Caserio plays it close to the vest

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Caserio plays it close to the vest

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran FOXBORO - The Patriots hosted both Raheem Brock and Matt Roth this week for free agent visits. Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio was predictably tight-lipped on the visits. Roth,a 3-4 outside linebacker for the Dolphins and Browns,has seemed a reasonable target for the Patriots all along. Butwiththe team seeming to be readying for a shift to more 4-3 sets,Brock - a longtime stalwart on the defensive line for the Colts - would fill a different void. Askedto comparethe roles the two players have filled on defenses in their past, Caserio said, "Theyve played similar positions. Id say their skill sets are little bit different. In the end, you evaluate the player for his own merits and then you just figure out how that player would fit into your system, whether its offense or defense."Caserio is a gifted practitioner of the roundabout verbal stylings Patriots personnel need to pull off to keep from divulging too much (or any) specific information. Witness his answer to a question about Brock's visit. "We bring a lot of players in," he said. "We talk to a lot of players this time of year. Theres a lot of information thats out there. Were just trying to do our job. The process hasnt changed from what it is during the spring, during the summer, during training camp. Were trying to gather as much information as we can on as many players as possible and make a determination if they have a spot and a fit on this team."Mmmm, hmmm. Efforts to ferret out whether running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis merely signed his restricted free agent tender for 2011 or signed a longer-term deal also fell by the wayside. "Hes under contract," noted Caserio. "Hell be here and hell start practicing when hes ready."The Patriots are said to be interested in disgruntled Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora as well. Given he's under contract with the Giants still, there was no way Caserio was going to offer a statement on that.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Easley on character concerns: 'It's all rumors' until sources step forward

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Easley on character concerns: 'It's all rumors' until sources step forward

When Dominique Easley was released by the Patriots this spring, it wasn't because he wasn't productive when he was on the field. In fact, on a per-snap basis, he was one of the most productive interior pass-rushers in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Instead, there were some off-the-field factors, as well as injury concerns, that led to the Patriots choosing to cut ties with their 2014 first-round pick. 

As our Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran put it, there were "philosophical differences" between Easley and the team.

Other, more scathing reports of Easley's impact in New England were released, including one report from the Boston Globe that included a quote from a former teammate saying he was a "locker room cancer."

Since then, Easley has landed with the Rams and has a chance to contribute to one of the most talented defensive lines in football. In an interview on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Phil Savage and Amber Theoharis, Easley said he hopes that his new team will get to see that he's a better person than some have indicated.

"Just really," Easley said, "just hopefully that the Rams get to see what a great person and a great hardworker I am, and really, just a great person."

Easley went on to say that he's not sure who would speak of him negatively or why. He explained that it's not his "main goal" to prove there's nothing to worry about with his character, but clearly it's somewhere on the list. 

"There's been, obviously, stuff said about me," Easley said. "We don't know where it came from. I would say the person doesn't want to come out and say it, neither. As far as I know, it's all rumors until that person comes out and say that it was from them, and they can prove that they actually know who I am, or been around me long enough to know who I am and how I am as a person."

PFT: NFL plans to interview Manning about Al Jazeera PED allegations

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PFT: NFL plans to interview Manning about Al Jazeera PED allegations

Peyton Manning is retired, but that doesn't mean he's exempt from the interviews that the NFL plans to conduct as it looks into the allegations made by Al Jazeera's December PED documentary. 

It was reported last week by USA Today that the league's senior vice president of labor policy and league affairs Adolpho Birch informed the NFLPA that players named in Al Jazeera's report would be interviewed in July. 

Among those scheduled to be interviewed are Packers linebackers Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews and Steelers linebacker James Harrison. Former Packers linebacker Mike Neal will also be interviewed.

(Harrison has taken issue with the league's request, and said on social media that he would only meet with the league if commissioner Roger Goodell showed up to his home.)

Manning was not mentioned in the letter obtained by USA Today detailing the league's interview plans, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk followed up on Monday to see if the NFL intended to speak with Manning. It does.

The former Broncos and Colts quarterback has been very vocal about just how strongly he denies Al Jazeera's claim that his wife, Ashley, received HGH for his use. Despite the fact that he's no longer playing, it will come as no surprise if, given his stance, Manning cooperates fully with the league as it seeks more information regarding the report. 

As Florio points out, if Manning hopes to return to the NFL at some point as an executive -- as many believe he will -- this is something he'll want to put to bed beforehand. That process will start with an interview.