Curran's Dallas diary: Monday in Big D


Curran's Dallas diary: Monday in Big D

By Tom E. Curran
DALLAS - I just beat the snot out of a story about the massive impact Twitter has and will continue to have on the NFL. Now, as promised, a few thoughts on how my second day in Big D went. There was no access to either team until 1:30 p.m. Central (still haven't had a time change mishap, yay me!), so I hit the media center at 9 a.m. and got to working on that Twitter story and banged out a "5 Things" column.

List columns kick the ass off of the Internet. They're easy to navigate for the reader and - ideally - they let the reader know they'll be in and out quick. That's the way they're supposed to work. Mine didn't. I prattled on too long with the first two points and ran out of time because I wandered around doing reporting for the other story, had committed to doing Jim Rome at noon and needed to get to the Steelers hotel in Fort Worth. So the 5 became 3. One thing I like to do at the Super Bowl is work a day ahead. Collect the stuff you're writing about on Tuesday on Monday. There was little collecting I could do Sunday, so I was left scrambling Monday. Meh. You'll get your 5 Tuesday. Thank God my editor rolls with my inefficiency. I was set to leave at 12:30 but needed to put out a fire on the homefront via telephone so my departure didn't come until closer to 1 p.m. No crisis. I still was able to get LaMarr Woodley on his LOLing at the Packers team picture dustup. Not without some serious effort though. The media sessions at the team hotels are an hour long. In trying to get Woodley, I moved to the side of his staging area. There's no rhyme or reason to getting your question asked and answered. You just have to start asking it and hope the player turns your way to signify he's taking yours. Off to the side, I was having no success. Meanwhile, Ian Rapoport from the Boston Herald had a solid spot up front and asked Woodley a handful ofgood questions about the 3-4 scheme. At the end of each Woodley answered, I'd start with the first few words of my question, but he'd look elsewhere. Rap and I exchanged "what can you do" looks. He knew what I was trying to do. Then Rap launched in with a couple more questions, cutting me off to get his in. And I got the feeling Woodley was icing me because I was saying "twitter." I was pissed at Rap for not yielding to me and Woodley for not hooking me up. Eventually, I squeezed in up front and got the question in. Then I went to find Rap and told him that's why he drives me batcrap sometimes. You gotta work together out here sometimes, even if your local competitors. At least that's the way I operate with people I know. Whatever. I got a blog entry out of one of Rap's questions and got over to Ben Roethlisberger as he was finishing up his session. Pre-2010 his reputation for dealing with the media was poor. He didn't engage, was the rap. But he's made an effort to change since his suspension and PR beatdown after last offseason. Having gotten there late, I didn't get my question in so I figured I'd take a crack at his newfound personability and caught him as he walked from the podium to the door leading out of the ballroom. It was a walk-and-talk, but he answered my question about his place among elite quarterbacks and wasn't pleasant enough about it. After finishing with the Steelers, I had to go to Arlington to get ready for a SportsNet Central hit we were taping. Carolyn Manno and I talked some Big Ben and Steelers experience. Then I adjourned to the Sheraton next to the Arlington Conference Center where we taped the hit (with the Jerry Jones Taj Mahal in the background) and did some more work on the Twitter story. At 5:30 Central, I pulled up stakes there and went back to the Dallas Sheraton where the media center is and where I'm staying. (Remember, 1,840 rooms? Read Sunday's missive.) I'm a big-time napper. Legendary. And I knew I was a bag of crap at that point and needed a 30-minute snorefest. So I got that in, woke up, called home, got the day's report from my three boys and my wife then went downstairs to finish up the Twitter story. So now it's almost 11 out here and I haven't eaten any dinner. That needs addressing. Tomorrow, we have media day at the stadium. It's a clusterfudge but you know that going in, so you roll with it. Then I have TV again out in Arlington so I'll probably post up in that Sheraton lobby again and get my work done. Tomorrow night we got the annual media party at the Hard Rock here in Dallas. It's supposed to be a BBQ fest. A friend of mine from down here told me all about it. If I remember, I'll tell you an absolutely hysterical story about this guy (no names) that will make you shake your head off your neck. But now . . . we eat. Check in tomorrow. BEFORE the media thingy. Check out Sunday's entry here.
Tom E. Curran canbe reached at Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

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.

Garoppolo's mom keeps him apprised of trade rumors: 'She's all over that stuff'

Garoppolo's mom keeps him apprised of trade rumors: 'She's all over that stuff'

Jimmy Garoppolo can't help but hear trade rumors that involve his name. He heard all about them during the week leading up to the Super Bowl. Now his mom's keeping him up to date. 

"My mom loves telling me the news updates," Garoppolo told ESPN's Adam Schefter, "so she’s all over that stuff, but it’s been working really well . . . 

"I’m telling you, she could be your assistant. She’s all over the place. Her and my dad on Twitter and stuff like that. I don’t even think they know how to tweet, but they always have something going on . . .

"They know what to hit me with and what to keep quiet. They know me so well that they know what I’d like to hear and what I don’t need to hear. There’s a couple slip-ups here and there, I’m not going to lie to you, but they’re just so excited about it. It’s an exciting time, and they’re loving it."

Garoppolo tried his best to deflect questions about his future as he prepared for Super Bowl LI, but he could only insulate himself so much from those conversations. After six quarters of well-played football, he's chummed the waters for quarterback-starved franchises. As the draft nears, offers are expected to hit the Gillette Stadium offices, and it will be up to Bill Belichick and his staff to determine whether they should part ways with Tom Brady's backup. 

Schefter asked Garoppolo about one team in particular that could be interested: the Chicago Bears. Their general manager Ryan Pace is an Eastern Illinois alum, like Garoppolo, and Garoppolo is a Chicago-area kid. 

"I get asked about [that possibility] all the time from my friends and family back in Chicago," Garoppolo said. "They’re good reporters, my family. But I keep telling them I really don’t know how it would feel until . . . if it was to happen, I wouldn’t know how I’d feel until it did, you know? So it’s kind of one of those things, it’s hard to say right now."

Garoppolo added: "For the most part I am just trying to stay level-headed, trying not to think about it, over think it too much because at the end of the day I am still under contract. It is not my decision if I get traded or if I don’t, so I am just trying to take it all in stride. At the end of the day, you just have to enjoy it. The NFL, it is a hard place to be, hard place to succeed and when you get an opportunity you have to go and take advantage of it."

The idea of getting an opportunity, though, is an enticing one. Before the 2016 season, Garoppolo was very open about how he looked forward to his opportunity to start with Brady suspended for the first four weeks of the season. And with Schefter, he acknowledged that there are times when it's hard not to be impatient when you're the guy behind the guy.

"There’s times," Garoppolo said. "Obviously the kickoff happens and you are ready to roll. The juices get flowing again. You get the adrenaline, the butterflies. It’s football, you have to love the atmosphere . . . 

"We all play the game. We all want to be out there on the field and get an opportunity to play. I guess we will cross that bridge when we get there is probably the best way to put it. We’re competitors at the end of the day. We want to be out there, I want to be out there competing and playing with my teammates.”