Gronkowski: I felt like it was a clean block

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Gronkowski: I felt like it was a clean block

FOXBORO -- The Patriots had the game won. Or at least it appeared that way.

With just under a minute left in the fourth quarter and the Patriots down 20-18, Danny Woodhead scampered into the end zone untouched for what looked like a 30-yard touchdown run.

But almost immediately, instead of celebrating, Tom Brady's hands went to the top of his helmet. Something was wrong. There were flags on the field. The play was coming back.

Rob Gronkowski was called for holding as Woodhead was headed toward the goal line. The touchdown was nullified.

After the call was announced, Gronkowski was demonstrably upset with the officials. He maintained his innocence in the Patriots locker room after the game.

"I felt like it was a clean block," Gronkowski said. "My hands were right inside. I gotta look at the film. You guys saw it, too. You guys probably saw a replay so you can tell me if my hands were outside or not."

The Patriots were back within field goal range after a 12-yard pass to Wes Welker. But after another Gronkowski penalty -- this time it was a false start -- and two knees, the Patriots were backed up to the Arizona 24 yard line.

Stephen Gostkowski missed the ensuing potential game-winning kick, and the Patriots walked off with their first loss in a home-opener since 2001.

"It's frustrating," Gronkowski said of his penalties. "You saw me out there. They were not good. You can't have penalties."

BYU's Harvey Langi ready to prove why Patriots showed him the money

BYU's Harvey Langi ready to prove why Patriots showed him the money

FOXBORO -- Harvey Langi played multiple positions across multiple colleges. Bill Belichick made sure the undrafted linebacker’s next move was to New England. 

After the Patriots made just four draft picks, they gave the BYU product a contract that guaranteed $100,000 of his base salary along with a $15,000 signing bonus; by comparison, most of the Patriots’ undrafted free agent signings this offseason have gotten guarantees of around $20,000 or less. 

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Since the Patriots paid Langi like a draft pick -- basically like a fifth-rounder -- why didn’t they just draft him? They had the opportunity, as they entered the final two rounds with a sixth-round pick and a seventh remaining. They packaged both to move up in the sixth and take UCLA tackle Conor McDermott, ending their draft.

Seeing the Patriots finish picking early must have been disheartening for Langi, as New England had shown ample interest in him ahead of the draft. Then again, there’s more than one way to guarantee you get the player, and the Pats did that with Langi’s contract. 

“With all that, it’s in the past now,” Langi said this week. “They showed interest. I was, of course, interested in anyone and everyone, but when the Patriots were looking at me, I was super pumped because of the program that is run here. It was awesome.”

A native of South Jordan, Utah, Langi landed at BYU after beginning his college career as a running back for the University of Utah. While at Utah, Langi ran for 70 yards on 13 careers. Following his transfer to BYU, Langi moved around positionally, but was primarily a linebacker and defensive end. He continued to see reps as a running back, rushing for two touchdowns last season as a senior. 

As far as his candidacy for the NFL goes, the 6-foot-2, 251-pounder looks to be best cut-out for linebacker. Specifically, an NFC West scout said that BYU did him a “real disservice” by playing him on the edge and that he should be used at middle linebacker. As a senior, he had 57 tackles, five for a loss and two sacks.  

Langi will have company in the middle, but that’s where being an undrafted player comes in. There is no immediate pressure for him to be any sort of game-breaker, but if he can use his athleticism to make the 53-man roster as a special-teamer and one of Dont’a Hightower’s backups, he’ll have the opportunity to try to develop into someone worthy of defensive snaps. 

For now, it’s a new start for Langi, but one he feels could be the start of something promising. 

“Those first steps are just steps,” Langi said. “That’s what I’m trying to do, is just keep taking more steps. When I did take a step in the building, the feeling was just like, ‘Gosh.’ Ever since you’ve been a kid, this program and how coach runs his program and how everything is done here in New England, it was an amazing feeling walking through those doors, for sure. Surreal.” 
 

Belichick makes surprise address at NCAA lacrosse banquet

Belichick makes surprise address at NCAA lacrosse banquet

It's been well-established that Bill Belichick has a strong affinity for the sport of lacrosse. That the NCAA Division I men's and women's lacrosse Final Fours are taking place at Gillette Stadium this weekend means that the Patriots head coach has an opportunity to be around the highest level of college competition the sport has to offer. 

And he's taking full advantage. 

Not only did he meet with and speak to the Boston College women's team on Thursday, he's also met with the Ohio State men's team, and he took a few minutes to speak to all eight finalists at the Division I lacrosse banquet on Thursday night before the weekend of play got underway.

"I know that for us, fortunately, we've been to a lot of these games, and we've come out on the good side on some and not on the good side on others," Belichick said. "But just the experience, the competition of playing at this level and playing against this type of competition for what's at stake this weekend, it's just an awesome experience for you and your families."

Belichick explained that he had seen all eight teams play at one point or another this year, and he sounded like a fan of them all as he closed his remarks.

"It's really exciting to watch," he said. "You guys play with a lot of class, a lot of heart, a lot of toughness, and that's what I admire. Hopefully, we can play like that this coming year."