Mesko ready to take on his second season


Mesko ready to take on his second season

By A. Sherrod Blakely Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn
FOXBORO Zoltan Mesko is a man of many talents. He speaks five different languages. He has not one, but two college degrees. But the NFL is a completely different subject, one that he's picking up quite nicely.

The 6-foot-5 punter had a solid rookie year with the New England Patriots last season. A year older and wiser, Mesko has shown signs of being even better.

The only major difference now, Mesko says, is he knows what to expect.

"The workload is the same," he said. "The pressure for success never decreases. It's definitely a better experience the second time around just knowing what challenges are ahead of us, ahead of me. That's basically it -- knowing what to expect."

With the Patriots having an offense with even more weapons than last season -- or in 2007 when Brady and company set a number of offensive benchmarks -- opportunities for Mesko to get on the field are likely to be down from a year ago.

You would think that the pressure to perform would be even greater when called upon this season. But Mesko doesn't see it that way.

"You just imagine the consequences of a bad performance," he said. "That keeps you on edge."

Poor play has not been an issue with Mesko thus far in the preseason.

In New England's 31-14 win at Tampa Bay, Mesko averaged 41.4 yards on five punts, one of which was a booming 57-yarder.

With Saturday's game at Detroit's enclosed Ford Field, Mesko doesn't have to worry about the elements being a factor in his kicking game.

"That's the thing you can't rely on," Mesko said of playing indoors. "Sometimes your concentration level goes down as far as, 'everything is perfect so I can relax now.' You still have to be on edge, have that same concentration level as before."

Mesko, who was born and raised in Timisoara, Romania, until he was 10 -- that was when his parents hit the green card lottery which allowed them to come to the United States -- is still relatively new to the business side of the NFL.

But he's wise enough to know that punters and kickers, maybe more than any other positions, are dispensable if you don't produce when the opportunity presents itself.

"The motivation has to be internal as far as that goes," he said. "I'm a competitive person. I don't like to lose, even in a spitting game. It's just me wanting to do the best for the team and myself."

So far, so good.

"It's been definitely an organization where you see the fruits of your labor," said Mesko, who has an undergraduate business degree and a master's degree in sports management -- both from Michigan. "You reap those once you put in the work. There's definitely a good sense of accountability at this organization that makes you, kind of forces you to be successful because of the work that's required of you."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Brown apologizes for 'distraction' caused by Facebook Live video

Brown apologizes for 'distraction' caused by Facebook Live video

Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Antonio Brown posted an apology on social media Tuesday night for his Facebook Live video that has caused a stir over the last few days.

"I let my emotions and genuine excitement get the best of me, and I wanted to share that moment with our fans," said Brown in a statement on his Twitter. ""It was wrong of me to do, against team and NFL policy, and I have apologized to Coach Tomlin and my teammates for my actions.

"I'm sorry to them for letting it become a distraction and something that they've had to answer questions about while we're preparing for a big game on Sunday."

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that he has “absolutely no worries on the video's effect" on Sunday's game against the Patriots, but it was "selfish and inconsiderate" of his star wide receiver.

Brown could still be fined for violating the league's social-media policy. The policy states that players, coaches and football operations personnel are banned from using social media on game days 90 minutes before kickoff, during games, and before "traditional media interviews."

Koppen: Antonio Brown should know locker room isn’t time for Facebook posts

Koppen: Antonio Brown should know locker room isn’t time for Facebook posts

Former NFL player Dan Koppen says the team locker room after a win is a sacred place and that Steelers WR Antonio Brown should know not to be posting on Facebook.