Patriots' Ellis ready to face former team


Patriots' Ellis ready to face former team

By A. Sherrod Blakely Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn

FOXBORO At some point on Sunday, New England Patriots defensive lineman Shaun Ellis will do a little reminiscing.

That's to be expected when you consider the amount of time he spent with the New York Jets - his entire career - and now finds himself facing them for the first time.

And making things even more awkward, his new team (New England) is his old team's biggest rival.

Just imagine Tim Thomas in goal for the Montreal Canadiens, or Rajon Rondo playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Weird, huh?

Ellis shrugs off the idea that he has an axe to grind with the Jets after they did not look to pursue him aggressively during free agency.

But he does acknowledge that Sunday's game will be unlike any NFL game he's ever played in before.

"It's going to be different," he said. "It's going to be different. But I'm a Patriot. I just want to go out and play my best in this game and do the things I know I can do."

He added, "If you make it too personal, you start messing up."

Jets coach Rex Ryan had nothing but praise for the 11-year veteran.

"I think Shaun is an excellent player, there's no question about it," Ryan said. They brought in Andre Carter, They brought in Shaun, they bring in Albert Haynesworth to add to what they have, is obviously an upgrade for what New England has."

One of Ellis' strengths, Ryan believes, is his versatility.

"He's a 3-4 defensive end, he can play in a 4-3 defense so they're doing multiple things," Ryan said. "It was really a good move by Bill Belichick to bring him in. He is a guy that can play in any defense you got."

And he's providing that talent to the New England Patriots, a team that he has spent his entire career trying to beat.

Ellis admits he has been pleasantly surprised at how quickly his new teammates took to him.

"I could say the team really embraced me when I came here," Ellis said. "I was kind of a little fuzzy at first, but they really took me in, showed me how they do things around here. It's been great."

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

Belichick says all three QBs could use more game reps


Belichick says all three QBs could use more game reps

Bill Belichick was expansive Saturday when asked on a conference call how he'll split the quarterback reps for the Patriots final preseason game Thursday in New York.

"I think that’s a good question, it’s a fair question, it’s one that we really have to give some good consideration to," Belichick began. "As I said before, I think whatever we do will benefit whoever does it. We want to get Jimmy [Garoppolo] ready for the Arizona game. Tom [Brady] isn’t going to be playing for a while, so it’s kind of his last chance to play until he comes back after a few weeks. Jacoby [Brissett] certainly could use all the playing time that he can get. I think that whichever players we play will benefit from it and it will be valuable to them. We could play all three quarterbacks a lot next week and they’d all benefit from that and it would all be good, but we can’t."

Since they can't, Belichick said there will be situational work done with whoever isn't going to get the game reps.

"We only have one game and so many snaps, so we’ll have to, between practice and the game, put them in some situations that are somewhat controllable like a two-minute situation or things like that that you know are going to kind of come up one way or another," said Belichick. "You can sort of control those in how you want those broken down, what’s best, what does each guy need and how can we get the best we need for each guy. I need to let them get the reps that they need, but it’s how do we get the team ready for what they need to be ready for. They all need to get ready for different things.

What Jimmy’s role is in a couple weeks is going to be a lot different than what Tom’s is, and it’s going to be a lot different than what Jacoby’s is. At some point later on, those roles are going to change again. So again, there’s no perfect solution to it. We’ll just do the best we can to try to have our individual players and our team as well prepared as possible at whatever point that is that we have to deal with, and whenever those situations come up."

As I wrote earlier today, this is the sticky and uncomfortable situation arising from Deflategate. It's not a Tom Brady penalty. It's a team penalty when one considers the ripple effects. And there's no handbook to consult.


Report: Patriots sign LB Jonathan Freeny to two-year extension


Report: Patriots sign LB Jonathan Freeny to two-year extension

The Patriots have signed backup linebacker and special teamer Jonathan Freeny to a two-year contract extension through 2018, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported.

Freeney, 27, was originally signed by the Patriots to a one-year free-agent deal in March 2015 after spending the first four years of his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins. He then earned a one-year extension last September and played 13 games, seven starts, with 50 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble. 

"Jonathan is a very dependable player," Bill Belichick said on a conference call Saturday. "He is able to do a lot of different roles for us. He can play inside, outside, on the line of scrimmage and off the ball defensively. He has been a very valuable player for us in the kicking game, obviously with some size, a four-phase special teams player.

"He is one of our overall top workers in terms of the offseason program, preparation, training. He always does things right. He works hard, doesn't really say a lot, but is very dependable and consistent. I think everybody in the organization looks up to him."


49ers' Colin Kaepernick refusal to stand for national anthem ignites controversy


49ers' Colin Kaepernick refusal to stand for national anthem ignites controversy

Colin Kaepernick was already a noteable NFL player as the one-time, and now apparently former, face of the San Francisco 49ers.

The quarterback likely will gain even more notoriety for his stance on refusing to stand for the national anthem at a preseason game on Friday:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told Steve Wyche of NFL Media. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

In a statement released Saturday, the NFL said players "are encouraged but not required to" stand for the anthem.

More here from Mike Florio of's Pro Football Talk on Kaepernick and Florio on the NFL's statement in response.