By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
FOXBORO Vince Wilfork expects the struggling New York Jets offense to be better on Sunday for one reason: Nick Mangold.
The All-Pro center who has been out recently with an ankle injury, is expected back in time for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots. But Wilfork wouldn't mind seeing the 6-foot-4, 300-pound center take another week off.
When asked if he wanted to see Mangold play, Wilfork responded, "No. I don't."
Wilfork added, "He's probably one of the best offensive lineman in the game. He's definitely a leader on the team for them. I know they'd love for him to play."
And that may be why Jets head coach Rex Ryan, never one to lack confidence, is pretty sure his team won't have a repeat of last Sunday's 34-17 debacle against Baltimore.
Ryan didn't need to see the video of the loss to the Ravens to realize that not having Mangold in the middle was a significant factor in his team losing for the second week in a row.
"You take out the best center in football -- no offense to (Jets reserve center) Colin Baxter -- but there's only one Nick Mangold in this league," Ryan said. "When he went out, that was a huge loss to us. With Vince (Wilfork) and all those guys, we need Nick."
Added Wilfork: "He gives them a spark. There's absolutely a difference when he's in and not in. I expect for him to be there (on Sunday), get things going and get his team off to a good start."
Mangold was drafted by the Jets with the 29th overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft, the lone center taken in the first round that year.
A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn
Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.
Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.
Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children. He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.
Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.
Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004. He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.
The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993.
In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.
“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”
Phil Perry and Mike Giardi react to Ben Volin's article regarding Tom Brady's future, and whether they think Brady has not been honest about wanting to play into his mid 40's.