Patriots March Madness
By Christopher Shepard
Hires Agent Brad Blank
Media speculation regarding the health and playing
future of Tedy Bruschi has reached an all time high and apparently was
the impetus for hiring Boston based sports agent, Brad Blank this week. On Wednesday
it was reported that media scrutiny had become so intense a Boston news helicopter
was seen flying over Bruschis North Attleboro, MA home.
to Blank, as reported by the Boston Globe, Bruschi is considering sitting out
the 2005 season, but declined to comment on anything else. Regardless of whether
Bruschis career is over or on hiatus has yet to be determined, but the appearance
of Blank cannot be regarded as positive news for Patriots Nation.
suffered a mild stroke three days after playing in the NFLs Pro Bowl in
February. It was widely reported that Bruschi suffered from a hole in his heart
that may have been the cause of the stroke. Bruschi was scheduled to undergo surgery
in Arizona to repair the hole in his heart last week.
For the heart and
soul of the Patriots and Patriots Nation, these signs are not a good omen. Nor
does it spell the likelihood of Bruschis return to the Patriots next year.
And Bruschi understandably does not want to talk about his health. He doesnt
even want his agent discussing it. On the surface an agent representing an NFL
player is normal and would hardly raise an eyebrow - except in Bruschis
case. Bruschi has acted as his own agent since his rookie year in 1996 and now
for the first time has hired and agent to speak for him.
Bruschi had successfully
negotiated his own contract last year that was reportedly worth $9.1 million over
four years. This includes a $3.5 million signing bonus and up to $1 million dollars
Bruschi is no babe in the woods when it comes to contract
negotiations. However, now there are more than negotiations at stake. Of crucial
importance is whether his stroke, happened as a result of playing in the NFL or
if the stroke was brought on by a congenital heart defect. The lexicon affects
his contract status and how the Patriots address Bruschis injury.
Bruschi is placed on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) then the Patriots
will have to honor his contract. However, if it is discovered that Bruschis
injury resulted from a congenital birth defect and not from an approved NFL injury
and Bruschi retires the team will not have to honor his substantial contract.
The way Bruschis injury is listed could make all the warm fuzzy feeling
between Patriots brass and one of the most beloved Patriots linebackers a thing
of the past. But working these issues out will have to fall on the shoulders of
Bruschis new agent Brad Blank and he is not talking.
LB Don Davis
Bruschis injury might have influenced Don Davis,
a nine-year pro and an unrestricted free agent, re-signing with the New England Patriots on Wednesday. The terms of his contract were undisclosed. However, in
2003, Davis earned a base salary of $335,000 with a signing bonus of $325,000
for a total of $682,000.
Over the course of his career, Davis has found
work as a starter and nickel back but has made his name in special teams play.
In 2003, Davis notched a career high 24 special teams tackles, the second most
on the Patriots squad. Last year, given the plethora of injuries on the Patriots
Defense, Davis was used as a gunner and safety at times due to his excellent coverage
While this re-signing certainly fills a need in the Patriots Linebacker
and special teams corps, Davis is certainly not the replacement for injured Tedy
Bruschi. Davis has played in 37 games in his two years on the Patriots. The Jets
originally drafted Davis in 1995. Davis started for the St. Louis Rams against
the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI.
Patriots Scouting Crowder, Thurman
Now that LB Tedy Bruschis status for next year is uncertain,
the Patriots have some immediate needs at Linebacker. They are considering two
of the strongest linebackers in an overall weak linebacker class; Odell Thurman,
GA and Channing Crowder, FL.
Patriots scouts went down to Georgia
Pro Day on March 23 looking for a LB to deal. Of specific interest is Bulldog
Junior linebacker Odell Thurman. He had a personal workout with not only the Patriots
but with the Rams and Packers as well. One negative factor for Thurman is his
Wonderlic IQ score of 12.
A more likely replacement might be Floridas
ILB, Crowder. At 6'3" 250lbs Channing Crowder, Junior, FL, is the total package
with questions. He has excellent instincts, speed, athleticism and is a team leader.
But he also brings emotional baggage and weak knees. Crowder has also been a very
tough player and is not afraid to play hurt.
Crowders Wonderlic score
of 30 on the test shows that he has the brains to play on a complicated Belichick
coached team. Wonderlic IQ scores do not always predict accurately a players
success in the NFL. For instance, Philladelphia QB, Donovan McNabb took it twice
and scored a 12 and 16.
The Patriots are more likely to get Thurman if
they pursue him than Crowder who is expected to be drafted in the first round
while Thurman most likely would be a 2nd or 3rd round draftee.
his off field antics, Channing Crowder is a better LB, he's smarter and younger
than Thurman. But Thurman is considered a major run stopper so the Patriots would
do well with either linebacker if Bruschi does not return in 2005. However, Thurmans
performance in the NFL Combines has caused his stock rise which is why
the Patriots are interested in the first place.
Where are they now?
Lions showed the money to Damien Woody on Friday. The ex-Patriots Pro Bowl center
is expected to receive approximately $13.7 million in the first three years of
his contract and an $8.25 million signing bonus. When Woody was originally signed
with the Patriots in 2001 his base salary was $275K and he received a $775K signing
bonus. His last year with the Patriots in 2003, Woody earned a little over $2
million in salary and incentives.
15 Minutes with Jarvis Green
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