Brady not getting sentimental about WR battle


Brady not getting sentimental about WR battle

FOXBORO -- Everybody can't stay. That's the bottom line.

The Patriots have more talented and accomplished wide receivers in camp than available roster spots.

The team will likely keep four players whose sole job is wide receiver. Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker are on the team.

A good player -- and a guy who's got history with this organization -- is going to go. Might be Deion Branch. Might be Donte Stallworth. Might be Jabar Gaffney.

But it probably has to be one of them.

Asked about this battle for survival shaping up between friends, Tom Brady was almost emphatic in explaining why it has to be this way.

"I think competition is good for all of us," he began. "I think its up to everyone to earn the spot. You have to earn it every year. I think the one thing about this place is theres no entitlement to the positions out here. You do it based on what you earn and thats why you come out here every day working hard to develop that trust from your coaches and your teammates so that they want you out there.

"And part of being a team player is doing whats best for the team and if someone is better than you, then its better for the team for that person to play," Brady continued. "Thats why you come out here and you work hard. You work hard in the offseason to be prepared and you work hard in training camp to get an opportunity and then you work hard once you get an opportunity to take advantage of your opportunity."

So far in this camp, Stallworth is the backup to Lloyd, while Gaffney and Branch battle for the third wideout spot.

Gaffney is taking most of the reps with the presumed first team. Gaffney and Branch have not been seen on the field at the same time, amplifying the fact they are in direct competition. Money doesn't really enter into the equation with these guys. Gaffney is on a two-year deal valued at 2.3 million with a 250,000 bonus. Branch signed a one-year, 1.325 million deal in March. And Stallworth signed a one-year, 875,000 contract.

Branch, one of the most likable Patriots of the glory years and a brilliant sidekick to Brady for so long, is 33. He's up against it.

Brady the quarterback, cannot afford to get sentimental.

"The more good football players you have on the team, the better you're going to be," he reasoned. "Its better to have guys competing for spots than hoping guys were better than what they are. Its better to have a lot of good players than not have a lot of good players. Weve got some depth at the receiver position; I dont know how its going to sort out, but based on what we do out here on the field, thats everybodys opportunity: quarterback, running back, receiver, tight end. I mean, weve got a lot of competition at a lot of positions."

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.”