Bruschi: Mayo will be best LB within two years

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Bruschi: Mayo will be best LB within two years

When you think about the all-time greatest linebackers in New England Patriots history, no doubt Tedy Bruschi comes to mind.

But if what Bruschi recently said about current Pats linebacker Jerod Mayo is true, our minds may shift to Mayo sooner rather than later.

Speaking at his 8th annual Spaulding Rehabilitation golf tournament at TPC-Boston today, Bruschi was asked about Mayo, in which the Pats living legend had many good things to say.

From Mike Reiss at ESPNBoston.com:

"He's done things in his short career with the Patriots that I wasn't able to do until my eighth or ninth year," he said. "That's how far along he is.

"I truly see him being the best linebacker in the game within two years. I think that's how good he is."

Mayo was drafted 10th by the Patriots in the 2008 NFL Draft, going ahead of most projections. Clearly Bill Belichick saw something in Mayo during pre-draft workouts and meetings that other scouts and coaches missed.

Belichick has praised Mayo's football smarts, hustle, and leadership on countless occasions, and it's clear that he has big plans for Mayo anchoring the Pats defense for many years to come.

Gronkowski returns to practice; Mason, Branch still missing

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Gronkowski returns to practice; Mason, Branch still missing

FOXBORO -- The Patriots had a welcome face back on the practice field on Wednesday, as tight end Rob Gronkowski returned to action after missing the team's previous five practices as he dealt with an injury. 

Gronkowski participated in the warmup period of practice and then remained with the majority of his teammates for drills. 

The last time Gronkowski was spotted on the field was last Monday, which was the first of three joint practices between the Patriots and the Bears. He pulled up after pursuing a Tom Brady pass, walked along the sideline, met with head trainer Jim Whalen, and then left practice early. He did not suit up for Thursday's game against Chicago. 

Gronkowski has not participated in a preseason game since 2012. 

Patriots not spotted at Wednesday's practice were Shaq Mason, Jonathan Cooper, Sebastian Vollmer (on the physically unable to perform list) and Dion Lewis (also on PUP). Alan Branch, who has been suspended by the team before last week's preseason game, was also missing. 

Jabaal Sheard, Rob Ninkovich, Malcolm Mitchell, Shea McClellin, Tre' Jackson (PUP) and Danny Amendola (PUP) were present for warmups but went to a lower field for conditioning. Amendola and Jackson were not in pads for the short-and-shells session. 

Jon Bon Jovi was taking in the session alongside Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. 

Update: Stork contemplates retirement in wake of trade to Redskins

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Update: Stork contemplates retirement in wake of trade to Redskins

When word leaked this morning that the Patriots would release center Bryan Stork, the first question that popped to many people's minds was: "Couldn't they have traded him?"

Well, hours after the news broke, they apparently did:

And a few minutes later, Ian Rapoport came through with more information:

But now, as reported by CSN Mid-Atlantic's JP Finlay, the deal might not happen:

Stay tuned.