Brown ready for his induction to Patriots Hall

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Brown ready for his induction to Patriots Hall

FOXBORO -- Troy Brown stood in the Hall at Patriot Place and watched some of his old highlights cued up on a video screen. Most of the plays barely elicited a reaction, save one. It was the catch he made during the Patriots' Super Bowl-winning drive against the Rams on February 3, 2002.

"Was that really 11 years ago?" he asked, looking up from the screen for a moment.

Yes, Brown's getting older, and when he returns to Foxboro, the reminders are all around. But, for the former Patriot great, with age have come honors and remembrances of a job well-done. He'll receive the franchise's highest honor on Saturday as he's inducted into the team's Hall of Fame.

"I think this is just a great way to cap off what everybody has been talking about, a great career that I put together for myself with the help of so many people," Brown said, donning his new red sports coat with the Patriots' Hall of Fame logo, signifying his induction. "You cant get any greater honor than this when youre a Patriot."

Brown reminisced about some of his career's defining moments Thursday, including a few of its lower points. Though he helped the team win three championships, his 15 years in New England were far from one big Super Bowl parade.

In his rookie season, he was released by then-coach Bill Parcells.

"Being cut is not fun,'' Brown said. "I was out for over half the season that year. I came back and I lost my number. I used to be Irving Fryar (No. 81) and I came back as Stanley Morgan (80). It wasn't fun. Parcells kind of beat me up a little bit when I got back.

"When the season was over, I was a free agent. I didn't know if he was going to sign me again. He did. He gave me another opportunity and it's been pretty good since then.''

Very good, in fact. Brown racked up 557 receptions for 6,636 yards and 31 touchdowns in his career as a receiver. An eighth-round draft pick, he also excelled on special teams and famously made the transition to defensive back when coach Bill Belichick need him there.

Vince Wilfork, who was Brown's teammate for four seasons, spoke glowingly of Brown, but more so for what Brown did off the field than on it.

"That guy, hell give you the shirt off his back," Wilfork said. "Hes just one hell of a person, not just football, but as a person, hes a great, great man.

Brown, 41, was asked at one point if he still felt as though he could play.

"Every once in a while I do," Brown said. "I can call Bill Belichick up right now and tell him I got about four or five good ones in me, but in all actuality it would probably be one play and then Im done."

Yes, he's getting older and he knows it. But he'll always take pride in the fact that as a younger man, he helped build the Patriots franchise into what it's become today.

"You hear people talk all the time about what it means to be a Patriot," Wilfork said. "He's a symbol of a Patriot."

Jerod Mayo: 'Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year'

Jerod Mayo: 'Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year'

Jerod Mayo still has faith in New England Patriots cornerback Cyrus Jones.

The cornerback, who was the Patriots' top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, struggled mightily in his rookie season. He fumbled his way out of a role on special teams, where he served as a returner.

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He then failed to perform at nickel cornerback, and the Patriots traded for Eric Rowe, who pushed Jones down the depth chart and often onto the inactives on game day. Jones' emotional outburst during Week 5 when he got ejected for punching Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins didn't help.

Despite all that, Mayo thinks Jones will turn things around.

"I think Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year," Mayo said in the latest edition of "The Ex Pats" podcast. "I want people to remember a rookie [Matthew] Slater. A rookie Matt Slater was terrible. He would sit here on this podcast and tell you he's terrible, and I think Cyrus Jones is more athletic than Matthew Slater. I think -- I know for a fact, because I've seen it time and time again, the biggest leap not only in athleticsm but also in confidence is from year one to year two."

Jones admitted to the Baltimore Sun that his rookie was "hell." He added he felt "embarrassed." The 23-year-old cornerback said he didn't feel like he was a part of New England's Super Bowl LI win.

“Failure is another opportunity to begin again more intelligently,” Jones wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post.

Mayo seems to think Jones has learned his lesson, and will rebound with the help of Bill Belichick. And the Patriots may need Butler to be the most-improved player. Malcolm Butler's future with New England has become uncertain, and the remaining top cornerbacks are over 6-feet.

The Patriots need a slot corner. Jones is the next man up.

"As much as the media has kind of battered this young kid, Bill's going to boost him up this entire offseason," Mayo said. "Bill -- he's the best at putting lowlights up after a game . . . But during the offseason, he kind of -- it's individualized coach. He knows this guy's confidence is in the toilet. He's going to boost him up as much as possible.

"You know [Jones] can play football. He played in the SEC. He played on the top team on the country, and was a standout performer. So this is a confidence issue. This entire thing is a confidence issue, and I think they fix that."

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.