Chung focused on team in contract year

560128.jpg

Chung focused on team in contract year

FOXBORO -- Patrick Chung enters 2012 on the last year of his rookie contract.

Asked Thursday if he's happy to have another season, Chung missed the point.

"Who's not excited for that?" he laughed. "I love playing football. It's always exciting."

The moment provides an interesting glimpse as to his state of mind. It seems Chung is happily absorbed in OTAs, in the immediacy of New England's present moment.

You cant think about that stuff now, he said, once directed to contract talk. Thats when you make mistakes. Youve got to go into every season like everything is the same and nothing has changed.

Every year is the same. Youve got to ball out, regardless if its year one to year four. Youve got to play hard. Im not really worried about it.

So money isn't on the man's mind? Yeah, right. Any athlete would be a fool not to consider his future. It's just that Chung has plenty else to consider in the here and now.

More responsibility in a leadership role, for one thing.

"Coaches on the sideline give us information; youve got to have someone to relay it out there. I have to take charge and be mentally prepared," he said. "Everybody is physical, fast, strong, big, but the smarter guy always wins. So Im trying to be smarter than everybody."

Second round pick Tavon Wilson will need schooling at safety. Offseason acquisition Steve Gregory is a seven-year veteran, but new to the Patriots system. And there are other changes -- more vets, more pups -- to the rest of what was a much-maligned secondary last season.

We all help each other. Regardless of who is safety or whos at corner. If CB Devin McCourty sees something I dont see, hell tell me. If I see something that he doesnt see, Ill tell him. Its kind of like a brotherhood, youre going to tell your brothers what your going to tell them, whether its bad or its good."

There was too much of the bad, too much inconsistency overall last year. Beyond the group's struggles, Chung's personal development was derailed by a foot injury that forced him to miss half the regular season.

He said he's put it all -- Super Bowl disappointment included -- behind him.

The offseason is the offseason. You get out of it, but youre ready to get back into it. Im glad to be back with my boys. Its time to play some ball.

This is an important year for the Patriots safety. In more ways than one.

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.”