Tavon Wilson lands at Gillette Stadium


Tavon Wilson lands at Gillette Stadium

FOXBORO -- When a player gets drafted to the NFL, teams like the Patriots have its PR people find and distribute bios and supplemental information to reporters within minutes. George "Jake" Bequette, New England's pick at No. 90, was hand-delivered in five stapled pages featuring an overview, career notes, season-by-season summaries (including high school), and personal information.

The book on defensive end Tavon Wilson? His player page, one front-and-back, printed from FightingIllini.com.

His presence at Gillette Stadium Saturday afternoon filled in a few blanks.

"It's been crazy, but it's been everything I could ever want," Wilson told the crowd of media. "What a great organization. I got out here this morning and met the coaches and am just getting to know people within the organization."

The 6-0, 205-pound back stood on the stadium turf in a gray sweatshirt stamped BOSTON across the front. Yes, it was an airport purchase. He flew in from D.C. -- topsiders betraying the urgency -- and needed to arm himself against the May chill.

But don't worry, Wilson can handle Foxborough.

"Champagne, Illinois where we play is pretty cold," he laughed.

The sparse biography at least testifies to that much. Wilson was an All-Big Ten honorable mention selection by the coaches. A team captain his senior year, he started all 13 games for the Illini, and finished third on the team with 81 tackles. That year he played 12 games at cornerback where in 2010, Wilson started all 13 at safety.

He touts the move, among other things.

"Hard worker. Versatile player. Smart," Wilson said of himself. "Those are things I take pride in. I feel like I fly around the field. All those things I take pride in.

"We played a lot of good out-of-conference games at Illinois. The Big Ten had a lot of bigger receivers and out of conference had a lot of small, faster guys so I pretty much played all types of receivers."

Don't forget special teams. That's the work that will get a rookie like Wilson on the roster, and it sounds like he knows it.

"I love to play special teams as part of the game; I played special teams in college and loved to do it and I'm going to do it here, too. I played kickoff, I was a holdup guy on punt, I was a gunner on punt teams, so I pretty much played all of those.

"The more you can do the better you're going to be," he said, sounding the part of a Patriot already. "So I'm just going to come in, play special teams, be the best at whatever position they play me as."

WR Brandon Marshall provides player's perspective to owners on Day 2 of meetings

WR Brandon Marshall provides player's perspective to owners on Day 2 of meetings

PHOENIX - When league owners, coaches and executives come together for the NFL's annual meetings, those meetings are often devoid of those who have the biggest say in making the product what it is. 

The guys who play.

Brandon Marshall, newly-acquired wide receiver of the Giants, had an opportunity to provide the meetings with a player's perspective on Monday morning. 

The focus, he told reporters after addressing owners, was to highlight the importance of continuing to foster stronger relationships between the league and its players. 

It seemed to go over well, judging by a tweet sent out from Niners owner Jed York. 

"I think it's important for us to continue to do things like we did last year giving the players more of a voice," Marshall said. "You saw the campaign during Week 13 last year, My Cause My Cleats. That was super successful. It gave the world and our fans and the NFL the opportunity to see that we are people,  we're not just gladiators. It humanized us. 

"It not only gave people outside of the game that opportunity to see who we really were but also people in the game like owners, executives and even players. . .We want to continue to do more of that. If we want our game to continue to be on this track that it's on, being super successful, as far as being a pillar in the community, then we need to make sure that our relationships between players and owners is healthy."

Day 2 of the owners meetings will be highlighted by a decision on the fate of the Raiders franchise. The team is expected to have enough support from owners around the league to uproot and head to Las Vegas. 

Around midday in Phoenix, Patriots owner Robert Kraft is expected to speak to reporters about league affairs as well as his team's offseason activity. 

Steelers GM on Hightower: 'It didn't work'

Steelers GM on Hightower: 'It didn't work'

Speaking to reporters at the NFL owners meetings in Arizona, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert touched briefly on the team’s unsuccessful attempt to lure Dont’a Hightower away from New England in free agency. 

Hightower returned to the Patriots this month on a four-year, $43.5 million deal with $19 million guaranteed. He was also courted by the Jets and Steelers, among others, with his offer from the Jets reported to be the biggest before they reportedly pulled it due to physical concerns. 

The Steelers also reportedly offered more money than the Patriots, with Jason La Canfora reporting that Pittsburgh offered more than $9 million annually. Hightower’s deal with the Pats pays him $8.7 million per year. 

“We made an attempt [with Hightower], it didn’t work,” Colbert told reporters. “We’re fine. We move on. Vince Williams, we were very confident in Vince. That’s why we signed him to the extension last year. So that if we got to this point and Lawrence had left us, and we didn’t sign anybody from the outside, Vince was certainly capable of stepping up and being the next guy.”

Hightower is entering his sixth season with the Patriots, who selected him with the 25th overall pick in the 2012 draft.