Belichick only NFL coach to skip breakfast with media

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Belichick only NFL coach to skip breakfast with media

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

NEW ORLEANS - Just not a breakfast guy? Bill Belichick was the only one of the league's 32 coaches to blow off the "coaches breakfast" here at the NFL Owners Meetings in New Orleans Tuesday morning. While Belichick satiated the Boston media to a degree on Monday with a 10-minute talk in a hallway at the Roosevelt Hotel, he eschewed the 75-minute sitdown scheduled for this morning. After talking to him Monday, I said, "You're not going to the breakfast, are you?""We're day-to-day," was the reply.Belichick is more non-conformist than he is hermit. At this point, the 59-year-old simply doesn't kowtow to being told where to be, when and for how long. With a labor fight halting his communication with the players and disturbing his football routine, Belichick would be less apt to play along with what he (my perception here) considers a league-wide dog-and-pony show. This is not to say it's the "right" or "proper" approach from Belichick. And it's certainly not politically correct. But given his disdain for the league office --which fined him a half-million for the Spygate imbroglio -- and the league's competition committee (which he harpooned Monday), it's not hard to see what Belichick's rationalization was for saying "no thanks" to eggs and bacon with the media.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Patriots making contract statements with OTA absences?

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Patriots making contract statements with OTA absences?

Malcolm Butler was one of many not spotted during OTAs on Thursday when the media got a looksee at one of the practices.

Butler wasn’t the only one. But he did stand out as a missing player who hadn’t (to my knowledge) had a surgery but did have a contract that needs addressing. Another one? Rob Gronkowski. If we really want to extend it out, throw in Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan.

This is the point where it’s important to point out that these workouts are voluntary – VAW-LUN-TERR-EEEE! Players don’t have to be there. Additionally, I’m not even sure Butler or Gronkowski (or Ryan and Harmon) weren’t at the facility. All I know is they weren’t on the field. And, per usual, nobody’s tipping his hand as to why.

But we do have this, relative to Butler. ESPN’s Mike Reiss wrote Sunday that he “wouldn’t be surprised if it was related to his contract status.” Reiss said that Butler “told teammates and friends he plans to push for an adjustment to his contract before the 2016 season, and staying off the field in voluntary workouts would be a decision that limits injury risk and also could be viewed as a statement to the organization that he's unhappy with the status quo and/or the movement/specifics of contract talks.”

In the same vein, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gronkowski opted out as well for the same reason, especially since he threw out a tweet that signaled dissatisfaction with his pact in March.

But in terms of a statement, not going to OTAs is more of a throat-clearing than a noisy proclamation.

Not to minimize the move if Butler, Gronkowski or anybody else is actually staying away because of business. The Patriots usually enjoy almost perfect OTA attendance. Also, there hasn’t been much contract strife around here for the past five seasons.

Money matters were an annual issue for the Patriots from about 2003 through 2010. Lawyer Milloy, Ty Law, Richard Seymour, Rodney Harrison, Ty Warren, Logan Mankins, Vince Wilfork, Randy Moss, Adam Vinatieri, Mike Vrabel and – quietly – Tom Brady all had their contract dances back then. But the only one that got hairy in the recent past was Wes Welker.

It’s still too soon to know if any of these will get contentious. When will we know? When either a player or his agent spouts off. Or, when someone’s a no-show at mandatory minicamp beginning June 7.

That would amount to a shot across the bow. Of all the players likely to take that shot, Butler seems a reasonable bet. His base pay this season is $600K after a Pro Bowl campaign in 2015 that saw him check the opposition’s best wideout on a weekly basis. He’s a restricted free agent at the end of the year. He deserves longer-term security than he currently has. Gronkowski has a lot less to kick about. He may make less than lesser players, but he also was the league’s highest paid tight end when he was missing scads of games due to injury.

After Butler, Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower would figure to have the strongest cases to want new deals and want them snappy. Ryan and Harmon would be right behind those two. Then Jabaal Sheard.

Sheard, Hightower and Collins were all on the field Thursday. 

Can the Patriots get all these guys reupped? Will they even try? How do they have them prioritized? If the guy who howls loudest gets to the front of the line, the time to make some noise is close.

But we have yet to hear any of these players loud and clear. 

Giardi: It's only OTAs, pump the brakes on Martellus Bennett

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Giardi: It's only OTAs, pump the brakes on Martellus Bennett

Mike Giardi and Kyle Draper discuss the early impressions of Patriots OTAs and how fans shouldn't get carried away with the performance of new tight end Martellus Bennett so far.