.

Bledsoe threw for 108 yards; Terry Allen was the leading rusher with 26 yards.

However, as we'll all be reminded on Sunday, Pete Carroll knows how to coach himself some defense, and he had the Pats 'D' rolling against the Ravens.

They picked up seven sacks on Tony Banks and Hall of Famer Stoney Case, including two each by Henry Thomas and Ted Johnson. Lawyer Milloy had a sack AND an interception one of two for the Pats. And the highlight of the day came in the fourth quarter, when Chad Eaton picked up a fumbled and rambled 23 yards for the game-sealing score.

With the win, the Pats finished with a record of 8-8.

A fitting end to a mediocre era.

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

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

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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.