Pettitte looks uncomfortable during testimony

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Pettitte looks uncomfortable during testimony

From Comcast SportsNet
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Andy Pettitte looked like he wanted to be anywhere but on the witness stand in the Roger Clemens perjury trial. During breaks Tuesday when the judge and lawyers haggled over legal procedures, Pettitte looked down or straight ahead, never in Clemens' direction. He rested his head in his palm, yawned, looked at his watch and sighed. A few times he rubbed his eyes for several seconds, looking like he couldn't wait for this to end. But Pettitte returns to the stand Wednesday, when Clemens' lawyers will continue to try to sow doubts about the key testimony that Pettitte provided for prosecutors: "Roger had mentioned to me that he had taken HGH." Clemens, who told Congress in 2008 that his friend and former Major League Baseball teammate "misremembers" the conversation, is accused of lying to Congress when he said he never took human growth hormone or steroids. The two men arrived at opposite ends of the courthouse a few minutes apart Wednesday morning, both in gray suits. Pettitte carried a backpack and a bottle of water. Clemens lawyer Michael Attanasio started the doubt campaign late Tuesday when he coaxed Pettitte into agreeing that Clemens' remark was a passing comment made during a workout. Attanasio also got Pettitte to praise Clemens' work ethic, mechanics and concentration -- not to mention the seven Cy Young awards he had won for his outstanding pitching. The cross-examination got to feel so much like a Clemens infomercial that prosecutor Steven Durham objected at one point. Pettitte is crucial to a government case that otherwise will rely heavily on the testimony of Brian McNamee, who worked as a strength coach for both Clemens and Pettitte and has said he injected both men with performance-enhancing substances. The government showed the jury photos of the three working out together in Texas during happier times -- "Mac, Roger and me," as Pettitte put it. Pettitte has acknowledged he received HGH from McNamee; Clemens has not. Pettitte told the jury about the time he used HGH in 2002 while recovering from an injury, but he wasn't allowed to say he was injected by McNamee because the judge earlier ruled that information inadmissible. Pettitte said he used HGH one other time, in 2004. He said he regretted it both times he tried it, that he doesn't think it helped him physically and that it has tarnished his name. "I wish I never would've" taken HGH, he said in his slow Texas drawl. "If I hadn't done it, I wouldn't be here today." Pettitte also recalled the other time he spoke with Clemens about HGH, during the media swirl surrounding earlier congressional hearings -- in 2005 -- on drug use in sports. Both were playing for the Houston Astros, and Pettitte asked Clemens at spring training what Clemens would say if asked by reporters about HGH use. Clemens responded, "What are you talking about?" according to Pettitte, and said Pettitte must have misunderstood the earlier conversation, said to have taken place in 1999 or 2000. "He said, My wife used it,'" Pettitte said. "Obviously I was a little flustered," Pettitte said, "because I thought that he told me that he did." Both Clemens and McNamee have said McNamee injected Debbie Clemens with HGH at the Clemens home in 2003, although they differ over certain details. Pettitte's appearance Tuesday came without warning. The government interrupted testimony from the trial's first witness to call Pettitte just before noon. Wearing a gray suit, white shirt and striped tie, he walked into court a day after allowing six runs and 10 hits with eight strikeouts over 5-23 innings in an extended spring training game in Clearwater, Fla., as part his comeback attempt at age 39 with the New York Yankees. Pettitte strode purposefully to the witness stand, but when he squeezed his 6-foot-5 frame into the seat, he looked out of place. He sat with hands clasped during most of his testimony. During prosecutor Durham's questioning, Pettitte described how he admired Clemens as a youngster and considered him a mentor when they played together for the Yankees and Astros. Pettitte said he still considered Clemens a good friend but hasn't been able to talk to him for a long time because of the case. He also said it was difficult to testify against his friend. But there was almost no interaction between the two large men Tuesday. About the only time Pettitte looked in Clemens' direction was when the prosecutor asked whether Clemens was in the courtroom, and Pettitte pointed to the man in the suit and "greenish tie." Clemens stood and nodded. For his part, Clemens took more notes than usual on his yellow legal pad. When trial recessed for the day, Pettitte walked out of the courtroom without looking toward Clemens. Pettitte signed an autograph in the hall, then quickly entered an office.

