Patriots finally down to 53


Patriots finally down to 53

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran The Patriots officially announced the release of 15 players on Saturday. We kept you in the loop on most of them as the day went along. Here's the whole list: veterans -- DL Landon Cohen, LB Niko Koutouvides, S Brandon Meriweather, DE Eric Moore, RB Sammy Morris, WR Brandon Tate and WR Tiquan Underwood; first-year players -- OL Thomas Austin, RB Eric Kettani and DB Ross Ventrone and rookies, LB Markell Carter, DL Aaron Lavarias, DE Alex Silvestro, TE Lee Smith and TE Will Yeatman.The team also sent DL Ron Brace, RB Kevin Faulk and DL Brandon Deaderick to the PUP list. They'll be eligible to begin practicing with the team after Week 6. Marcus Cannon was placed on the reservenon-football injury list. Guard Rich Ohrnberger's season is over before it starts. He's on injured reserve. The day's biggest news was undeniably the release of Brandon Meriweather. Most could see the reasoning behind letting wideout Brandon Tate go. Sammy Morris was a bit of a surprise, but he's 34 and has diminishing value. Other than those moves, I'd have to say I'm most surprised they have released the rookie tight ends Yeatman and Smith. Both are big, strong, athletic blockers - 6-7 and 6-6 respectively - who showed surprisingly good hands. The team will no doubt love to get either or both back on their practice squad but will have to wait for them to pass through the league with nobody putting a claim in on them. The Patriots have just Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez on the roster at tight end. As for guys making the team? Darius Butler wound up on the right side of the bubble. Despite speculation he might not, DL Gerard Warren did too. Undrafted free agent Jeff Tarpinian made the team at outside linebacker. The Patriots are light at safety, linebacker and guardcenter, as Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe points out in his well-done breakdown of the whole roster. The Patriots are likely going to remain busy through Sunday night. Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

McCourty addresses challenge of life without Brady for Patriots

McCourty addresses challenge of life without Brady for Patriots

Nobody is under the impression that being without a future Hall of Fame quarterback is a real positive for the Patriots.

Still, we’ve encountered resistance from Patriots over the years when it comes to acknowledging obvious adversity.

On Quick Slants Monday night, Patriots safety Devin McCourty said in reply to a viewer’s question that life without Brady is going to be a challenge. 

“Everyone’s going to talk about Tom, obviously. Starting quarterback, obviously our leader for the last decade-plus not being able to play in the first four games,” said McCourty. “We understand that. It’s been something that’s been over our head the past two years. Past that, we’re like every other football team. Guys have to come out and earn spots and compete.”

I asked McCourty if a silver lining to Brady accepting the suspension is the team being able to mentally move on from the uncertainty. 

“I would have rather had last year’s turnout because he wound up playing, but I think we know what we have to do,” said McCourty. “Obviously we support him and all the decisions made towards it but this is what it is now and we have to prepare and go out there and play.”

Camp opens on Thursday but all players are due to report on Wednesday. McCourty, Matthew Slater and all of the Patriots’ assistant coaches are scheduled to meet with the media on Wednesday.


Curran: A laughable double standard in Manning vs. Brady cases

Curran: A laughable double standard in Manning vs. Brady cases

Reading the NFL’s breathless release Monday afternoon that the investigation of St. Peyton came back clean as a whistle and that, hell, ol’ Pey-Pey couldn’t have been more accommodating to the investigators (wink, nudge), the words of Elvis Costello occurred to me.

Oh, I used to be disgusted, but now I try to be amused …

Nobody in their right mind ever believed the NFL would get taint all over Manning post-retirement. Having just spent 18 months dragging Tom Brady’s through the streets, they were going to let him loose and hitch up Manning? Please.

But you figured they’d just slip a note to one of their many media friendlies that the investigation into Huge Head’s alleged HGH use was concluded and move on. Instead, it got “MAN LANDS ON MOON!” treatment complete with a neener-neener subhed that read: “Mannings Fully Cooperated with League Investigation into Allegations in Documentary.”

If they could have used the “in tears from laughter” emoji, they would have. They just can’t help themselves.
But I’m not dog-whistling for the anti-Manning crowd to get up in arms. I’m definitely not inviting a renewed parsing of the Deflategate facts, the Ideal Gas Law or Article 46.

I just don’t think that using HGH – particularly in the realm of recovery – is a mortal NFL sin. The job demands unnatural things from the body, it invites unnatural recovery methods. I’ve always regarded the league’s foot-dragging on HGH testing to be partly because they don’t want to know.

Conspiring to spirit game balls away after they were checked by the officials and let the air out of them does seem a bit more nefarious.

But wasn’t it Roger Goodell himself that equated deflating footballs to PED usage? I’ll answer that. Yes. Yes it was.

That being the case, I need to point out the lack of apparent intensity in going after Manning compared to the never-say-die, multimillion- dollar, league-hijacking, shield-tarnishing witch hunt conducted by the NFL when it came to Brady.

Did anyone in the Manning camp – from Tom Condon to Ari Fleischer – ever have Mike Kensil growling, “You guys are in big f******* trouble!” Was anyone at the Guyer Institute summoned for 14 hours of questioning by guys like Jeff Pash or Ted Wells?

Did Manning ever have to fend off league-leaked misinformation to reporters that the NFL allowed to stand even when the NFL knew the information was a lie?

Of course he didn’t. Manning is a friendly. The Manning family is the NFL equivalent of the Kennedys. And the people Manning was closest to during his time in the NFL – Tony Dungy, Bill Polian, even the repulsive Jim Irsay – aren’t people the league would want to alienate by subjecting Manning to the same kind of public cavity search Brady was.

Again, not that I expected or even believed the league should have done that. The guy is retired, after all. He got out of Dodge.

But it was Goodell that invited this comparison when he handed down his appeal ruling last July, stating that, “In terms of the appropriate level of discipline, the closest parallel of which I am aware is the collectively bargained discipline imposed for a first violation of the policy governing performance enhancing drugs; steroid use reflects an improper effort to secure a competitive advantage in, and threatens the integrity of, the game. Since the advent of our testing for steroid use in the 1980’s and now, pursuant to our Collective Bargaining Agreement, the first positive test for the use of performance enhancing drugs has resulted in a four-game suspension without the need for any finding of actual competitive effect.”

So, if the violations were created equal, why wasn’t Manning dealing with the same presumption of guilt Brady did and the same level of fact-finding?

You already know but I’ll answer it anyway. “Getting” Peyton Manning was the last thing the NFL wanted to do. The Patriots have been the Moby Dick to the NFL’s Captain Ahab for nearly two decades.

One last thing to note on this. It’s actually sad that it seems implausible the NFL did a full and exhaustive investigation and a fully cooperative Manning was able to conclusively prove he never used HGH.

Not because of Manning’s lack of credibility. Because of the NFL’s.