Curran at the Combine: 5 from Day 2

Curran at the Combine: 5 from Day 2

By Tom E. CurranCSNNE.com Patriots Insider

INDIANAPOLIS - For Patriotic purposes, Friday was not a big day news-wise. Running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers made their way through. Two of those positions, the Patriots are normally opposed to spending early picks on (RB and WR). The other spot is set as well. Saturday brings a better crew of prospects for early-round picks when we get the defensive linemen and linebackers coming through. MUM'S THE UNION WORDNFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith held a meeting with agents at which he discussed the rules of engagement for teams and players in the event of a lockout. Two agents who were in the room told me that Smith was tight-lipped about the progress being made in mediated talks in Washington. Smith didn't sound very hopeful, though. In the mid-afternoon he met with reporters outside the Sagamore Ballroom in the Indianapolis Convention Center. He said, "Not gonna talk at all about the session that we have and will continue to have next week. The players? We want to get a deal done and our hope is that we can reach a resolution as quickly as possible. We're 1,800 guys that want to play football and the fans across the country have made it abundantly clear they want to keep seeing football. I know the businesses in America and the people who rely on football for things other than entertainemnt want football and we're right there with them side by side."

He refused to take questions and ignored one asking whether mediation has helped. VERY LESHOURE OF HIMSELF If the Patriots want a running back to complement the styles of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead, they'd have it if they drafted 6-foot, 230-pound Mikel Leshoure from Illinois. Trouble is, Leshoure makes it sound like the Patriots would have to use their 17th pick on him and New England may not wantto do that for a running back."I definitely think I can be the number one back taken. That's my goal" Leshoure said Friday. "I feel like my versatility and the things that I can bring to the table will show a lot of GMs, scouts, and owners that I can be that guy."God bless his confident heart. Wes Bunting at the National Football Post has Leshoure rated second among all running backs behind Alabama's Mark Ingram. Bunting and I spent time talking about Leshoure and some other running back prospects on Friday. Leshoure compares himself to the Rams Steven Jackson. Mel Kiper has Leshoure going to the Patriots with the 28th pick in the first round. The last back the Patriots took with a first-round pick - Laurence Maroney in 2006 - didn't work out so good. But Leshoure is definitely going to be a player to watch in the next two months. FORMER PATRIOT CLASSING IT UPRemember Victor Green? The former Jets safety that spent the 2002 season with the Patriots as part of the Big Nickel experiment? Well, he's in Indy this week covering the Combine for a webite he's started called Class Act Sports. Green, 41,now lives in Atlanta. He worked most recently for the Bucs in 2009 in pro scouting but stepped down in July. "Since then, I've been working to put ClassActSports.com on the map," he explained. "We're a site just like any other in terms of information but we're interviewing former and current players and promoting the positive that they've done."What prompted the idea?"Athletes receive so much negative press. They can be doing 10 things right, but you're hearing about the one thing they've done wrong," said Green. "We don't promote or talk about anything negative anybody has done. We focus on the positive."Was there one instance that caused him to want to start a site like that? "It wasn't one thing," Green explained. "Playing the game for 12 years and being in and around the negative press, I just said, 'This whole world is about negativity. It's time for someone to talk about the positive guys are doing.' "NEWTON DEBUTING SHIRT INNOVATIONAuburn quarterback Cam Newton is expected to speak Saturday at the NFL Combine. The Heisman Trophy winner will have some 'splainin to do after his comment last week that he wants to be an entertainer and an icon. Word is, he may begin his time with the media with a statement trying to address that misstep. Meanwhile, both he and Alabama wideout Julio Jones are Under Armour guys and will be wearing a wild workout shirt called the E39 compression shirt. The shirt itself has the capability to measure speed, g-force, horsepower, heart rate and breathing rate. Little electronic touchpoints on the shirt send the information to a device on the front of the shirt called a BUG. From there, the info can be downloaded onto computers or broadcast over Bluetooth. THE ODD CASE OF JOSH BARRETTLast season, the Patriots plucked a safety named Josh Barrett off of waivers. He'd been released by the Broncos after undergoing season ending surgery on his shoulder and Denver wanted to ultimately put him on injured reserve but the Patriots claimed him. It was somewhat surprising since teams are often hands-off with injured players being waived through to injured reserve. It's a courtesy thing. And the Broncos were then coached by former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. But the Pats flew in the face of convention and, perhaps, good form and took Barrett. On Friday, ESPNBoston's Mike Reiss and Mike Rodak reported that Barrett signed a two-year extension through 2012. He figured to be a restricted free agent in 2011 (whenever that league year begins). He's mainly been a special teams player. He's down to make 725,000 in 2011 and 775,000 in 2012. Best deal for Barrett, though, is he received a 250,000 signing bonus which is guaranteed. Hemust be an awesome rehabilitator.

Bennett says he is 'just chilling' and hasn't given free agency 'a ton of thought'

Bennett says he is 'just chilling' and hasn't given free agency 'a ton of thought'

Will Martellus Bennett be back with the Patriots next season?

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport says it's "a real possibility" Bennett leaves given the asking price and potential offers.

Less than an hour later, the unrestricted free agent sent out a tweet responding to speculation about his future.

Bennett, who will 30 years old in March, had seven touchdowns in 19 games in his first season with the New England Patriots. 

 

Blount on free agency: 'I definitely want to go back to New England'

Blount on free agency: 'I definitely want to go back to New England'

LeGarrette Blount knows where he wants to be for 2017. Ever since he re-joined the Patriots in 2014 following a short stay in Pittsburgh, the 250-pound back has been very open about how he wants to play out the rest of his career in New England. 

Those feelings haven't changed, even as he faces free-agency after having recorded the best season of his seven-year career.

"I just want to make sure that I go to this free agency with an open mind, knowing that I definitely want to go back to New England," he told NFL Total Access on Monday. "I love it there. I love the culture. I love the players. I've become close with a lot of the guys. Obviously you know how my running back group is.

"We'll cross that bridge whenever we cross it. On that point, I feel great. I'm in amazing shape. I feel like I could play 100 more years if I have to."

Blount finished 2016 with career-highs in attempts (299) yards (1,161) and touchowns (18). His ability to help the Patriots close games in the fourth quarter was notable throughout the course of the season, and he was among the most effective goal-line backs in the league. His 18 rushing scores are a franchise record.

Toward the end of the season, as Dion Lewis worked his way back into the Patriots offense, Blount had his workload cut into, and his fumble in the Super Bowl was a near-catastrophic moment -- his devastated reaction to which was caught expertly by NFL Films. But a big-picture view of Blount's year would reveal that he  posted the most prodictive "big back" season the Patriots have had in more than a decade.

Blount signed a one-year deal with the Patriots last offseason after seeing his 2015 prematurely ended by way of a hip injury. He turned 30 in December.