Haynesworth: 'I just wanted to play more'

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Haynesworth: 'I just wanted to play more'

Albert Haynesworth met with the Tampa Bay media for the first time on Thursday, and while he praised Bill Belichick and the Patriots "system," he indicated that he didn't think he was used properly in New England.

Coach Bill Belichick is a great guy and its a great system, but I just wanted to play more, said Haynesworth, who was picked up off of waivers by the Bucs on Wednesday. I wanted to practice more, get more reps and the more plays I got the better I would get. I just wasnt getting a lot of reps, so they made the decision and let me go.

Haynesworth doesn't exactly have a reputation for playing hard all the time, which makes his plea for more playing time somewhat unbelievable. In fact, he hasn't even always trusted himself to be fully dedicated to football. On Thursday, he said he should've signed with Tampa in 2009, but he thought the mix of good weather and fast boats would have been unhealthy for his career. He signed with Washington instead and managed to cripple his reputation even without the beaches and the boats.

He did have contract incentives to play as much as possible in New England, though, and his attitude seemed to have changed for the better with the Patriots as compared to how he acted while with the Redskins. Regardless, the Bucs know they picked up a player with plenty of baggage.

Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik was asked by Albert Breer of NFL.com if Haynesworth had a short leash with his new team.

Sure it is, Dominik said. He does have history, of course. But at the end of the day, you talk to anyone in the NFL, week to week, and you know you can be the hero one week, and be the villain the next. Its tough for any player under that scrutiny. But thats the nature of our business. Hes gonna have a shorter leash, but if hes prepared and ready to play, hell play.

In fact, Dominik liked what he saw from Haynesworth in the six games he played for New England.

I saw disruption, Dominik said. I saw strength, a finisher, a guy with the ability to put a lot of pressure on an offense. Hes still able to be a penetrating force. He can hit it and go. I didnt see as much dogging it, but I did see the last play, where he played a 1-gap technique, and I can see why it got them frustrated. He opened up the run lane, and Brandon Jacobs walked in the end zone. That said, I didnt see a guy that didnt care. He battled and competed. I think hes worthy of an opportunity.

Haynesworth was asked about that play in the third quarter of last week's Patriots loss to the Giants. He was tossed aside like a 350-pound rag doll by the Giants guard David Diehl, but Haynesworth insists he hadn't given up on the play.

To me, any time youre on the football field youve got another guy trying to knock your head off. Youre not going to play? Thats just not me, Haynesworth said. Thats why I always play hard because Im my kids role model and I just want to fight and to show them to always keep fighting no matter what it is.

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.