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.

When it comes to Gronkowski's restructured deal, 15 is the magic number

When it comes to Gronkowski's restructured deal, 15 is the magic number

Rob Gronkowski's contract looked like one of the NFL's best bargains not too long ago. Now, after agreeing to a contract restructure, he could be paid as the top tight end in the league if he stays healthy.

Granted, it's a gargantuan "if."

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Gronkowski's restructured deal will bump his salary for this upcoming season from $5.25 million to $10.75 million should he hit certain statistical thresholds or be named an All-Pro.

Per Schefter, Gronkowski earns $10.75 million if he plays 90 percent of the offensive snaps (which he's done once before in his career), or makes 80 catches (which he's done twice), or gains 1,200 yards receiving (once), or is named an All-Pro (three times). 

Those seem like lofty goals for the 28-year-old who's entering his eighth year as a pro. But history shows that if he stays on the field for a full season or thereabouts -- 15 games to be specific -- he'll get to where he wants to be. 

If you take out his rookie year, before he had established himself as a go-to option in the Patriots offense, Gronkowski has played in three seasons during which he's reached at least 15 games. In each of those three seasons, he's been named an All-Pro. In 2011, he hit all three statistical markers. In 2014, he hit one. In 2015, he hit none. 

The lesson? When Gronkowski stays relatively healthy throughout a given season, even if he doesn't reach the astronomical statistical heights he reached in his second year, there's a very good chance he's considered the best tight end in the NFL. 

And if that's the case again in 2017, he'll be paid like the best tight end in the NFL.

To hit the second tier of his restructured deal -- which would pay him $8.75 million, per Schefter -- Gronkowski needs to play 80 percent of the offensive snaps (which he's done twice), or make 70 catches (three times), or gain 1,000 receiving yards (three times), or catch 12 touchdowns (twice). 

To hit the third tier of his new deal and get $6.75 million, Gronkowski needs to play 70 percent of the snaps (which he's done four times), or make 60 catches (three times), or gain 800 receiving yards (three times), or score 10 touchdowns (five times). 

According to Spotrac, Jimmy Graham of the Seahawks is currently scheduled to be the tight end position's top earner next season at $10 million. Odds are that if Gronkowski avoids disaster and stays on the field, he'll eclipse that.

But the odds of him staying on the field are what they are: He's played in 15 games in four of seven pro seasons. 

The restructured deal seems to be the ultimate incentive for Gronkowski to get healthy and stay that way following last year's season-ending back surgery. If he can, the Patriots will reap the benefits of having the game's most dynamic offensive weapon on the field, and the player will be paid a far cry from what he was scheduled to make when the week began.

Report: Patriots, Gronkowski restructure contract for 2017 season

Report: Patriots, Gronkowski restructure contract for 2017 season

The Patriots and Rob Gronkowski have restructured the tight end’s contract for the coming season, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. 

The reworked deal can bump Gronkowski’s salary for the 2017 season from $5.25 million to $10.75 million, according to Schefter. 

Gronkowski was limited by injury to just eight games last season. He had 25 receptions for 540 yards and three touchdowns, all of which were career lows. 

The 28-year-old is entering his eighth NFL season since being selected by the Pats in the second round of the 2010 draft. He has played played in at least 15 regular-season games in four of his first seven season, though he’s twice played fewer than 10.