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.

Farrell launches 'Farrell's Fighters' ticket program for cancer patients

Farrell launches 'Farrell's Fighters' ticket program for cancer patients

Red Sox manager John Farrell, who was diagnosed with and successfully treated for lymphoma in 2015, today announced a new ticket program, “Farrell’s Fighters,” that invites patients being treated for the disease and their family to a game each month throughout the season.
 
“It was a challenging battle going through the treatment a few years ago, and beyond the support of family and friends, one of the things that helped me get through it was the escape I found in the game of baseball,” Farrell said in a team statement. “I hope this program can provide a positive, momentary break for the patients and their families from the daily rigors of treatment, and for baseball to be a tonic for them, as it was for me.”
 
In addition to VIP seats at the game, the program will include a meeting with the Red Sox manager, a tour of the ballpark, the chance to watch batting practice, and lunch or dinner in the EMC Club restaurant.
 
“Farrell’s Fighters” will launch with patients from Massachusetts General Hospital, where Farrell was treated in 2015, but will expand to include other area hospitals. The first patient to take part in the program is Nate Bouley, 42, of Sudbury, Mass., who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2015, and is in remission for the third time. Bouley, his wife, and two children will attend the Red Sox-Mariners game Sunday.

Does Butler want to be with Patriots beyond 2017? 'Whatever happens, happens'

Does Butler want to be with Patriots beyond 2017? 'Whatever happens, happens'

FOXBORO -- Malcolm Butler came off of the Gillette Stadium practice field to a gaggle of reporters who had been interested in speaking to him all offseason. There had been speculation not too long ago that he'd be traded. There was speculation he might sign elsewhere as a restrcited free agent.

What he would say on those topics might prove to be informative. People were eager to hear from him. But it was what he didn't say that may have been the most interesting part of his first back-and-forth with reporters since Super Bowl LI.

In the rain, in front of a dozen or more microphones, following his team's third organized team activity practice, Butler was asked if he would like to be in New England beyond the 2017 season, the final year of his contract. 

"Can't predict the future," he said. "Whatever happens, happens."

Butler was given several opportunities to say that he'd like to stick with the Patriots for the long term, but he was non-committal. Though his presence on the roster for this season gives the Patriots a supremely talented cornerback duo, the fact that the team gave Stephon Gilmore a lucrative long-term contract this offseason makes Butler's long-term future in New England a bit hazy.

Playing for a restricted free agent tender worth $3.91 million, Butler was asked if it was difficult to separate the business side of things from his on-field performance.

"Not really," he insisted. "Just gotta come here and just play football. You gotta earn everything you want. Gotta come here, work hard each and every day. Nobody's gonna give you nothing."

He added: "Just gotta keep working. Ignore the noise, and just keep working. No matter what. You got a job to do no matter where you're at. Glad to be here to do this job."

Butler received significant interest from the Saints during the offseason, and he made a trip to New Orleans to visit the organization's facilities there. Unwilling to provide Butler with a big-money contract offer and turn over their first-round pick to the Patriots, the Saints decided to cease in their pursuit of the 27-year-old Super Bowl XLIX hero. 

Butler said he didn't wasn't always sure he was going to be in New England for 2017.

"You never know what's gonna happen, I was just sitting back patiently waiting," he explained. "Just doing what I can do, control only what I can control. I'm here now and that's what it is."

That Butler has been at Patriots workouts and OTA practices since signing his tender is an indication that he's ready to throw himself into the upcoming season with his sights set on performing as well as possible in order to put himself in the best position possible when he's scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency at the end of the year. 

"Wasn't gonna hurt nobody but myself if I missed this," he admitted. "This is extra time to get better, and that's what I'm out here to do. To get better and have another great year. Anything to help the team. Present a positive image."