Tarpinian the latest undrafted to make it through

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Tarpinian the latest undrafted to make it through

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
Believe it or not, Jeff Tarpinian's got big shoes to fill. The undrafted rookie free agent who made the Patriots roster as a linebacker over the weekend is the latest in an impressive line of Patriots to enter without fanfare and stick. Dane Fletcher, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Brian Hoyerand Gary Guyton are all players the Patriots latched onto after they'd been passed over in the draft. Each is a valuable part of the 2011 team. Others on the roster -- Wes Welker, Kyle Arrington, Brian Hoyer and Leigh Bodden -- stuck with other teams before coming to New England. Injuries marred the college career of the converted safety. But the recommendation of Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz, a longtime confidante of Bill Belichick and father of Patriots' tight ends coach Brian Ferenta, and a terrific pro day vaulted Tarpinian onto the Patriots radar. Patriots personnel man Nick Caserio discussed Tarpinian on Tuesday. "He's smart, tough instinctive," said Caserio. "He runs well, he wasaround the football quite a bit in college. He has a lot of attributes that are positive. Wewould have liked to see him on the field a little bit more but those are some of the things we liked."If he had been on the field a little more he may not have been undrafted. And, perhaps if he hadn't had to show resilience and mental toughness in battling through college injuries, he may not have done as well in training camp. There's no denying that undrafted players bring a "whatever it takes" mentality to the NFL. "There's a lot of players in that situation," Caserio said of the undrafteds. "In the end, regardless of where they come from, every player is given the same chance and same opportunity. What they do with it is up to them . . . Some make the most of their opportunities; others don't."Tarpinian has set himself up. That's all. He's in the survivor pool. And that's more than can be said of plenty of guys who didn't survive the weekend.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Cyrus Jones: 'I'll never take credit for something I don't feel I contributed to'

Cyrus Jones: 'I'll never take credit for something I don't feel I contributed to'

It was a tough rookie season for Cyrus Jones after being selected by the New England Patriots in the second round of the the 2016 NFL Draft.

Despite struggling in the return game all season and being inactive for the playoffs, Jones will forever the labeled as a "Super Bowl Champion" after his team's victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

But you won't hear Jones bragging about the victory.

"I'll never take credit for something I don't feel I contributed to," Jones told Childs Walker of the The Baltimore Sun. "I was part of the team, but I didn't feel a part of it."

The 23-year-old rookie played in 10 games for the Patriots, seeing 147 snaps on defense. But his struggles in the return game were a talking point for most of the season after he came in with such high expectations as a returner out of Alabama. 

"Honestly, it was hell for me," he explained. "That's the only way I can describe it. I didn't feel I deserved to be part of anything that was happening with the team. I felt embarrassed that these people probably thought they wasted a pick on me."

Jones has already turned the page on his rookie season saying, there's "no such thing as an offseason" because he "didn't earn it."

Robert Kraft profiled on this week's 'Real Sports' on HBO

Robert Kraft profiled on this week's 'Real Sports' on HBO

Robert Kraft is a bit taken aback when he walks into a room at Gillette Stadium and sees the Patriots' five Lombardi trophies lined up.

"Wow. That's the first time I've seen five trophies there," he tells Andrea Kremer on HBO's "Real Sports" in a interview that will air as part of this week's episode Tuesday at 10 p.m.

"A lot of people have their big dreams and get knocked down and don't have things go their way," Kraft says, "And you never give up hope and you really just hold on to it. Hard work and perserverance. You just keep getting up and getting up and then you get that breakthrough. I think that's what happened in overtime down in Houston. And that's lessons in life that are good for anyone." 

Here's an excerpt: