Former Patriots DB Tom Hennessey passes away

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Former Patriots DB Tom Hennessey passes away

Former Boston Patriots defensive back Tom Hennessey passed away on Sunday, the team reported Monday. He was 70 years old.

From the Patriots press release:
Tommy was a great guy, said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, who was classmates with Hennessey at Brookline High School. He was a football star in high school and college and I can remember being so proud that he rose to the professional level, playing two seasons with the Patriots. As big of an impact as he made on the field, his greatest contributions came off the field. He was a great mentor to so many kids and really dedicated his life to helping others. We are proud that being a Patriot will forever be a part of Tommys legacy. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his many friends.Born February 15, 1936 in Boston, Mass., Hennessey was an all-state football player at Brookline High School and went on to attend Holy Cross, where he was a standout halfback for the Crusaders. In 1963, Hennessey won the Holy Cross Crusader of the Year awardthe most prestigious student-athlete award presented by the Holy Cross Varsity Club for his achievements in football and track and field. Prior to his rookie season with the Patriots, Hennessey played in the Atlantic Coast Football League and was named the leagues top defensive back in 1964. Hennessey joined the Patriots in 1965 and played for two seasons (1965-1966), recording eight interceptions in 28 career games. Hennessey was named the Patriots Rookie of the Year in 1965.Off the field, Hennessey served as a mentor and teacher in a variety of arenas: spending a year as a teacher and physical education instructor at the Jesuit College in Baghdad, teaching and coaching at Brighton (Mass.) High School and serving as an assistant to the Dean of Men at Holy Cross.

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

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It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

When it comes to projecting Rob Gronkowski's health, it's been best to steer clear of absolutes. There have been too many injuries, too many surgeries, to predict exactly how he'll feel months in advance. 

Still, in speaking with ESPN's Cari Champion recently, he said he had "no doubt" he'll be ready for Week 1 of the 2017 regular season. 

"Yes, for sure," he replied when asked if he expected to be good to go. 

Gronkowski also fielded a question about his long-term future in the sit-down. Lately it's been his coach Bill Belichick and his quarterback Tom  Brady who receiver all the life-after-football queries, but Gronkowski, 27, was asked how much longer he'd like to play. 

"I’m not really sure," he said. "I mean, I still love playing the game, and as of right now, I want to play as long as I possibly could play. My mindset is to keep on going."

Gronkowski landed on season-ending injured reserve in December after undergoing a procedure on his back -- his third back surgery since 2009. He's had nine reported surgeries -- including procedures on his knee, forearm and ankle -- since his final year at the University of Arizona.