No Huddle: Brady on Welker and Wilfork's hands

No Huddle: Brady on Welker and Wilfork's hands

Odds and ends from Tom Brady's media meet on Thursday.
ON HAVING 11 RECEIVERS ON THE ROSTER:We brought in quite a few guys, so hopefully the mix of guys we had last year -- along with some new guys -- can create some different options for us. It's a very competitive position. All our days in practice have been very competitive.
But it'll help our defense out, it'll help our offense out. The more good players you have, the better team you're going to be. It's only our sixth day of OTAs; we have a lot of work to do before the season starts. It's been a lot of fun being out there and seeing Donte' and Jabar, who I've played with before -- I really loved playing with those guys. Obviously, Wes, Deion, Chad, and Julian it's going to be very competitive.
DO YOU WANT TO SEE WES WELKER FINISH HIS CAREER A PATRIOT?Yeah, I mean of course. I said yesterday there's always contract situations, and it's not my contract situation, so I don't really comment on it, I just try to support Wes, and his role, and what he's asked to do. You see the commitment he makes by coming out here and practicing. He's always worked his tail off, so I love having him out here with me, and he's one of my great friends. Hopefully everything works out.
ANYBODY ON THE TEAM YELL BACK WHEN YOU START AT IT?Probably Wes. Wes gives it to me pretty good. All the guys that are comfortable with me know that they can do it. There are some guys who probably aren't as comfortable yet, but once they get used to it they have no problem. Guys like Matt Light. That's why I miss a guy like Matt, because Matt always told me how it was. Coach Belichick never is afraid to let me know what he thinks of what I'm doing. I appreciate that. That's really what I need.
WILFORK SAYS HE'S GOT GREAT HANDSLaughs I'm going to see. He had two interceptions last year. He was close to leading our team, so he better start working on his run after catch. Maybe we can use him on goal line situations like The Fridge (William Perry) or something. He's a load, I'll tell you that. He's a hell of a player for this team.
ON HOW HIS PERSPECTIVE HAS CHANGED FROM 25 TO 35:I don't know; I'm not 35.
OOPS. SO, 34 THEN:I appreciate it every day. I think one thing my injury taught me a few years ago is how fragile this game is. To be able to take the field every week is really a blessing. Maybe at 34 I feel a little differently in that sense. I appreciate it, I love it just as much now as I ever have. I love being out here for OTAs. At 25 I was probably expletive about OTAs. When you're 34, you're not. You're saying, 'Let's see what kind of team we've got. I've really got nothing else going on in my life, so I'm going to come out here and try to do a good job for my team.
MIGHT THE DEATH OF JUNIOR SEAU HELP ENCOURAGE GUYS TO CHECK IN WITH EACH OTHER, WHETHER ACTIVE OR RETIRED?Yeah, what you get out of this game so much is the relationships that you have with the players you played with. It's a very intimate work environment that we have. We're with each other more than we're with our families over the course of the season. When you share -- when you're a locker-mate, or a position-mate, you know someone very well. You always have concern for them, not only as a teammate, but when they leave the facility as well.
The transition I've heard is hard, and we'll all have to deal with it at some point. But hopefully we can deal with it as best as we know how. If we need help, hopefully we can seek it out.

Avery Bradley (Achilles) returning to Celtics lineup vs. Hawks

Avery Bradley (Achilles) returning to Celtics lineup vs. Hawks

BOSTON – The wait is finally over for the Boston Celtics and Avery Bradley.

Bradley will return to the Celtics starting lineup tonight after having missed the previous 18 games (and 22 out of 23) with a right Achilles injury.

“I’m excited to be back out there,” Bradley said. “I can’t wait for the game to start.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will play with a minutes restriction for the first week, and adjust accordingly.

“I wanted to come back four weeks ago,” Bradley said. “But I have to do what’s smartest. Those (medical) guys know better than me. It was tough listening to them. But we came to a compromise I guess you could say and I can play tonight. I’m happy with that decision.”

Bradley said the training staff wanted him to get more practices playing at the level he’s accustomed to, prior to returning to action.

But with the Celtics’ schedule, practice time would be few and far between so limiting his minutes initially is indeed a compromise of sorts.

Although rookie Jaylen Brown has done a solid job filling in for Bradley with the first unit, Stevens had every intention of Bradley returning as a starter.

“He’s our starting two-guard,” Stevens said. “We started the year really well as far as that group playing together. We haven’t had that group playing together very often. Jaylen and Marcus (Smart) are both able to give us a lot off the bench as well as if we need to plug them into a (starting) lineup later on. We feel good about that.”

As far as handling Bradley’s minutes this week, Stevens has a very simple approach to what he needs to do.

“I’m just going to play him in the first couple of stints,” Stevens said. “And when his minutes run out he won’t play anymore. It is hard if you’re trying to save minutes for the end. I’m not sure that makes a lot of sense with getting stiff, sitting for a long time, coming off a long lay-off.”

Bradley is the Celtics’ second-leading scorer at 17.7 points per game along with a team-high 6.9 rebounds. A first-team All-NBA Defender last season, Bradley is also shooting a career-high 40.9 percent from 3-point range.

Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

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Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

PHOENIX - The Arizona Cardinals, in an anticipated move, have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on outside linebacker Chandler Jones after failing to reach a long-term deal with the player.

The non-exclusive tag allows the Cardinals to continue negotiating with Jones through July 15. If another team makes him an offer, Arizona can either match it or receive two first-round draft picks.

It's unlikely that any team would express interest in Jones, however, given what it would cost.

Under the franchise tag, Jones would receive about $15 million for the coming season.

Acquired in a trade with New England a year ago, Jones had 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss last season

Jones has 25 1-2 sacks over the past two seasons, third-most in the NFL over that span.

The Cardinals' move came two days before the NFL deadline for making franchise designations.

It also came on Jones' 27th birthday, prompting teammate David Johnson to tweet "Happy BDay to `The Man,' `Mr. Franchise' himself.....The one and only."

The franchise tag move came as no surprise.

Club President Michael Bidwill has stated all along that Jones would not be going anywhere, that the team didn't make the trade - sending guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round draft pick to New England - to keep him just for one season.

"We're not going to mess around with that," Bidwill said in a recent interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. "He's a great pass rusher, but if we can't agree to terms that work for us, we're just going to franchise him, and his people know that."

Jones immediately upgraded what had been an average Cardinals pass rush at best. His fellow outside linebacker Markus Golden had 12 1-2 sacks and seven tackles for loss. Together they form one of the better outside pass rush combinations in the NFL.

By all accounts, the contract talks with Jones have been cordial and Jones has said he wants to stay in Arizona.

"I love it here," he said near the end of last season. "I love the vibe that the people give off and I can see myself being here for a long time."

Chandler heads a long list of free agents that the Cardinals must either re-sign or let go. That group includes starters defensive tackle Calais Campbell, safety Tony Jefferson and inside linebacker Kevin Minter.