Butler hopes 'Dirty Show' title earns him playing time


Butler hopes 'Dirty Show' title earns him playing time

By Danny Picard

FOXBORO -- They call it the "Dirty Show" championship belt. This week, it's sitting in the locker of cornerback Darius Butler.

Butler has seen a shortage of playing time this season, and has even been benched in favor of rookie Devin McCourty and sophomore Kyle Arrington.

But this week, Butler is the reigning Dirty Show champ -- the title given to the Patriots' practice player of the week.

So what exactly do you have to do to earn the belt?

"Practice hard and make plays out there, and that's what I've been doing the last couple of weeks," said Butler after Friday's practice at Gillette Stadium. "Just trying to be physically and mentally prepared every day."

Earlier on Friday, coach Bill Belichick said Butler is still "in the mix." But he added anyone who's active for the game is in the same boat.

"He had a good week of practice," said Belichick. "He did a good job. He got his hands on a lot of balls. He made it hard on our offense.

"I think every player that's active, they're in the mix. If they're active for the game, then you have some role in the game. Whether that materializes or not, that depends on the situations in the game. Anybody that's active for the game, we have confidence putting them in the game. They have a role, and we expect them to do well, if they're inserted in that role."

Butler hopes that his successful week of practice pays off, and earns him some more playing time on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

After all, he is the Dirty Show champ.

"I'm always ready," said Butler. "I go out and practice every day like I'm going to be a starter. You never know what happens, if it's a game plan thing or an injury thing, or anything. You can be thrown in there, in the mix anytime."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

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. 

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.