Reed's preference is to remain a Raven

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Reed's preference is to remain a Raven

NEW ORLEANS - Earlier this week, Ravens safety Ed Reed caused stirring when he said he'd like to play for Bill Belichick.
Reed said Thursday he meant that hypothetically, not as an intention.
"I was asked, would I play for BillBelichick? Yes. What football players wouldnt play for Coach Belichick? Will I be in New England? Most likely not," explained Reed. "Its just terrible that people get half the story. Itseven more bad when you hear the comments that they make towards you. But itcomes with it, man."Reed will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. The five-time All-Pro turns 35 next September. He's long been the gold standard for safety play in the mind of Belichick. So much so that quarterback Tom Brady has said Belichick acts like he wants to adopt Reed and change his name to Ed Belichick.
The Patriots play in the secondary improved in the latter half of 2012 but they're still sketchy back there. Reed's experience, if he ever did entertain a move to New England, would aid Devin McCourty immeasurably as McCourty makes the move to safety.
"I gotta lot of years in me," Reed told me Thursday. "I dont want to play till Im40. I always said my mark in the NFL is 35. I always said that if I feel I couldplay more, I would so Ive been doing a great job with my doctor. Since about twoor three years ago, since I had (hip) surgery thats the worst thing that reallyhit me. When I had the hip surgery thats when I really started to think aboutthings and I really felt better this year than the last two."One of the things that makes Reed so good is his ability to disguise his intentions and bait quarterbacks then make up ground. Does he still have the speed to do that?
"I can still cover ground with the best of them," Reed promised. "Im notgoing to say I can do it better than any other safety because we all havedifferent attributes that we bring to the table. But theres a reason why ... people dont throw my way, man. I still get that respecton the football field I can still play this game and when I cant, trust me,youll know." How will his decision-making unfold once he becomes a free agent?
"I take my time this offseason just like I did last offseasonand every offseason going forward," he said. "Its not a circus, its just me taking mytime, working out, always getting ready. If I get to August and I feel like Imin shape and I dont want to play, I wont do it. Thats not to any fan or anyorganization, but its me and my family and my body and how I feel. Im prettysure Ozzie and them will let us enjoy this season. Once we get everythingsituated Im sure well be talking. However long that process goes, we willknow." His first choice, though, is to remain a thorn in the Patriots' side.
"I always said when I came into the league and gotdrafted that I didnt want to be one of those guys jumping from team to team," hesaid. "If it was up to me, I would be right in Baltimore.If it happens to be somewhere else, I can play football on the moon.

Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

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Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

FOXBORO -- After starting the offseason "five weeks behind," as Bill Belichick put it, the Patriots have caught up. 

"I think we’re probably caught up to where we are now," he said before Thursday's OTA practice at Gillette Stadium. "I think it’s being behind in draft, free agency and that type of thing.

"I think at this point, we’re ready for OTAs. We’ll be ready for training camp. I think that part of it we’ll be on schedule on. It’s the catching up on all the spring projects, draft and free agency. It’s the initial part of it."

Belichick made headlines on the morning after winning his fifth Lombardi Trophy with the Patriots when he said, "As of today, and as great as today feels and as great as today is, in all honesty we're five weeks behind in the 2017 season to most teams in the league. Fortunately we have a great personnel staff

"Look, in a couple weeks we're going to be looking at the combine, obviously the draft, all-star games have already occurred, and in a month we're into free agency, not to mention all the internal Patriots players (whose) contracts are up and we're going to have to work with in some form or fashion like every team in the league does."

Leaning on evaluations of players that began in the build-up to previous drafts, Belichick and his staff opted to trade away some of this year's draft capital for veterans like Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy and Dwayne Allen. They also gave up their fifth-rounder to sign restricted free agent Mike Gillislee.

Before heading out to the team's third practice of the week -- the first week the Patriots were allowed to introduce helmets and run offense versus defense periods -- Belichick said that part of his focus will be spent on finding out how those players he picked up this offseason are progressing.

"Yeah, that’s definitely part of it," he said. "Seeing the new players, how they’re doing and also how they’re doing relevant to the rest of the other players that I’m a little more familiar with. Again, each year is a new year, so even though we’ve seen some of these guys multiple years, it’s still starting all over again, seeing where they are, how they’re progressing in their training and preparation for the season."

Brandin Cooks knows he'll still probably have to stash the arrows in 2017

Brandin Cooks knows he'll still probably have to stash the arrows in 2017

FOXBORO -- Toward the end of Thursday's OTA practice at Gillette Stadium, Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks caught a touchdown from Tom Brady in the back corner of the end zone despite close coverage from corner Malcolm Butler. Cooks reached behind him, as if he was pulling an invisible arrow from an invisible quiver on his back, starting what was once his signature touchdown celebration. 

But he stopped there. 

"I didn't want to shoot it," he said with a smile after the workout. "Just having fun out there with the guys, competing every day. That's what it's all about."

Cooks may have to continue showing restraint during the regular season when it comes to his post-touchdown choices. Even though the NFL has eased off of the penalties for certain celebrations, Cooks still probably won't be shooting any arrows in 2017.

"No, I'm gonna be respectful," he said. "If it's a penalty, it's a penalty. I'm not going to do anything to hurt the team . . . I think it still will be [a penalty]."

Cooks was not able to execute his preferred celebration after it was made clear last season that imitating archery was off-limits. Josh Norman was fined $10,000 last season for his bow-and-arrow act. 

There is a biblical origin story to Cooks' celebration, he told the New Orleans Advocate last year. 

"Send forth lightning and scatter your enemy, and shoot your arrows and rout them," Cooks said, referring to Psalms 144:6. "I just remember it sticking with me for such a long time, I remember thinking, maybe I can do something with this."

He added: ”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."

After the NFL announced that it was relaxing its policy on penalizing celebrations, Cooks tweeted "#shootyourarrows" four times with several bow-and-arrow emojis. But just a few days later, he appeared resigned to keeping his celebration in moth balls so that his team wouldn't be penalized for an act that the league might deem "threatening." He wasn't thrilled.

"It's for God," he said, "so if that's threatening, then I think we've got a problem."