Mills: 'I'm a smarter player' since last Pats stint

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Mills: 'I'm a smarter player' since last Pats stint

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn
FOXBORO The Garrett Mills project is back in New England.

A fourth-round pick of the Patriots in 2006, the Pats re-signed the 6-foot-1, 235-pound tight end over the weekend.

He spent most of his rookie season on the injured reserve.

"My skill-set has hopefully gotten better since I was here last," said Mills, who set an NCAA record in 2005 at Tulsa by amassing 1,235 receiving yards -- the most ever by a tight end. "I'm still a similar-type player, but I'm much more experienced and a smarter player."

Since his first stint with the Pats, he has played for Minnesota (2007-2009), Philadelphia (2010) and Cincinnati (2010).

While those teams certainly have had their share of talented players, Mills remembers all too well how well the Patriots seemed to balance success with superstar talent during his rookie season.

"In this locker room, star power is kind of diffused a little bit," said Mills, who had two receptions for 19 yards with the Eagles last season. "And that's a good thing. That's one thing I appreciate about this organization. Everyone's in it to win. It's definitely a team perspective here."

Philadelphia released him on Dec. 21 and he was claimed off waivers by Cincinnati. The Bengals waived him earlier this month.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

FOXBORO – Back in March, Eric Weddle batted his eyes longingly at the Patriots. The two-time All-Pro safety’s time was done with the Chargers and he wanted to spend his NFL autumn with a team that had a chance to win it all. 

He didn’t land in New England, but he didn’t too badly, winding up with the usually competitive Ravens.  

On a Thursday conference call with New England media, Weddle confirmed that there was mutual interest expressed. 

“Obviously, I was interested,” he acknowledged. “I have nothing but high regard, respect and admiration – and envy, quite honestly – of the success of the New England Patriots over the years. Obviously, battling them in my career, it’s always been a great game. I love the way they play, love the foundation, love everything about it. It was definitely on my radar. There were talks both ways, it just didn’t end up [working out].”

The numbers massed at the position with Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon played a role in the two sides not being able to reach accord, according to Weddle. 

“I’m good buddies with Patrick Chung,” he said. “I grew up playing with him and Devin [McCourty] is one of the best to play, so I don’t know if it would have worked out personnel-wise. But obviously, I could have seen myself fitting in there seamlessly.”

Weddle’s New England attraction apparently wasn’t love that bloomed late in his career. Toward the end of his conference call, Weddle said, “I’m still wondering why they just didn’t draft me in ’07; I could have been still playing there now.”

As reporters puzzled for a moment trying to recall the 2007 first-rounder, Weddle chipped in with the answer: “[They took] Brandon Meriweather.”

Raiders' loss to Chiefs puts Patriots in AFC driver's seat

Raiders' loss to Chiefs puts Patriots in AFC driver's seat

FOXBORO - The Patriots got a desired outcome Thursday night when the Chiefs handed the Raiders their third loss of the season. 

The 21-13 loss dropped Oakland and KC into a tie atop the AFC West at 10-3 but the Chiefs, by virtue of beating Oakland twice this season, have the divisional tiebreaker. Oakland went from the top seed in the AFC to the fifth spot.

More importantly around here, the Patriots now are in position to win out and claim the AFC’s No. 1 seed. 

Prior to the Raiders loss, Oakland would have been the top seed if both they and the Patriots won out.  Now, the 10-2 Patriots have a leg up on the rest of the conference. The Raiders’ road stays tough. They are at San Diego and Denver and host the Colts. 

The Chiefs have a more favorable close to the season with home games against Tennessee and Denver before their season finale at San Diego. 

The Patriots’ road over the final four is no picnic though, beginning with the Ravens and at Denver before the last two hosting the Jets and traveling to Miami.