Edelman so far trying to make it as a receiver


Edelman so far trying to make it as a receiver

FOXBORO -- After six OTA sessions, Julian Edelman hasn't worked one minute with the defense. He said as much on Thursday after a few hours worth of work.

This is a player who split snaps evenly -- 27 all -- as a receiver and defensive back in last year's AFC Championship game. But any further probing about whether Edelman will be lugging around one playbook or two in 2012 was deferred.

"You'd have to ask Coach Belichick on that. I'm pretty sure that's his cup of tea," he said.

"All I can do is just worry on trying to learn the receiver position and whatever they want me to do on every other phase of the game."

Edelman is currently one of 11 learning the Patriots receiver position.

And this year, it's not just the likes of Tiquan Underwood and Chad Ochocinco he has to contend with. In addition to two rookie unknowns, the Patriots brought in a few guys with long resumes -- Jabar Gaffney, Brandon Lloyd, and Donte' Stallworth.

"That's part of this business; every year I've been here there's been pretty high competition at every position," Edelman said. "I think it makes guys better when you're competing. If you're afraid to compete here, I'm pretty sure you're going to be gone."

His approach is constructive.

"They're vets; they've been proven and they know what they're doing. It's great to learn from them and see how they do things. And it's great to just come in and see how we can become a cohesive unit and everything.

"It's definitely fun to watch and learn. I was a Brandon Lloyd fan when he was a 49er back when I was a little kid." At that, a smile spread over Edelman's face. "That tells you how many years he's been around."

Where he lacks experience, he has versatility -- and not just with defense. Edelman is a valuable special teamer, working on both kick and punt return teams.

Great for a player whose coach preaches, "The more you can do," right?

Edelman isn't banking on it.

"It's a receiver competition, I don't know how being a punt returner has to do with that. I'm just trying to become a better receiver right now."

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.”