Gostkowski's ready to roll on his quad again

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Gostkowski's ready to roll on his quad again

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - Stephen Gostkowski's 2010 season ended on November 7 in Cleveland. It was after that game that the former Pro Bowler's right thigh hurt so much that he was sent for an MRI. The result -- his quad was torn away from the bone -- was the kind of news that makes a kicker's breath catch. "I've never been hurt from any sport before where I had to miss time," Gostkowski said Thursday at Gillette Stadium where he was attending a charity event. "Something so serious where it was my kicking leg -- I can't kick with another leg -- it was worrisome at first but I am doing well... I'm kicking just as well as I would this time of the year as I would any other year and I feel good about it." Gostkowski has been working outin Tennessee with Ravens long snapper Morgan Cox, a player whose 2010 season was cut short by a torn ACL. Gostkowski said the two have formed a nice rehab support system for each other. "Each week it keeps getting better and better and better," Gostkowski said. "I'm very happy with where I'm at right now. I'm just going to work hard to be ready by camp. It's good, it's encouraging. I've managed to stay positive throughout the whole process."Gostkowski sounds as if he's gone with the appropriate caution in coming back, despite not being able to see the Patriots training staff. "It's been a slow progression," he explained. "Like a pitcher playing toss, then he's playing long toss, then he's throwing off the mound, so it's been a slow progression over the last couple of months. Little baby steps. The fear of reinjuring or hurting myself while I (train) is completely out the window. It's just encouraging to feel better each week. As long as I don't overdo it and am smart about it (things should be fine) because we still have a long way to go until camp." On that front, Gostkowski doesn't sound like he's keeping himself actively in the loop. "I'm just itching to get back at it," he said. "Whenever this stuff resolves, it resolves and we'll be back and it'll be all normal again. I'm just going to wait until that happens and not worry about anything until it does."

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Mike Giardi: Don’t think Patriots will use franchise tag on Dont'a Hightower

Mike Giardi: Don’t think Patriots will use franchise tag on Dont'a Hightower

Mike Giardi discusses the odds that the New England Patriots franchise tag Dont'a Hightower and what he expects the Pats to get if they were to trade Jimmy Garoppolo.

Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

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Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

PHOENIX - The Arizona Cardinals, in an anticipated move, have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on outside linebacker Chandler Jones after failing to reach a long-term deal with the player.

The non-exclusive tag allows the Cardinals to continue negotiating with Jones through July 15. If another team makes him an offer, Arizona can either match it or receive two first-round draft picks.

It's unlikely that any team would express interest in Jones, however, given what it would cost.

Under the franchise tag, Jones would receive about $15 million for the coming season.

Acquired in a trade with New England a year ago, Jones had 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss last season

Jones has 25 1-2 sacks over the past two seasons, third-most in the NFL over that span.

The Cardinals' move came two days before the NFL deadline for making franchise designations.

It also came on Jones' 27th birthday, prompting teammate David Johnson to tweet "Happy BDay to `The Man,' `Mr. Franchise' himself.....The one and only."

The franchise tag move came as no surprise.

Club President Michael Bidwill has stated all along that Jones would not be going anywhere, that the team didn't make the trade - sending guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round draft pick to New England - to keep him just for one season.

"We're not going to mess around with that," Bidwill said in a recent interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. "He's a great pass rusher, but if we can't agree to terms that work for us, we're just going to franchise him, and his people know that."

Jones immediately upgraded what had been an average Cardinals pass rush at best. His fellow outside linebacker Markus Golden had 12 1-2 sacks and seven tackles for loss. Together they form one of the better outside pass rush combinations in the NFL.

By all accounts, the contract talks with Jones have been cordial and Jones has said he wants to stay in Arizona.

"I love it here," he said near the end of last season. "I love the vibe that the people give off and I can see myself being here for a long time."

Chandler heads a long list of free agents that the Cardinals must either re-sign or let go. That group includes starters defensive tackle Calais Campbell, safety Tony Jefferson and inside linebacker Kevin Minter.