Curran: Mulling Meriweather's Patriots future

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Curran: Mulling Meriweather's Patriots future

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

The good news for Brandon Meriweather? The 2011 draft class is short on safeties. One canassumethe New England Patriots hate when their employees get themselves involved in a story where the words "shot," "two men," "head" and, of course, "Patriots" are repeated over and over. It's bad for the Patriots brand and bad for that employees long-term prospects. Yet that's what's happened with Meriweather since a story broke on Deadspin.com that a well-known Florida personal injury attorney had two clients fingering Meriweather as the guy who shot them during a fracas. How will the Patriots react to this? That's really what's pertinent to the general public since Meriweather is only in our consciousness because of his football talent.Let us analyze. First off, contrary to public perception, Meriweather hasn't really done anything during his time in New England to advance the thug image he brought with him from the University of Miami. He executed a dirty hit on Baltimore's Todd Heap last year during a game. That's the extent of his rap sheet here. When he came to the Patriots as a first-round pick out of the University of Miamiin 2007, he was fresh off incriminating video of himself trying to stomp opponents during an on-field brawl with Florida International University (Meriweather is No. 19). That happened months after Meriweather shot - legally - at an individual who fired a bullet into his roommate Willie Cooper's buttocks. So while one can assume that he had a short leash in terms of behavior, he hadn't even pulled at the leash in his first four seasons here. Until this story bubbled up. Whether Meriweather was acting as peacemaker, as an anonymous eyewitness told the Boston Globe, or was just an onlooker, the Patriots will certainly be harsh on Meriweather for his mere presence in the situation.If it was going bad at the Blue Jeans Lounge, it was probably time to call it a night right then instead of heading back for a house party, which is where the shooting allegedly took place. Did Meriweather have a right to be out with his friends and cousins? Of course. Does that mean it was the right place to be? Doesn't seem so.(I make this judgment as a veteran of being in spots that I had a right to be in but weren't the right place to be.)Often, a players' off-field missteps are viewed by their team in terms of how valuable he is to the team. Meriweather, who is entering the final year of his contract, has been to the Pro Bowl in each of the past two seasons, In 2009, he was an alternate and got in when others weren't able to go. In 2010, he was selected despite being the third-best safety on the Patriots and seeing his playing time cut drastically in the middle of the season. He admitted to "doing his own thing" instead of executing the defense which is a reason his time was cut. To sum it up, he's a talented player who hasn't reached his potential. He's not a leader in the locker room and doesn't ooze (or even give off a whiff) of the professionalism secondary mates like James Sanders, Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington and Leigh Bodden do.If he shot the gun, he's probably done in New England before the 2011 season starts. If he didn't, he'll be done after the 2011 seasons ends.

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

Patriots training camp: Who will be this year's Zach Sudfeld?

Patriots training camp: Who will be this year's Zach Sudfeld?

Mike Giardi and Phil Perry continue their Countdown to Camp as they discuss several story lines that we will hear a lot of.

Jets coach Todd Bowles: 'Garoppolo can play'

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Jets coach Todd Bowles: 'Garoppolo can play'

The Jets don't have to play the Patriots during the first four weeks of the season, but they'll be watching as their division rivals go to work with Jimmy Garoppolo behind center. 

Jets head coach Todd Bowles is expecting more of the same from New England despite Tom Brady's four-game suspension.

"Garoppolo can play," Bowles told the New York Daily News. "They don't worry about who they have. They just have a system in place and they go play football. I think people underestimate that. You still have to knock off the champs. It's theirs until somebody takes it from them."

The Patriots haven't had a quarterback other than Brady take snaps of consequence since Brady tore his ACL in Week 1 of the 2008 season. Garoppolo is still a relative unknown given his 31 total pass attempts over the last two years, but with coach Bill Belichick still on the sidelines, and Belichick's system still in place, Bowles is assuming the Patriots will be a very good team once again -- even without their best player for the first month of the season. 

"They got a good team," Bowles said. "It's not just us. It's everybody. We split 1-1 (against them last year). They're a tough team. They're a tough out. They've had a coach and a quarterback and a system in place for a long time. There's a bunch of ways to skin a cat. They've found pretty good ways to skin it. They do what they have to."

Patriots celebrate 15-year anniversary of 2001 team with videos, Hall exhibit

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Patriots celebrate 15-year anniversary of 2001 team with videos, Hall exhibit

The Patriots have announced a series of initiatives to celebrate the 2001 Super Bowl championship team on the 15th aniversary of their title-winning season.

Throughout the course of the 2016 season, the Patriots will feature special content online and on Patriots All-Access that will lead up to Dec. 4, when Gillette Stadium will host a reunion of the 2001 team during halftime of the Patriots-Rams regular-season matchup. 

The Patriots have already featured images of moments from the 2001 campaign on tickets for their eight regular-season home games. They'll also have a special exhibit dedicated to the 2001 team at The Hall at Patriot Place beginning in the fall. In addition, issues of Patriots Football Weekly this year will include posters of shots from the 2001 season. 

"The Super Bowl XXXVI win over the Rams was the first championship for our team and will always hold a very special place in our hearts," Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said in a statement. "The victory made everyone that ever wore a Patriots uniform or rooted for the Patriots on the bleachers at Foxboro Stadium feel proud to be a fan. I know I am looking forward to reliving some of those great memories throughout the 2016 season."

The Patriots said that video vignettes focused on the 2001 season will launch this week on Twitter and Facebook as well as on Patriots.com.