Patriots host ex-Husky QB Jake Locker

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Patriots host ex-Husky QB Jake Locker

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

Jake Locker-to-the-Patriots is gaining steam. The best quarterback prospect in the country in 2009, who went back to school in 2010 and cost himself, oh, 35 million or so, is reportedly in Foxboro this week to visit with the Patriots. ESPN first reported, and we've confirmed, that the former Washington Husky is in Foxboro this week showcasing his abilities for the Patriots as they contemplate the A.B. Era (After Brady). Wes Bunting at the National Football Postcurrently has Locker going to the Patriots with the 28th overall pick. That could be high given the Patriots' other pressing needsBut Locker is an interesting case, as an ESPN the Magazine piece by Seth Wickersham shows. Twice drafted as a Major League Baseball prospect, he eschewed the draft in 2010 and chose to return to Washington. The Huskies struggled and Locker regressed running head coach Steve Sarkisian's offense in his second year at the controls. Accuracy and a tendency to bolt the pocket with his 4.5 speed are said to be the biggest issues. That development cost Locker millions because the first overall quarterback pick, Sam Bradford, signed a deal with nearly 50 million in guaranteed money. Last quarterback taken by the Patriots? Kevin O'Connell.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

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. 

Gronkowski doesn't think Goodell can visit Gillette: 'The fans are nuts'

Gronkowski doesn't think Goodell can visit Gillette: 'The fans are nuts'

At this point, there may be no getting out of it.

Roger Goodell chose to visit Atlanta twice in as many weeks during its run to a Super Bowl, and in the process he opted not to check in at Gillette Stadium for either the Divisional Round or the AFC title game. But once the Patriots won Super Bowl LI, many felt as though Goodell would simply have no choice but to attend the 2017 regular-season opener in Foxboro. 

There are those who are itching to have him visit. There are those who hope he stays away. In an interview with ESPN, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski didn't put himself in either camp, but he seemed to suggest that it might not be the best idea for the commissioner to show his face in New England.

"To tell you the truth, I really don’t think so," Gronkowski said when asked if Goodell could come back to Foxboro any time soon. "The fans are nuts, they’re wild, and they have the Patriots’ back no matter what. They have Tom’s back. I’m telling you, he won’t get through the highway if the fans saw him. I don’t even think he can even land in the airport in Boston because Patriot fans are the best fans, they’re the most loyal fans. I’m telling you, they might just carry out Roger themselves. They couldn’t even get to the stadium in Foxboro if he landed in Boston."

Goodell hasn't been to Gillette Stadium since Deflategate, but he said during Super Bowl week that he'd be happy to visit if he was invited.