Thomas Not In The Mix?
One guy definitely not present for the opening of New England's offseason program March 15 was veteran LB Adalius Thomas. The former high-priced free agent signing butted heads with Bill Belichick on a couple occasions last fall to the point where he was a healthy scratch on two separate game day occasions. Many expected Thomas would be released this offseason after three disappointing campaigns in New England, but he remains on the roster.
In an email exchange with the Boston Herald, Thomas indicated that he was unaware that the offseason program had started on March 15, but also disputed comments earlier this offseason from Bart Scott that he'd liked to join his former Ravens teammate with the Jets.
"I've heard of all the chatter up there about me," Thomas wrote to the Herald. "It was about something Bart Scott said on TV, (and) that's not what was said ...I have never told anyone that I wanted to leave and go play for the Jets.
"I have been asked by coaches, reporters (and) players, 'Where are (you) going to play next year?' And my response has been I don't know. I'm still a Patriot unless you know something I don't know, but reporters report any type of hype.
"Not once did anyone of (the media) ... pick up the phone or e-mail and ask if (that) was what I said. So I'm a Patriot until otherwise noted from Bill (Belichick) or the organization."
--T Sebastian Vollmer, a pleasant surprise as a second-round pick last season, is one of the many who's spent virtually the entirety (save for a vacation to his native Germany) of the offseason in Foxborough getting ready for the new season. As a rookie Vollmer started eight games -- five at left tackle and three on the right side. Though long-time starters Matt Light and Nick Kaczur remain with the Patriots -- Light a former All-Pro left tackle and Kaczur having started 62 of his 68 games played over five seasons -- many expect Vollmer to grab a full-time starting role this fall.
"I was here, kept working out, getting a jump on things," he said. "Just trying to get a better understanding of the whole system."
Patriots All Decade Team
--New England has announced its All-Decade team for the 2000s, its decade of dominance in the NFL. Though some of the choices were obvious -- Bill Belichick gets the nod as head coach and Tom Brady at quarterback -- some of the names reflect lesser-known players.
The entirety of the 27-member team, selected by the Patriots Hall of Fame selection committee that's made up of media, former players and team representatives, is as follows:
Offense -- QB Brady; RB Corey Dillon; WRs Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Troy Brown; TE Daniel Graham; Ts Matt Light and Nick Kaczur; Gs Logan Mankins and Joe Andruzzi; C Dan Koppen.
Defense -- DL Richard Seymour, Ty Warren and Vince Wilfork; LBs Willie McGinest, Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi and Roman Phifer; DBs Ty Law, Asante Samuel, Rodney Harrison and Lawyer Milloy.
Special teams -- PK Adam Vinatieri; P Josh Miller; Returner Kevin Faulk; Special teamer Larry Izzo.
Coach - Belichick.
--WR David Patten was a key part of the New England offense from 2001-04, back before the record-breaking days of Randy Moss and Wes Welker. The new/old No. 86 is ready to contribute any way he can to the Patriots these days, having been out of football a year ago.
He's also ready to help bring some positive chemistry back to the team, something he credits with unit's overall success back in the day.
"It was just the camaraderie, the family," Patten said. "Many times, especially over the past year when I didn't have the opportunity to play and was going around speaking to various groups of kids and companies, one thing I reflected on and remember vividly was the family atmosphere.
"We would get out of practice at 3:30, 4 o'clock. You would have an afternoon meeting for about 30 minutes to an hour, but we would spend two to three hours just hanging out in the locker room. I'm absolutely convinced that's what gave us the edge on Sundays.
"They didn't say we were the best; we didn't have the most talent. But the one thing you couldn't argue with was the fact that we had one of the best teams. I think that was because we genuinely enjoyed being around each other. That's what I remember most."
THEY SAID IT:
"Any time you have one of the greatest defensive minds heading the defense, you have to be excited. With the players we have on defense, I think we'll be pretty successful." -- MLB Jerod Mayo on Bill Belichick's decision to spend more time with the defense in 2010 while not naming a defensive coordinator to replace the departed Dean Pees.