Saints pay for not learning from Patriots

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Saints pay for not learning from Patriots

PALM BEACH -- It's deja vu in Palm Beach,

In the Spring of 2008, the NFL's annual league meetings were here and a large portion of that event was a bloodletting by the Patriots.

Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft stood before a room of their peers and apologized for videotaping opponents' defensive signals from the sidelines during games.

Accentuating the cleansing, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell advanced a fair playsportsmanshipethics platform. Henceforth, coaches, GMs and owners were to police themselves and sign off that they were clean and pure as the driven snow.

And within a year, the New Orleans Saints were running a program in which players were rewarded for injuring opponents.

This week, Saints coach Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis are expected to do some penance in front of their peers and the assembled owners.

There's been a lot of discussion about the Draconian punishment handed down by Goodell in this so-called Bountygate mess.

But to me, the reason the commissioner was so penal has its roots in the 2008 meetings. The Saints directly defied investigators, yes, but they also put pen to paper and signed off on their program being ethically clean.

Doing that while maintaining a bounty program was -- along with everything else -- a raised middle finger in the face of Goodell.

In handing down his punishment, Goodell specifically cited the amendment enacted in 2008.

"A 2007 amendment to the NFL Constitution and By-Laws obligated coaches and supervisory employees 'to communicate openly and candidly with the principal owner andor his designated representative; to ensure that club ownership is informed on a complete and timely basis of all matters affecting the clubs operations; and to avoid actions that undermine or damage the clubs reputation or operating success.' The obligation to supervise the coaching staff and players is also expressly set forth in the employment agreement signed by Coach Payton."

In addition to being on a different planet entirely from what the Patriots were cuffed around for in 2008, the Saints are also paying the price for ignoring the law-and-order, fair play standards handed down here at The Breakers four years ago.

And now they are where the Patriots were. In more ways than one.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is Rob Gronkowski good to go?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is Rob Gronkowski good to go?

00:43 - Rob Gronkowski says he's ready to go against the Texans. Michael Holley, Tom Giles and Kayce Smith talk about this risks of him playing while injured.

05:47 - Phil A.Perry follows up the Gronk discussion with a deeper breakdown of Gronk’s decision to play this Sunday.

10:02 - David Price appears to be easing back into baseball after pitching Friday night. Evan Drellich joins BST to talk about Price’s outing in Cincinnati. 

16:12 - The BST crew recaps the Red Sox win over Reds. Drellich returns to analyze how the pitchers performed and how that will impact the Red Sox postseason stretch.  

Danny Amendola embraces delayed follow-up to strong Week 1 performance

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Danny Amendola embraces delayed follow-up to strong Week 1 performance

This actually won’t be the first time that Danny Amendola had to wait to follow up a strong season-opener with the Pats. 

As the veteran receiver aims to return Sunday from a concussion and knee injury after leaving the Pats’ Week 1 loss early and missing Week 2 altogether, he’ll try to build a Week 1 performance that saw him lead the Pats with 100 yards on six receptions. 

The stop and start is somewhat reminiscent of Amendola’s first year with New England in 2013, when he had 10 receptions for 104 yards in the season-opener. He suffered a groin injury in that game, however, and didn’t play again until Week 5. At least the wait is shorter this time around. 

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“I mean, there’s going to be bumps and bruises along the way, but that’s football, right?” Amendola said Friday. “But I feel really good today, feel strong, so get ready tomorrow and just continue to prepare.”

In that first game back in 2013, Amendola again led the Pats in receiving yards, but it was in a terrible offensive showing for New England. All it took was four receptions for 55 yards to be the Patriots’ best receiver in a 13-6 loss to Cincinnati in which Tom Brady had a rare scoreless game. 

If Amendola can pick up where he left off in Week 1, the Pats will be in good shape. They’re also expected to have Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan ready to go, but Amendola was Tom Brady’s most reliable weapon in the Chiefs game, even though Brandin Cooks made a bigger impact with two pass interference penalties drawn in the red zone. 

Not known for his durability towards the end of his time in St. Louis, this will be the fourth of Amendola’s five regular seasons in New England in which he didn’t play in all 16 games. He played the full season in 2014, 14 games in 2015 and 12 games in 2013 and 2016. 

With Julian Edelman out, Brady could certainly use Amendola’s services as often as possible. That’s especially if he plays the way he did in Week 1. 

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