NFL deal 'not close' but calendar driving urgency

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NFL deal 'not close' but calendar driving urgency

By Tom E.Curran
CSNNE.com PatriotsInsider Follow@tomecurran FOXBORO - A source close to negotiations told me Thursday night that players and owners are "not close" to ending the NFL lockout but that "good progress" has been made. That jives well with the comments earlier Thursday by Patriots owner Robert Kraft who acknowledged progress as well but cautioned, "It would be misleading to say anything that would not make it crystal clear that there's a lot of hard work still to be done."The fact that we're into June and that training camps and the preseason are now in some jeopardy seems to be a motivating force. "I want football back," Kraft said. "I think we're getting close to having to put this thing to bed so we don't miss any events. I know that's the intent on both sides. ... The good news is, we're talking. I think we went 34 days without talking and the lawyers on each side were doing stuff. That, to me, isn't progress." One of the looming post-lockout issues to be confronted is how free agency will be initiated when this is all over. Does free agency begin immediately? Is there a short grace period? "There are people discussing this but this is part of how we do this and that's something I'm going to let the league office speak about," answered Kraft when asked aboutfree agency's start.While it hasn't yielded an agreement, the two rounds of talks without litigators have significantly changed the tenor of these negotiations -- as Kraft insisted all along they would."We've had the head of the union and five players and a mix of different owners and the commissioner all focused on the issues and what's good for the game and trying to solve that and I think that's positive," he pointed out. "I hope progress keeps happening . . . The good news is both sides care about the health of this game long term. That's our sole focus. Building on that is very positive." Tom E. Curran canbe reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Brady to Amendola on Facebook: 'Paddle's fixed. Time for a rematch!'

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Brady to Amendola on Facebook: 'Paddle's fixed. Time for a rematch!'

When Danny Amendola told the world on Tuesday that he's better than Tom Brady at ping pong, the quarterback must have been listening. 

On his Facebook page, Brady published a snarling image of his face Photoshopped onto the body of a table tennis player. That paddle he broke after losing to Amendola three years ago? It's fixed, Brady explained in the caption. And he's ready for a rematch.

Talk about intimidation.

Wilfork embracing modeling, tells Brady to put him in touch with Gisele's people

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Wilfork embracing modeling, tells Brady to put him in touch with Gisele's people

Vince Wilfork will be one of many well-known athletes to strip down and pose nude for photographs in ESPN The Magazine's's Body issue, joining a group that includes Cubs pitcher Jake Arrietta, Broncos defensive end Von Miller and Heat guard Dwyane Wade.

Judging by his latest tweet, the former Patriots defensive lineman -- who is listed at 325 pounds -- is getting pretty comfortable with the idea of becoming a model.

Now it's up to Tom Brady to play match-maker, it seems. Gisele retired from the runway last year so maybe her people are on the lookout for some new talent.

Belichick: Buddy Ryan a father to 'a great football family'

Belichick: Buddy Ryan a father to 'a great football family'

Bill Belichick released a statement on Buddy Ryan's passing Tuesday afternoon. 

"Today is a sad day in football due to the passing of Buddy Ryan," Belichick said. "It was always very challenging to compete against Coach Ryan, who was father to a great football family that carries on his coaching and defensive tradition. My condolences are with the Ryan Family."

Belichick is certainly very familiar with Ryan's legacy and the tradition Ryan passed down to his sons Rex and Rob. The Patriots coach has competed against all three.

Rex Ryan has squared off with Belichick during his time as head coach for the Jets (2009-14) and Bills (2015-present), and their matchups go back to Rex's days with the Ravens (1999-2008) when he was a defensive line coach and then defensive coordinator.

Rob Ryan, like his brother, got his first NFL break when his father was the head coach of the Cardinals in the mid-1990s. His second break, though, came from Belichick. He joined the Patriots staff during Belichick's first year as head coach in 2000 and coached linebackers for four seasons in New England. He has since competed against Belichick as a defensive coordinator for the Raiders, Browns, Cowboys and Saints. Rob joined Rex in Buffalo this year to serve as an assistant on the staff there. 

For Belichick's thoughts on the impact of Buddy Ryan's famous "46" defense, we dug up some of his comments from a 2012 press conference that you can find here. He called the combination of Ryan's scheme and the talented players Ryan had at his disposal as defensive coordinator of the 1985 Super Bowl champion Bears "pretty unblockable."