Brown ready for his induction to Patriots Hall

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Brown ready for his induction to Patriots Hall

FOXBORO -- Troy Brown stood in the Hall at Patriot Place and watched some of his old highlights cued up on a video screen. Most of the plays barely elicited a reaction, save one. It was the catch he made during the Patriots' Super Bowl-winning drive against the Rams on February 3, 2002.

"Was that really 11 years ago?" he asked, looking up from the screen for a moment.

Yes, Brown's getting older, and when he returns to Foxboro, the reminders are all around. But, for the former Patriot great, with age have come honors and remembrances of a job well-done. He'll receive the franchise's highest honor on Saturday as he's inducted into the team's Hall of Fame.

"I think this is just a great way to cap off what everybody has been talking about, a great career that I put together for myself with the help of so many people," Brown said, donning his new red sports coat with the Patriots' Hall of Fame logo, signifying his induction. "You cant get any greater honor than this when youre a Patriot."

Brown reminisced about some of his career's defining moments Thursday, including a few of its lower points. Though he helped the team win three championships, his 15 years in New England were far from one big Super Bowl parade.

In his rookie season, he was released by then-coach Bill Parcells.

"Being cut is not fun,'' Brown said. "I was out for over half the season that year. I came back and I lost my number. I used to be Irving Fryar (No. 81) and I came back as Stanley Morgan (80). It wasn't fun. Parcells kind of beat me up a little bit when I got back.

"When the season was over, I was a free agent. I didn't know if he was going to sign me again. He did. He gave me another opportunity and it's been pretty good since then.''

Very good, in fact. Brown racked up 557 receptions for 6,636 yards and 31 touchdowns in his career as a receiver. An eighth-round draft pick, he also excelled on special teams and famously made the transition to defensive back when coach Bill Belichick need him there.

Vince Wilfork, who was Brown's teammate for four seasons, spoke glowingly of Brown, but more so for what Brown did off the field than on it.

"That guy, hell give you the shirt off his back," Wilfork said. "Hes just one hell of a person, not just football, but as a person, hes a great, great man.

Brown, 41, was asked at one point if he still felt as though he could play.

"Every once in a while I do," Brown said. "I can call Bill Belichick up right now and tell him I got about four or five good ones in me, but in all actuality it would probably be one play and then Im done."

Yes, he's getting older and he knows it. But he'll always take pride in the fact that as a younger man, he helped build the Patriots franchise into what it's become today.

"You hear people talk all the time about what it means to be a Patriot," Wilfork said. "He's a symbol of a Patriot."

Ratto: Kaepernick controversy touches on hot-button issues in an ugly political year

Ratto: Kaepernick controversy touches on hot-button issues in an ugly political year

Ray Ratto joins Chevrolet SportsNet Central to discuss Colin Kaepernick's decision to not stand during the national anthem before the San Francisco 49ers preseason game.

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

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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."