Curran at the Combine: Patriots profile remains low

Curran at the Combine: Patriots profile remains low
February 25, 2011, 6:20 pm
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By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

INDIANAPOLIS - The parade of head coaches and general managers to the podium continues here in Indianapolis. The Patriots do not have a float in this parade. Bill Belichick and player personnel man Nick Caserio have been out of sight, and word is that neither man has plans to speak in an organized setting here at Lucas Oil Stadium. They hustled past reporters Thursday night after a 45-minute meeting at the Westin Hotel where all the GMs and coaches were briefed on rules of engagement in event of a lockout. I did catch up briefly with special teams coach Scott O'Brien this morning. He said his time with the specialists is up and that he's heading back to New England later on Friday. The Patriots' code of silence is already being impressed upon draft prospects. Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi, when asked if he'd spoken with New England said, "I don't know. I can't comment. You have to ask the Patriots."Or you can talk to people who used to work for the Patriots about the Patriots. Chris Price from WEEI.com did that with current Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff who spoke glowingly of Caserio, saying, "Hes a very intelligent guy. Hes a tireless worker. I dont know who works harder than him in the National Football League. Hes won many hats in New England, Bills asked him to do quite a bit, not only on the personnel side, but on the coaching side. You talk about a well-rounded individual. I hope Coach Belichick isnt upset with me that Im pitching Nick Caserio, but I think Nick is a top-notch personnel man. The NFLPA is holding a day-long meeting with player agents. One of the issues coming out today is that the union will allow draft prospects to visit with teams for individual workouts after the CBA expires March 4. If they didn't, it would create draft chaos. The Combine is really an orientation to the players. Interviews are limited to 15 minutes. The pre-draft visits players make to the teams is when the most research is done. But after the draft, if no CBA is in place, communication will cease. So that means no Monday after the draft photo-op on the turf at Gillette. I spent some time talking last night to an ex-Pats coach who gave me some great insight into the Pete Carroll-Bobby Grier regime. Remember back in 1997, Carroll's first season with the Patriots and Grier's first GM draft without Bill Parcells with him?Well, apparently in the draft room that Saturday, the Patriots were on the clock with the 29th pick. And time just kept ticking away as Grier ruminated. The lobbying had been done, the choice was clear. Sam Madison, the corner from Louisville. All the coaches in the room knew where it was going. Then, just before time expired, Grier said, "Chris Canty."The reactions, the ex-coach said, were surprise and anger and the most enduring one was that of defensive line coach Ray Hamilton who stood up, fired his pen off the table and howled, "I'll be a motherscratcher!" and stormed from the room. Canty lasted two seasons in New England, four years in the NFL. He smoked cigarettes, an unusual habit for an NFL corner. Madison was drafted by the Dolphins in the second round and was selected to four Pro Bowls. Ooop.

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