Brady wrote endorsement letter for Taylor to make Hall of Fame

Brady wrote endorsement letter for Taylor to make Hall of Fame

This flew under the radar during Super Bowl week, but it's worth pointing out even well after the news broke: Tom Brady wrote an endorsement letter to help Jason Taylor get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

The former Dolphins, Jets and Redskins linebacker and defensive end probably didn't need the help. He finished his 15-year career with 139.5 sacks, 46 forced fumbles, 29 fumble recoveries and 51 batted passes. He sacked Brady more than any other quarterback (11.5 in 20 games), and when he retired, he'd sacked Brady more than anyone else. 

Still, Brady opted to write a letter on Taylor's behalf, encouraging Hall of Fame voters to consider Taylor during his first year of eligibility. He wrote it during a time when he may have had a few extra hours to kill, before returning from his four-game suspension to start the season. 

"The word I typically used to describe Jason was tenacious," Brady wrote. "His effort was second to none. Regardless of the situation, Jason came after me with the same reckless abandon on each and every snap, getting to his target often. I remember hearing once that he sacked me more than any other quarterback in the NFL, a painful badge of honor for myself. Jason was incredible against the run as well and never took a play off."

Taylor was as surprised as anyone that Brady wrote the endorsement since he never asked for one.

Ty Law, Brady's former teammate who missed out on winning a Hall of Fame nod in his first year of eligibility, jokingly asked TalkofFameNetwork.com why Taylor got an endorsement from Brady when he did not.

"That’s a good question," Taylor told the site. "You know what the beauty of that is? I didn’t even ask Tom for it.

"He and I had a great friendship throughout our playing days. Obviously, we played against each other a ton. I probably played 25 or 26 games against Tommy … maybe more, I don’t even know the number of games. We’ve always had this healthy rivalry between the two of us. We would go at it, compete hard and we were great friends off the field.

"I was floored when I saw the letter. I really was. Seth Levit, the director of my foundation (the Jason Taylor Foundation) and office here in Florida, actually texted me that Tom had sent a letter in. I guess Seth had been talking to the people in New England and got the letter down here, and I was floored. It means the world to me.

"I know Ty played with him, and Ty was kinda like, ‘What? Brady wrote you a letter?’ But it is one of those things where I will take it and frame it. I got a letter and words from Jimmy Johnson … I’m looking at what Bill Polian had to say … and all these clips of guys who had amazing things to say about me, and I want to take them all and keep them forever.

"But that Tom Brady letter … a text I got from Peyton Manning the other night … the list goes on of guys that have reached out that I want to save forever. I don’t trust this cloud. Whatever this cloud is … this iCloud thing, I need to go back and put it on pen and paper and keep it somewhere in my house."

Report: Patriots asked Seahawks about a trade for Richard Sherman

Report: Patriots asked Seahawks about a trade for Richard Sherman

PHOENIX -- The Patriots pulled off what many considered a surprise free-agent signing when they acquired corner Stephon Gilmore. As it turns out, before they picked up the former Bills cover man, they inquried about a separate move that would have been even more eye-opening. 

According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, ahead of coming to a deal with Gilmore, the Patriots were among the teams that spoke to the Seahawks about a potential trade for Richard Sherman.

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During the NFC coaches breakfast on Wednesday morning at the Arizona Biltmore, Seattle coach Pete Carroll acknowledged that multiple teams have contacted the Seahawks about Sherman. But, Carroll said, "I don't see anything happening at all."

Sherman, who turns 29 next season, will make $11.431 million for 2017. He's due $11 million in the final year of his contract in 2018.

Rivera: Ealy 'a gifted young man,' can reascend 'if he listens'

Rivera: Ealy 'a gifted young man,' can reascend 'if he listens'

PHOENIX -- The Patriots picked up Kony Ealy, who a year ago put together one of the best defensive performances in Super Bowl history, by exchanging a second-round pick for a third-rounder earlier this offseason.

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How exactly was a 25-year-old defensive end with loads of talent available at that price? Apparently he had some trouble listening to the coaching staff in Carolina.

During the NFC coaches breakfast at the Arizona Biltmore on Wednesday morning Panthers head coach Ron Rivera praised Ealy for his ability, but he acknowledged that Ealy's production waned in part because the Carolina coaching staff had a hard time getting through to the player involved. 

"I think sometimes when you have success, you kind of fall back into a little bit of something," Rivera answered when asked if Ealy had difficulty taking coaching. "But at the same time, for us, we looked at [the trade] as an opportunity -- as [general manager] Dave [Gettleman] said -- to find some gold. We moved up in the second round. We have two picks in the second round . . . We feel we'll be able to fill a need so we're pretty excited about that opportunity."

Ealy, who has one year remaining on his rookie contract, figures to factor heavily into the rotation at defensive end for the Patriots since Bill Belichick and his coaching staff watched both Jabaal Sheard (Colts) and Chris Long (Eagles) depart via free-agency, leaving Trey Flowers and Rob Ninkovich as the primary holdovers on the edge from last year's Super Bowl-winning roster. 

In Super Bowl 50, Ealy tied the Super Bowl record with three sacks. He also recorded an interception and forced fumble in the game -- becoming the only player in Super Bowl history to record multiple sacks and a pick -- and he did it all in 23 snaps.

Last season Ealy started the first six games of the regular season for the Panthers, eventually coming off the bench for the final 10. He saw 58 percent of Carolina's defensive snaps and recorded five sacks as well as an interception. He had nine regular-season sacks combined in his first two seasons as a pro.

So what kind of player will the Patriots be getting in Ealy, I asked Rivera? A good one, he replied, if he's willing to learn everything Belichick throws at him.

"I think they got a guy that has the skill set, that's flashed in opportunities to show people what he's capable of doing," Rivera said. "And at the end of the day, if he listens and does things that coach asks of him, I think he's got an opportunity to reascend and be that type of player. I mean, he is a gifted young man."

Rivera added: "There's nothing physically that kept him from being [more consistent]. You saw the flashes. If you watch the tape, you see these flashes throughout. Sometimes when you see those, you wonder, 'Eh, did we make the right decision?' But at the end of the day, the proof will be in the pudding. We'll know -- once we get through this draft, as to what we were able to accomplish -- whether we did or didn't."

Will Ealy be able to turn those flashes into more consistent production? Will the Patriots coaching staff be able to reach him in a way that those in Carolina apparently could not? 

All that remains to be seen, but Belichick may have had an opportunity to hear a little more about his new defensive end Wednesday when he spoke to Ealy's college defensive line coach for about a half-hour while scouting prospects at the University of Miami pro day, according to the Palm Beach Post's Matt Porter.