Giardi: Butler's offseason may cut deep, but it's time for him to battle back

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Giardi: Butler's offseason may cut deep, but it's time for him to battle back

This hasn’t been easy for Malcolm Butler. None of it. He’s never been given anything. Hell, at times he’s pissed his future away. But with a tenacity that reminds you of a certain 199th pick in the 2000 draft, Butler has fought his way back, into college, into the pros and, in 2015 and 2016, into the upper echelon of NFL cornerbacks. He’s a two-time Super Bowl champ, making arguably the most memorable play in the history of that game.

He should be drinking in the adulation, savoring an incredible start to his career and a very lucrative future. Instead, he’s in both professional and Patriots purgatory. Free agency beckons but there’s a season to play, and as this is the only professional team he’s known, a burning desire to be recognized as an important piece, not just in the present, but the future of this organization as well.
 
One of his closest friends on the team, Dion Lewis, calls Butler a warrior. “The game means so much to him.”

Another teammate, fellow defensive back Devin McCourty said of Butler, “This is what he does. He competes.”

Duron Harmon insists that the 27-year-old corner has been the same guy he’s always been. Actually, they all say that. But clearly, the coaching staff sees something different, leading to Butler’s demotion Sunday in New Orleans. 
 
Bill Belichick has been short when talking about Butler dating all the way back to the spring. That hasn’t changed now that the games count. He’s dismissed past performance. All that matters is how you’re playing now. Butler has not established that same level. Why? There is no easy answer.
 
The lack of a new contract cuts deeply. The unsettling offseason -- was he going to be a Saint? -- left quite a mark as well. But Butler came back to Foxboro with purpose, reporting for voluntary workouts. He was hell-bent on proving to all -- Belichick included -- that he was still the lead dog, not Stephon Gillmore, despite the $31 million dollars in guaranteed money the organization forked over to the former Buffalo Bill.
 
That strategy worked for a time. Butler was one of the Pats best players in training camp, right up until the joint practices with the Texans midway through August. What happened? Butler doesn’t know. But one mistake became two. His play in the preseason game with Houston was poor. His confidence suffered. He started pressing. That didn’t help. Butler was just as bad at Detroit. The kid that had always answered a knockdown with one of his own, instead wobbled to his feet. The inconsistencies were evident in practice but the "he's-Malcolm-he'll-fix-it" thought process that teammates echoed didn’t prove true, at least not entirely.
 
According to Eric Rowe, the cornerbacks were informed of the role change at the beginning of last week. But other teammates said they didn’t realize Butler wasn’t starting until the walkthrough Saturday. The ensuing fallout wasn’t surprising -- HE’S MALCOLM BUTLER, SUPER BOWL HERO, DAMMIT -- but the worry around the team has been justified because Butler takes things to heart. His swagger comes from the game. That was stripped away prior to the game against the Saints, and even at the beginning of this week, leading into the Texans game. Butler had to get his head right. If his meeting with the media Thursday is an indication, he has.

But the proof is in the play. Butler has always known that. And while his play didn’t warrant a role reduction, another message has been sent by the powers that be in Foxboro. What happens next is all on Butler. His future depends on it.

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Patriots place Vincent Valentine on IR, promote Geneo Grissom

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Patriots place Vincent Valentine on IR, promote Geneo Grissom

FOXBORO -- Anyone hoping to see Vincent Valentine make his season debut got some bad news Friday. 

Valentine, who has been inactive for both of the Patriots' first two games with a knee injury, was placed on injured reserve. ESPN's Field Yates was first to report the news.

With Valentine on IR, Geneo Grissom was added to the roster from the practice squad. ESPN's Mike Reiss had that one first:

Valentine, whom the Pats chose 96th overall in 2016, has not been practicing with the team as he's dealt with the knee injury.

A third-round pick of the Pats in 2015, Grissom was released by the team in September and signed to the practice squad a day later.