Mankins' agent says situation is a 'travesty'

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Mankins' agent says situation is a 'travesty'

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com
INDIANAPOLIS - Frank Bauer, the agent for All Pro guard Logan Mankins, isn't happy. Still. The protracted contract squabble between Mankins and the Patriots continues to slog along. Thursday night, on a sidewalk in Indianapolis, Bauer talked about Mankins' situation and gave a timeline on how it came to this. "One of the best players on your football team (a player) that the coaching staff respects, it's a travesty what they've done with this player," said Bauer. "(A new contract) should have been done a long time ago. It could have been done a long time ago. But it got stopped. And right now, we're not talking."Mankins, franchised by the team recently, stands to make more than 10 million in 2011 if he signs the tender. But he'll still be without the long-term security acontract with guaranteed money and a signing bonus would afford. When asked if Mankins would sign the tag and play for the Patriots in 2011, Bauer said, "We don't know yet. We're still weighing our options with that."It's apparent that - despite Bill Belichick's consistent praise for Mankins as a player - the business side of the Patriots is clashing with the football side in a more combustible way than it ever has. Bauer said he hasn't spoken to owner Robert Kraft "in a while." "I've spoken with him (in 2011) but it still cannot be worked out. We disagree," said Bauer. Bauer seemed to want to set the record straight on how Mankins came to be so angry with the lack of a new deal. He provided a verbal timeline of Mankins' contract negotiations. "A young man came to them as a first round draft choice and played four solid years and made two Pro Bowls and one alternate," he explained. "After the 2008 season was over, I approached Bill (Belichick) about a long term deal which most of that small group of Pro Bowlers always gets (rewritten). So what happens is that, we were told that because of the uncertainty of the CBA that (they) weren't going to do anything with any players. Then they started rewriting players in the (2009 training camp). They were the lesser players and (Tom) Brady and Logan were the big contracts and they would take some time to get through. Logan was a little upset that other players were getting rewritten when everyone was told they weren't going to get rewritten. And then Bill sat with Logan and talked about it and we said, 'OK, we'll play the 2009 season and play it out at 1.4 million. When we get to the uncapped yuear, there's no rules, no regulations...being an uncapped year we can do what we want. Negotiationsstarted and they started low. And it's been pretty bad ever since."Bauer was asked about the notion that the five-year deal Mankins was offered last offseason would put him in the top five of all offensive guards. "Here's your problem with numbers, you can take numbers and twist them any way you want," Bauer said. "You can kink the numbers any way you want and say, 'This is one of the highest signing bonuses' or 'One of the highest averages', it's all components of it. It's not just one component."They keep using the system against him," Bauer added. "And we're at a tough point in time because they said they would never tag him, times have changed, now they tag him. In negotiations last yearthey said, 'We're never tagging a guard. A guard's not worth it.' Now he's worth it?"Asked what Mankins' mindset toward the team is now, Bauer said, "Logan Mankins is fine. Mindset's fine. Strong player. Knows what he wants. All he wants is what the rest of the guys get in this league. He's a big time player."Bauer said the Patriots won't consent to an agreement that would allow them to franchise Mankins this year and allowing him to go free in 2012. "They won't even consider it. They felt they got burned on Asante Samuel (who was franchised in '07 but allowed to walk when he hit playing time conditions in his deal). Do it once, get burned and then you don't do it again. That's human nature."Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Patriots-Rams inactives: Slater, Coleman, Richards out

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Patriots-Rams inactives: Slater, Coleman, Richards out

FOXBORO -- The inactive lists for today's Patriots-Rams game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
S Jordan Richards
WR Matthew Slater
DL Woodrow Hamilton
RB D.J. Foster
T LaAdrian Waddle
DL Darius Kilgo
CB Justin Coleman

PATRIOTS-RAMS PREGAME

LOS ANGELES RAMS
WR Tavon Austin
DE Robert Quinn
QB Sean Mannion
TE Temarrick Hemingway
OL Rodger Saffold
DB Steve Williams
OL Pace Murphy

Belichick: You give up individuality when you play football

Belichick: You give up individuality when you play football

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick’s Friday press conference began with him swatting back inevitable questions about Rob Gronkowski. It’s the dance and Belichick doesn’t love it but on this day he at least went through the steps.

PATRIOTS-RAMS PREGAME

By the end, though, Belichick warmed to the conversation with the media in general and was letting some Friday perspective loose.

The portion I found most interesting came at the very end when Belichick was discussing Logan Ryan’s adjustment to a different role in the secondary and reduced playing time.

Did Belichick talk to Ryan? Often, the coach will say that his conversations are private. Not this time. And the reply gave insight into the message the Patriots impart over and over and over to their players. The same one the coach has given since 2000. The boat won’t move unless everyone grabs an oar and rows in unison with the rest.

“Yeah, sure,” Belichick began. “We always talk about that. It’s not an easy conversation because everybody wants to play more but at the same time everybody wants to have a good team and everybody wants to win. Everybody wants to do their role. We all want it to be bigger but sometimes we have to understand the bigger team picture, which I think our players do. Again, that’s not always. But you give that up when you play football. You give up some of your individuality. You give up some of your individual preferences or individual control you have to play the great team sport of football.

“If you want to go out there and run track, or swim, or throw the shotput, or play tennis or whatever it is; great,” Belichick added. “There’s nothing wrong with that and you control everything. You control how you practice. You control when you practice. You control how hard you hit the ball or how soft you hit it or whatever. Play golf. Then you’re your own team but when you buy into a team sport, not just defensively but offensively and in the kicking game, practice for the show-team, practice for the other side of the ball, so forth and so on, then you make a commitment to the team. And that’s different than playing individual sports.”

Unanimous buy-in is very hard to attain. Players’ livelihoods depend on how they show out on Sundays. For every Elandon Roberts -- a rookie who’s pinching himself at the opportunity to be a starting linebacker on the Patriots after being lightly-regarded out of Houston -- there’s a Jamie Collins who was on the cusp of a payday bonanza but was playing under a modest contract and in a system that wasn’t allowing him to just run around and make sensational plays.

“All players, that’s something that all players have to deal with but that’s part of playing football,” said Belichick. “But to your point of Logan [Ryan], he does a great job of that. But yeah, do all players want to play more? Do all players want more opportunities? Of course they do. But we have to try to set up a system and a structure that we feel like gives our team the best chance to win and I think everybody respects that.”