Patriots score top marks at NFL Rookie Symposium

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Patriots score top marks at NFL Rookie Symposium

SI.com's "Monday Morning Quarterback" column was written by a different hand this week: Colts rookie tight end Coby Fleener.

Fleener stepped in for a vacationing Peter King to detail the weekend's NFL Rookie Symposium in Canton, Ohio. The Stanford graduate chronicled his time -- what he called "a four-day mini-camp unto itself" -- from a question and answer competition, to a Hall of Fame visit.

The Patriots popped up a few times in Fleener's narrative.

Beginning on Day 1, the rookies were asked eight questions and had 10 seconds to answer each. New England's group took the top spot, winning iPads for the effort. Fleener jokingly asterisked the the first place finish, writing "Further investigation pending." The results were announced Friday.

"After dinner, the "Challenge" results were announced. I have to say that while I was suspicious as to how the Browns got their answers in so quickly, I was equally skeptical of the Patriots' dominance throughout the competition. Either way, I was probably just being a sore loser."

New England special teamer and sometimes-receiver Matthew Slater spoke as part of a players panel. His message made an impression on Fleener.

"Slater talked about his epiphany that not every NFL player will become a star, and how he now does what he can, in his role, to help his team win."

Things got serious on Day 2. A Patriot from the past shared some wisdom with the new kids.

"After a few more skits portraying real life situations, another panel took place consisting of NFL Director of Player Security Services Deana Garner, former linebacker Mike Vrabel and Freeman. The group emphasized taking the proper precautionary steps to avoid getting into troublesome situations."

Saturday marked a trip to the NFL Hall of Fame. One Patriot honoree -- not much older than Fleener -- made his presence felt in a special way.

"Seeing equipment and memorabilia of players such as Tony Gonzalez and Rob Gronkowski from different record-setting moments. Shoes, jerseys and footballs were displayed in cases with information about them on a card nearby. There were a lot more, but (naturally!) I wanted to highlight the tight ends."

Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

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Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

Even for some of the nation's top athletes, confident 20-somethings with the rest of their (perhaps very lucrative) lives ahead of them, there's a feeling you just can't shake when Bill Belichick walks into the room. 

"When you first meet him, you're scared," said Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan, per WBZ. "He's quizzing you. It's like a little test. But after you get done with the test, the quiz or whatever, drawing up the defense, it's pretty cool. They're real down to earth people. Really cool."

Belichick was spotted at Ohio State's pro day getting a closer look at McMillan and his teammates on Thursday. He then headed off to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Wolverines showcase Friday.

During various scouting trips across the country, the Patriots appear to be showing significant interest in the incoming class of linebackers. Belichick spent some extra time with Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham -- who's projected to be a first-rounder -- at his pro day. The team reportedly scheduled a meeting with a speedy linebacker from Cincinnati. And Matt Patricia caught up with Notre Dame linebacker James Onwualu once his workouts finished up on Thursday. 

As for McMillan, the 6-2, 240-pounder was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten choice. He's instinctive, but there's some question as to whether or not he has the strength to hold up inside at the next level.

PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

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PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

Tom E. Curran has Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports as a guest to discuss the Aaron Hernandez double homicide trial. Wetzel has been in the courtroom, and wrote this piece about the day Hernandez’s former friend Alexander Bradley testified in court. 

After speaking with Wetzel, Curran has Tim Rohan of MMQB.com on to discuss his day with ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

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