Kraft found Haynesworth to be 'genuine and sincere'

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Kraft found Haynesworth to be 'genuine and sincere'

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO -- Less than a week ago, columnist Joan Vennochi wondered in the Boston Globe whether the Patriots had stained the memory of Myra Kraft by signing Albert Haynesworth. Her premise, based on a situation that happened more than 15 years ago, was that the Patriots wouldn't have traded for a player with Haynesworth's history of violence on the field and offif Mrs. Kraft hadn't died in July. Vennochi didn't make it to Gillette Stadium on Wednesday to make that suggestion to Robert Kraft's face. Perhaps she's already done so in private or will make her way down during the season. Either way, I asked Kraft about the deal for Haynesworth and what his impressions of the player is. "I met with him," Kraft explained. "I've learned in life and in business that people sometimes have different agendas. I met with him and I like the guy. He didn't come here for the money, he came here to be part of a team and win and I think in some ways improve his reputation."Which is something Haynesworth himself alluded to in his meeting with the media last week when he said, "This is all about me rewriting my name as Albert Haynesworth the Patriot."Hiring players with checkered histories comes with the territory. The Patriots have done well helping those players who then proceed to keep their noses clean while here.Still, a player like Haynesworth needs Kraft's blessing. And he's given it. "I found him to be genuine and sincere," said Kraft. "So, now I hope he gets out on the field and does his thing." Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Whalen, part of Colts' infamous fake punt play, settles in with Patriots

Whalen, part of Colts' infamous fake punt play, settles in with Patriots

FOXBORO – Griff Whalen was at the epicenter of one of the stupidest, funniest, most “did that just happen?!” plays in NFL history.

So indescribable it never even really earned a name, it was the fourth-down gadget play the Colts tried to run against the Patriots on Sunday Night Football in the first meeting between the teams after Indy ran to the principal’s office to start Deflategate. 

Whalen was the center on that play (I tried to call it “Fourth-and-Wrong” but it didn’t take) and the millisecond between him snapping the ball and the three players processing that the ball had indeed been snapped is perhaps my favorite moment of the past several seasons. 

Whalen is a Patriot now, brought in this week in the wake of Danny Amendola’s knee injury presumably to fill Amendola’s role as a punt returner and wideout. The Colts released him last January, the Dolphins picked him up and cut him at the end of training camp and the Chargers had him on their roster from mid-September until releasing him last month after eight games, two catches and 22 yards. He returned kickoffs for San Diego but no punts since 2015.

The primary area of need for the Patriots is on punt returns. Rookie Cyrus Jones’ transition to appearing comfortable remains glacially slow. It was Jones’ muff last week that brought on Amendola in relief. When Amendola hurt his ankle on a late-game return, the Patriots were forced to decide between Jones, wideout Julian Edelman (who doesn’t need extra work) and making a move.

Whalen is a move they made.

The slight and baby-faced Whalen indicated he had fielded some punts in practice, saying it went, “Fine.” Punt returns are something he’s done “since I was a kid.”

His first impression of the team was, "A lot of what I expected to see. A lot of detail. A lot of effort in practice. Good coaching all-around. I am excited to be here. I was excited to come into a good team that I’d gone against a few times. Hopefully come in and help out the team with whatever I can.”

I asked Whalen if he saw much of the commentary or creativity last year’s failed play spawned.

“I wasn’t paying too much attention,” he said. “When it’s during the season guys are pretty locked in on what they’re doing inside the building. But I heard more about it later on afterwards.”

Asked if he’d heard anything about the play since being here, Whalen replied, “I haven’t. Kinda was [expecting it].”

The Patriots will be hoping Whalen remains as productive for them on fourth down this year as he was in 2015.

 

PFT: Belichick can still diagram his dad’s Navy plays from 1959

PFT: Belichick can still diagram his dad’s Navy plays from 1959

CBS interviewed Patriots coach Bill Belichick and 1960 Heisman winner Joe Bellino from Navy as part of its Army-Navy Game coverage Saturday.

Belichick's father, Steve, was an assistant coach at Navy when Bellino played there, and little Bill, then 7, took it all in. So much so, that 57 years later, Belichick can still diagram the 27 F Trap play that his dad used to drew up in the 1959 season for Bellino.

More from NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk here.