Banta-Cain: 'It's been a fun ride' with Patriots


Banta-Cain: 'It's been a fun ride' with Patriots

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - You knew news of Tully Banta-Cain's sports hernia surgery was not going to go over well with the Patriots. The injurywas there at the end of last season and he could have had surgery to correct it then. Instead, the outside linebacker opted to see if it improved during the lockout. It didn't. So he went under the knife last week. Now the outside linebacker drafted by the Patriots in the seventh round in 2003 suffers another cut. He will be released by the Patriots on Thursday.In a text message, Banta-Cain told me, "It was a fun ride. Countless memories of New England for life. Thanks for everything. TBC." That Banta-Cain was going to be laid low until at least September and miss virtually all of training camp after the lockout couldn't have helped his cause. Neither did the fact he carried a cap hit of more than 4.5 million and that -- when the Rule of 51 kicks in on August 4 -- he was going to be dead weight during his convalesence. Cutting Banta-Cain means the team's salary capwill still get hit with a portion of the signing bonus they gave him last March when Banta-Cain signed a four-year, 13 million deal. That figures to be about 2 million. We're still trying to figure out whether the Patriots reached an injury settlement with Banta-Cain based on the hernia that was there at the end of last season. Or is the fact Banta-Cain said it got worse during the lockout grounds for the Patriots to say it was an injury sustained while he wasn't their responsibility. The chance exists that the Patriots may try to re-sign Banta-Cain when he's healed but his brief text did have an air of finality to it. The Patriots are not well armed at outside linebacker. Jermaine Cunningham, Rob Ninkovich, Eric Moore and Marques Murrell are in the mix. Markell Carter was a sixth-round pick in April. Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh


Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss the aftermath of Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video. Curran interview Matt Light ahead of the AFC Championship. They dissect the press conferences of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and look at how to beat the Steelers.

SUBSCRIBE iTunes | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | AudioBoom

2:29 Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live aftermath

13:14 Stopping Le’Veon Bell

27:16 heywassyonumba? with Patrick Chung and Kyle Van Noy

32:30 Injury report updates for AFC Championship

36:51 Brady and Belichick’s press conferences

44:50 Matt Light interview

Belichick asked if playing at home helps: 'Go ask Dallas and Kansas City'

Belichick asked if playing at home helps: 'Go ask Dallas and Kansas City'

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick knows that how you play, not where, is what matters most. 

That's why when he was asked on Wednesday about the advantage the Patriots will have by playing at Gillette Stadium in the AFC title game, he wasn't willing to go all-in on how a comfortable environment will positively impact his team.

"I don’t know," he said. "Go ask Dallas and Kansas City."

The Patriots apparently thought enough of home-field advantage that they played their starters throughout their regular-season finale win in Miami, exposing their best players to potential injury in order to maintain their positive momentum while simultaneously ensuring a better road to the Super Bowl. 

The Patriots fans in attendance on Sunday will help when the Patriots take on the Steelers, Belichick acknowledged. But there's much more to it than that. 

"Yeah, of course," he said, "but the game is won by the players on the field. That’s who wins football games – the players. And they’ll decide it Sunday night."

And if you needed any further proof, just ask the Cowboys and Chiefs how helpful their home crowds were in the Divisional Round.