Pass's FB thoughts relevant to current roster battle


Pass's FB thoughts relevant to current roster battle

Former Patriots fullback Patrick Pass spoke with media at the Central Maine Youth Football Clinic this past weekend.

His words about his role on New England's 2000-2006 rosters were interesting -- in consideration of the current team.

"It's more of a dinosaur position now," he said of fullback. "You go back in the day, we were watching guys like Tom Rathman (who played fullback for the 49ers) and (former Charger) Lorenzo Neal. Those were bruisers then. Now you've got these hybrid tight end-fullbacks. Guys that are a lot bigger than a normal fullback, but can still run and catch the ball out of the backfield."

See the intrigue? The Patriots currently have three dinosaurs in their employ: Spencer Larsen, Tony Fiammetta, and Eric Kettani.

Though Bill Belichick said during mini-camp there's a chance the team could carry a traditional fullback, he added that the trio will probably engage in "crossover" competition (in relation to linebackers, tight ends, running backs, the kicking game) during training camp.

Larsen -- famed for starting an NFL game both at linebacker and fullback -- is certainly versatile. Fiammetta helped open up Dallas' running game last season (when healthy) as lead blocker. And Kettani? Belichick calls the Naval Academy graduate an "unknown quantity."

But for all three, that old Patriots mantra of, "The more you can do," is key. Just like when Pass was playing.

"I didn't really have a defined position," he said. "I did it all, receiver, running back, fullback, whatever I needed to do on the field, that's what I was going for."

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

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.”