Mankins says he won't be happy if franchised


Mankins says he won't be happy if franchised

By Tom E. Curran
Logan Mankins sounded pessimistic on Friday when talking to The Boston Heraldabout the likelihood of staying with the Patriots when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. "The way its looking right now, I dont see it happening," Mankins told the Herald's Karen Guregian at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. "I dont see them trying to keep me, unless its with the franchise tag."Earlier in the week, Mankins threw out a blanket statement insinuating the Patirots had as good a chance as any team of retaining his services. Friday's comment is probably a more realistic appraisal of how he sees things going down. The problem with Mankins' logic is that the Patriots certainly will try to keep him. And the franchise tag is a very, very real possibility for Mankins. At this point, the league believes it's entitled to use the franchise tag on players who would be unrestricted free agents because it can be applied 22 days before the start of the new league year. The new league year would begin on March 4 if there were a CBA agreement. But with no CBA, can a team actually franchise a player to retain his services for a season which - technically - doesn't exist? Expect the Patriots to be one of the teams to act as if it can. And expect legal mumbo jumbo on that front to follow. If the Patriots apply the tag to Mankins, it will prevent him from realizing unrestricted free agency for the second straight year after being locked up as a restricted free agent last year. That would keep Mankins fromgetting the security of a long-term contract and the financial benefit of a pile of guaranteed money. So it's no surprise Mankins said to Guregian, "I wouldnt be happy about that, if thats what they chose to do, to be dealt that kind of hand. But well see what happens."
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Van Noy: 'I was shocked" to be traded from Lions to Patriots

Van Noy: 'I was shocked" to be traded from Lions to Patriots

FOXBORO -- It's not often that NFL teams make deals before the trade deadline. Seeing starters get dealt before the deadline is a veritable rarity. It's no wonder linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who started in all seven Lions games this season, reacted the way he did when he was dealt to the Patriots earlier this week.

"I was shocked to go from starting there to traded," Van Noy said during his first back-and-forth with Patriots reporters. "I was shocked. I respect everybody with the Detroit Lions, they'll all be my guys there. Just grateful for the opportunity to come here and get it going."

Van Noy has been working closely with Patriots linebackers and linebackers coach Brian Flores since his arrival, even getting some last-minute notes from Flores before meeting with reporters and heading out to Thursday's practice. 

The 6-foot-3, 243-pounder wasn't completely unfamiliar with the operation in New England before being sent to Foxboro along with a seventh-round pick in exchange for a sixth-rounder. He admitted he had "a lot" of contact with the Patriots before being taken in the second round by Detroit.  

Now he's playing "catch-up" to learn the Patriots playbook, which could include learning multiple positions within the team's defense. He played mostly as an off-the-line linebacker in Detroit, but when he entered into the league out of BYU, he was considered to have the tools to be a productive pass-rusher as a pro. 

Van Noy, who lost about 15 pounds going into this season, indicated that the Lions didn't get the most out of him because of how he was used. 

"I mean, they didn't know where to put me," he said. "Here, they want me here, and I'm happy to be wanted." 

Van Noy was injured for much of his rookie season and had a hard time making an impact last year. He was relied upon to fill a more substantial role this season, playing in 60 percent of the team's defensive snaps. It's unclear just how Van Noy will fit in as a member of the Patriots, but he says he's willing to do whatever it takes to work his way back up another depth chart.

"I'm here now, and I'm gonna do whatever they have me [do], and whatever they want my weight to be at," he said. "Whatever they want me to do I'm gonna do it because I want to win and be part of this team."

Patriots running back Dion Lewis (knee) returns to practice

Patriots running back Dion Lewis (knee) returns to practice

FOXBORO -- Dion Lewis returned to practice for the Patriots on Thursday afternoon. He has not practiced all season and has been on the physically unable to perform list since before the start of training camp.

The clock has now started on the deadline for the Patriots to activate Lewis. The team has three weeks to place him on their 53-man roster. Should the Patriots make the most of that window, they would not activate him until the days leading up to their Week 11 game against the 49ers. He is eligible to be activated as soon as this week and could, in theory, be on the roster for this weekend's matchup with the Bills. The Patriots have an open roster spot at the moment. 

Lewis suffered a torn ACL in Week 9 of last season and was progressing well until enduring a stress fracture to his patella. In order to repair the fracture, Lewis underwent a surgical procedure that required screws to be inserted to the affected area. 

On Thursday, the Patriots conducted practice in full pads, and the media availbility portion of the session included only stretching and warmups so Lewis was not seen participating in drills. 

Lewis established himself as one of the most dynamic backs in the league last season, catching 36 passes for 388 yards and two scores. He also averaged 4.8 yards per carry and ran for two scores, forcing 43 missed tackles in seven games.