NFL scouts, coaches attend BC pro day


NFL scouts, coaches attend BC pro day

Mark Herzlich just wants to keep playing.

The Boston College linebacker missed the 2009 season while he battled Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. He returned, cancer free, for his final season in 2010, and now he's looking to continue his football career in the NFL.

Herzlich was one of several players from New England-area schools who worked out for NFL coaches and scouts at B.C.'s pro day.

"No one's guaranteed to get drafted," said Herzlich, who is expected to be taken in the later rounds of the NFL Draft. "No one's guaranteed to play football. It's kind of like recess in elementary school. They say it's a privilege to get to recess.

"Being able to work as an NFL football player, that's a privilege. Football's been a great thing and a great privilege to play, and if I get to keep on playing, that's the best thing I could ask for right now."

Also at the workout was B.C. offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo, who could be taken as high as the first round in this year's draft.

"I was talking to a coach the other day and he said, 'Would you be adverse to us drafting you,' " said Castonzo, who started every game during his college career. "I'm like, 'Are you kidding me? I'm not adverse to anybody drafting me.' "

The Patriots had four representatives at the Heights for the workouts, including offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who helped run offensive linemen drills.

Does Butler want to be with Patriots beyond 2017? 'Whatever happens, happens'

Does Butler want to be with Patriots beyond 2017? 'Whatever happens, happens'

FOXBORO -- Malcolm Butler came off of the Gillette Stadium practice field to a gaggle of reporters who had been interested in speaking to him all offseason. There had been speculation not too long ago that he'd be traded. There was speculation he might sign elsewhere as a restrcited free agent.

What he would say on those topics might prove to be informative. People were eager to hear from him. But it was what he didn't say that may have been the most interesting part of his first back-and-forth with reporters since Super Bowl LI.

In the rain, in front of a dozen or more microphones, following his team's third organized team activity practice, Butler was asked if he would like to be in New England beyond the 2017 season, the final year of his contract. 

"Can't predict the future," he said. "Whatever happens, happens."

Butler was given several opportunities to say that he'd like to stick with the Patriots for the long term, but he was non-committal. Though his presence on the roster for this season gives the Patriots a supremely talented cornerback duo, the fact that the team gave Stephon Gilmore a lucrative long-term contract this offseason makes Butler's long-term future in New England a bit hazy.

Playing for a restricted free agent tender worth $3.91 million, Butler was asked if it was difficult to separate the business side of things from his on-field performance.

"Not really," he insisted. "Just gotta come here and just play football. You gotta earn everything you want. Gotta come here, work hard each and every day. Nobody's gonna give you nothing."

He added: "Just gotta keep working. Ignore the noise, and just keep working. No matter what. You got a job to do no matter where you're at. Glad to be here to do this job."

Butler received significant interest from the Saints during the offseason, and he made a trip to New Orleans to visit the organization's facilities there. Unwilling to provide Butler with a big-money contract offer and turn over their first-round pick to the Patriots, the Saints decided to cease in their pursuit of the 27-year-old Super Bowl XLIX hero. 

Butler said he didn't wasn't always sure he was going to be in New England for 2017.

"You never know what's gonna happen, I was just sitting back patiently waiting," he explained. "Just doing what I can do, control only what I can control. I'm here now and that's what it is."

That Butler has been at Patriots workouts and OTA practices since signing his tender is an indication that he's ready to throw himself into the upcoming season with his sights set on performing as well as possible in order to put himself in the best position possible when he's scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency at the end of the year. 

"Wasn't gonna hurt nobody but myself if I missed this," he admitted. "This is extra time to get better, and that's what I'm out here to do. To get better and have another great year. Anything to help the team. Present a positive image."