Curran: Patriots, beware of Ochocinco


Curran: Patriots, beware of Ochocinco

By TomE. Curran
So let's get this straight. Bill Belichick was so pissed at Wes Welker's veiled swipes at Rex Ryan that he sat him down for the first series of a playoff game. A PLAYOFF game. Wes Welker. Aguy who battled back from a blown ACL in order to be ready ahead of schedule for this regular season. A guy who's caught 466 balls and 24 touchdowns in 65 games (including playoffs). A guy who generally wouldn't say s if he had a mouthful. And he gets punished pretty severely for a one-time verbal wobble? Compared toChad Ochojohnson, Welker is talkative as a window sill, inflammatory as a dandelion.
Yet we're all speculating on the possibilitythat Ochojohnson -- a man more brand than football player -- is legitimate quarry for the Patriots?It's the slow season. Chad's got his shortest, tightest skirt on and is stepping off the sidewalk to stick his bald head in the window of every passing car.But how plausible is this notion? I know the respect Belichick has forChad's game (can I call him Chad? I'm going withChad).Between both press conferences and normal conversation, I'veheard enough to know that Chad was -- at one point -- the receiver Belichick most admired. For a five-season stretch - 2003 through 2007- he caught 462 balls (92 per season) for an average of 1,374 yards and 43 touchdowns. ThenChad turned 30. In the past three seasons, he caught 192 balls (64 per season) for an average of 793 yards and 17 total touchdowns.He's on the decline. Not useless, not at all. Look at whatTomBrady did forDeion Branch, a playerseeminngly washed up whenhe arrived in New England back in October. But can Belichick convince Chad to give up cold turkey his"look at me" persona andbe a football drone?Just as important, can Brady? Forget the outward bouquet-tossing. He'd had all he could stand of Moss by the time Moss was dealt. The need to be fed the ball, the tepid effort on balls that needed extra effort, the resultant interceptions when he didn't compete . . . all of it came to a head against the Jets in Week 2. Moss saw four passes his way in the next two games and went buh-bye. Chad's every bit as demanding. And a helluva lot more verbal about it on Twitter and in the locker room. Or at least he has been. Will Brady -- coming off another surgery and a soul-crushing playoff loss -- be excited about having a high-maintenance receiver in his huddle after finding all the success he did with a bunch of team-first guys?Seems a stretch. Then of course there's the fact that Chad is UNDER CONTRACT AND CAN'T BE TAMPERED WITH!Already, this seems lost on one coach. Hue Jackson, the new man in charge of the Raiders, claimed Chad is his "son." We'll see what Rex Ryan says in response to Chad and Terrell Owens both saying they want to play for the Jets. Bengals owner Mike Brown can do vindictive. Think he'll want to release Chad so he can go sign where he wants? Or that he'll deal Chad to a place he's openly whored himself out to? At this rate, Ocho's probably piled up enough comments to get one of those "conduct detrimental to the team" punishments and get his posterior put on ice. Which is another dynamic to watch for. I'm hesitant to dismiss out of hand the idea that Belichick would want to coach Chad. Look at the track record -- no coach has made more unconventional personnel decisions than Hoody. But look at the makeup of the Patriots, their youth and need to keep maturing. Look at the recent history of how things went with a high-maintenance wideout with a me-first attitude. Consider the seriousness of Tom Brady and the grabassery Chad is constantly involved in.
When you look at it, it hardly seems logical. Tom E. Curran canbe reached at Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

ESPN’s Mortensen: Deflategate coverage led to death threats


ESPN’s Mortensen: Deflategate coverage led to death threats

In an expansive profile on The, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen says he and his wife were subjected to death threats because of Mortensen’s Deflategate coverage.

After the Patriots’ AFC Championship Game victory in January 2015, Mortensen tweeted information he said he received from a source that has long since been proven incorrect. The info - that 11 of 12 Patriots footballs in the game were underinflated by 2 pounds - remained uncorrected on Twitter and in an story for more than six months.  

The controversy over Mortensen’s reporting drew the ire of Patriots fans, many of whom blamed the tweet and his story for fanning the flames of what eventually led to a four-game suspension for Tom Brady and a $1 million fine and loss of draft picks for the Patriots. 

Mortensen, who has subsequently undergone treatment for cancer, told The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis that the threats led him to tell his wife Micki that he didn’t want her traveling with him from their home in Arkansas to Bristol, Connecticut when he did studio work for ESPN. 

“What bothered me is we’re in an era where if your wife goes onto social media, she basically reads that they want you to die,” Mortensen said. “Even after I got cancer, I got some death wishes.”

More from the Ringer story:

“My job is to protect her,” he said. When Mort himself came to Bristol, he behaved like someone who was living under a public threat. He went straight from the ESPN studio to his home, avoiding restaurants and rarely appearing in public.

Mortensen said after his initial tweet, a second source, with whom he had a better relationship, told him to used a broader description of the footballs, i.e. call them “significantly underinflated.”  Mortensen now acknowledges that information should have given him pause.

“That should have raised the journalist in me to a higher level,” he told the Ringer. “I’ve got to ask some more questions here. What are we talking about, 2 pounds under? But, no, I got to get on TV.”

Thursday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/report: Edelman still limited


Thursday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/report: Edelman still limited

FOXBORO -- Even though Dion Lewis returned to practice on Thursday, there were no changes to the Patriots injury report.

Because Lewis remains on the physically unable to perform list, he does not count against the active roster, and the team is not required to list his participation level following practices. The Patriots have three weeks to activate Lewis, and whenever they do, he'll be eligible to show up on the participation report.

There were no changes to New England's injury report, meaning that tight end Martellus Bennett, receiver Julian Edelman and linebacker Jamie Collins all continue to be limited. Edelman has been limited with a foot injury since before his team's Week 6 matchup with the Browns. Despite just nine catches for 65 yards in Tom Brady's first two games back from suspension, Edelman bounced back against the Steelers and reeled in nine passes for 60 yards.

The Bills continue to be hampered by a variety of ailments. Linebacker Zach Brown, who almost single-handedly ruined Patriots plans back in Week 4, missed Thursday's workout with an illness, as did guard Richie Incognito. Running back LeSean McCoy missed practice for the second straight day with a hamstring injury, and receiver Marquis Goodwin was out with a concussion. 

Here's Thursday's full practice participation/injury report for the Patriots and Bills:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


LB Zach Brown (illness)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
G Richie Incognito (illness)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)

T Seantreal Henderson (back)

LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)