Dowling says he's 100 percent

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Dowling says he's 100 percent

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Its safe to say that Ras-I Dowling wont be participatingin the same off-the-field activities as Nate Solder.

The Patriots selected Dowling with the 33rd overall pick onFriday the first pick in the second round and in his post-selectionconference call, the cornerback from Virginia described himself as a strongbeliever in Jesus Christ who enjoyed going to church and reading the Bible inhis spare time.

Thats somewhat different from the hobbies of New Englandsfirst-round selection, Nate Solder, who enjoyed hunting in his free time.

But similar to Solder, Dowling is thrilled to have beendrafted by the Patriots, and said hes willing to do whatever the team needshim to do, in order to win.

I was just rejoicing with my family that this opportunitycame to me, said Dowling from his home in Chesapeake, Virginia. I reallywasnt surprised, because I believe in my abilities.

Im just really happy it was the Patriots, he said. Itsa great organization, and Im just happy to be there.

Dowling said he had no pre-draft visit with anyone from thePatriots organization. In fact, the only pre-draft contact he had, was at thecombine, the same way he spoke with other teams.

He also said that he had no experience manning the slot orplaying safety in college, but did believe special teams was an important partof his game.

Thats one aspect every team needs to win a game, he said.

Dowlings father named him after the professional boxer,Livingstone Bramble, who later changed his name to Ras-I. But the 6-foot-1,198-pound cornerback couldnt dodge the punches that are the injury concernssurrounding his name.

Dowling played only five games during his senior season atthe University of Virginia, thanks to several leg injuries. In his conferencecall on Friday, he said hes been 100 percent for a while.

Im feeling great, said Dowling. Im 100 percent. If wehad camp tomorrow, Id be ready to go.

Im just a strong believer in Jesus Christ, and just havingmy faith, he added about how he deals with injuries. Whenever my time is up,hes going to lift me up in his glory.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

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.