By Tom E. Curran
FOXBORO - Whoa, wild coincidence! It comes to light today that the Patriots -- the New England Patriots -- have engaged in sideline shenanigans aimed at upsetting opposing coverage. Just like, ya know, the Jets.
Jay Glazer of FOX Sports presented video evidence on the FOX pregame show of the Patriots doing something similar during the Week 2 game between the Jets and Patriots. According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, "Though they werent standing shoulder to shoulder and toe to toe like Sal Alosi and his North Jersey mob, six or seven Pats were up on the edge of the sideline, and one of them appears to try to trip the gunner."Glazer added that the Jets learned of the manuever from a former Patriots practice squad player who signed with the Jets. That could be either former Pats quarterback Kevin O'Connell or linebacker Shawn Crable. The Jets were fined 100,000 for Alosi's act and for special teams coach Mike Westhoff accusing the Patriots of similar deeds. "A number of teams do it," Westhoff said on Chicago radio in mid-December. "There is a pretty good team up north that lines their whole defense up when they do it, so it's something that just kind of happened . . . If you watch them -- their defense when the opponent's punt team is out there -- they're up there pretty close to the line so it looks like they are trying to do it. Now are they doing anything illegal? Are they tripping anybody? Heck no. I'm not saying that. That's not the point. But, yeah, they're lined up there. Is it making a difference? I don't know. I really don't know, because to tell you the truth, before this happened, I never really looked at anybody's sideline in all my years."It's not a huge leap of reason to presume the Jets were - in some way - involved in making sure the video (conclusive or not) saw the light of day.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran
The Patriots and Rob Gronkowski have restructured the tight end’s contract for the coming season, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The reworked deal can bump Gronkowski’s salary for the 2017 season from $5.25 million to $10.75 million, according to Schefter.
Gronkowski was limited by injury to just eight games last season. He had 25 receptions for 540 yards and three touchdowns, all of which were career lows.
The 28-year-old is entering his eighth NFL season since being selected by the Pats in the second round of the 2010 draft. He has played played in at least 15 regular-season games in four of his first seven season, though he’s twice played fewer than 10.
Tuesday’s announcement from Roger Goodell that the NFL is “relaxing” its rules on celebrations is good news for at least one Patriot.
That would be Brandin Cooks, who began celebrating the rule change on Twitter not long after the league made its announcement.
Cooks, whom the Patriots acquired from the Saints this offseason in a trade that sent first and third-round picks to New Orleans, lost his favorite celebration last season when it was made clear that miming archery was off-limits. Josh Norman was fined $10,000 last season for such a celebration.
Following Norman’s fine, Cooks lamented the league’s decision to punish what Cooks had previously done in reference to a Bible verse (Psalms 144:6).
"Send forth lightning and scatter your enemy, and shoot your arrows and rout them," Cooks told the New Orleans Advocate. "I just remember it sticking with me for such a long time, I remember thinking, maybe I can do something with this."
Added Cooks: ”I’ve been doing it for three years now, and there was never a complaint about it. Now, all of a sudden, there is. It just reminds me that, it's almost as if they try to take so much away from us, but for something like this, that means so much to someone that has nothing to do with violence, it's frustrating. I'll definitely continue to speak my opinion about it, and if they have a problem with it, so be it."
When Tuesday’s news emerged, Cooks and former Saints teammate Mark Ingram were quick to react.