Dowling says he's 100 percent

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Dowling says he's 100 percent

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Its safe to say that Ras-I Dowling wont be participatingin the same off-the-field activities as Nate Solder.

The Patriots selected Dowling with the 33rd overall pick onFriday the first pick in the second round and in his post-selectionconference call, the cornerback from Virginia described himself as a strongbeliever in Jesus Christ who enjoyed going to church and reading the Bible inhis spare time.

Thats somewhat different from the hobbies of New Englandsfirst-round selection, Nate Solder, who enjoyed hunting in his free time.

But similar to Solder, Dowling is thrilled to have beendrafted by the Patriots, and said hes willing to do whatever the team needshim to do, in order to win.

I was just rejoicing with my family that this opportunitycame to me, said Dowling from his home in Chesapeake, Virginia. I reallywasnt surprised, because I believe in my abilities.

Im just really happy it was the Patriots, he said. Itsa great organization, and Im just happy to be there.

Dowling said he had no pre-draft visit with anyone from thePatriots organization. In fact, the only pre-draft contact he had, was at thecombine, the same way he spoke with other teams.

He also said that he had no experience manning the slot orplaying safety in college, but did believe special teams was an important partof his game.

Thats one aspect every team needs to win a game, he said.

Dowlings father named him after the professional boxer,Livingstone Bramble, who later changed his name to Ras-I. But the 6-foot-1,198-pound cornerback couldnt dodge the punches that are the injury concernssurrounding his name.

Dowling played only five games during his senior season atthe University of Virginia, thanks to several leg injuries. In his conferencecall on Friday, he said hes been 100 percent for a while.

Im feeling great, said Dowling. Im 100 percent. If wehad camp tomorrow, Id be ready to go.

Im just a strong believer in Jesus Christ, and just havingmy faith, he added about how he deals with injuries. Whenever my time is up,hes going to lift me up in his glory.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl

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Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl

NFL Siberia can’t be all that bad. The Cleveland Browns have signed Jamie Collins to an extension that keeps him off the free agent market.

The former Patriot, stunningly shipped out of town on Halloween, has agreed to a reported four-year, $50 million deal with $26M in guaranteed money.

As eyebrow-raising as the move was at the time, this is an all’s well that ends well story.

Collins, a reluctant Patriot once it came clear the team wouldn’t to aim a confetti cannon of money at him, gets the desired big-dough deal. He didn’t drape himself in glory with his level of play this year in New England, but his agitation over making $900K this year was understandable.

The Patriots -- who made the deal not knowing exactly how it would work out with Collins’ fleet of replacements (primarily rookie Elandon Roberts and, October acquisition Kyle Van Noy) -- have played better defense since Collins has been gone and are headed to the Super Bowl.

Would they have been better if Collins stayed? The answer to that is a question: Which version of Collins, the irked one or the motivated one?

Collins did nothing to veil his desire for a huge contract, saying at the end of the season he’d stay with the hapless Browns if the money was right. Now that he’s decided the money was right, what kind of Collins will the Browns get? With $26M guaranteed, the Browns have tethered themselves to the 27-year-old Collins for a chunk of his prime. The shorter term is ideal for Collins because -- if he performs to his capability -- he’ll be able to see another lucrative deal before he’s too aged.

The deal will certainly be noticed by Collins’ former teammates, primarily Donta Hightower who will be a free agent at the end of the season.

The Patriots could franchise Hightower (last year’s tag number was more than $14M) but that’s not going to be ideal for either side. Hightower will want to get the windfall of guaranteed money that comes with a long-term deal and the Patriots may be reluctant to pay that much to a player that’s got an injury history and plays one of the game’s most violent positions.

A lot’s going to happen between now and the time the Patriots have to make their decision. A good deal of it will happen in the next 12 days. If Hightower stealthily saves the Super Bowl as he did in 2014 with his first-down tackle on Marshawn Lynch … how do you put a price on that?

Andy Dalton named Tom Brady's Pro Bowl replacement

Andy Dalton named Tom Brady's Pro Bowl replacement

With Tom Brady spending this week and next preparing for the Super Bowl, Andy Dalton has been named his replacement in the Pro Bowl. 

This will mark Dalton’s third Pro Bowl appearance. He finished fourth in the AFC in passing yards (4,206) and tied for 10th with 18 passing touchdowns. Brady threw 10 more touchdowns in four fewer games. 

Though he’s often skipped the actual games, this was the 12th season in which Brady was named to the AFC’s Pro Bowl roster. He’s been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the last eight seasons.