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Patriots.com News Blitz - 3/23/2012
Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com writes that Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer has signed his restricted free-agent tender, according to Adam Caplan of Sirius XM NFL Radio. Hoyer had originally been tendered at the second-round level, but will now be back with the Patriots next season.
ESPNBoston.com also points out that ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter fully expects Chad Ochocinco to be back with the Patriots next season. Schefter states, "Ochocinco will be back in New England next year. They believe that he'll spend this offseason immersing himself in the playbook, familiarizing himself with the Patriots' offense. They're going to bring all these wide receivers in and let them compete in training camp and the best receivers will play."
Ian R. Rapoport of The Boston Herald writes about Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski's appearence on Sports Illustrated's Hot Clicks podcast, which can be heard here. During the podcast, Gronkowski gave an update on his recovery from ankle surgery. "Walking around a little bit," Gronkowski said. "It's definitely getting better. It's been about five and a half weeks now, and we're taking it week by week, day by day. Can't wait to be 100 percent so I can do what I need to do in the offseason."
Christopher Price of WEEI.com examines what the Patriots running game might look like in the post-Green-Ellis era. Price writes that if you're putting together a depth chart right now, Stevan Ridley should be at the top of the list. "The late-season ball-security issues were certainly troubling, but as long as he stays away from putting the ball on the ground, there's no reason to think that right now he's not the lead back in the rotation," explains Price. He also notes Cedric Benson, Brandon Jacobs, Joseph Addai, and Thomas Jones as possible veteran options still available in free-agency.
Jeff Howe of NESN.com writes that former running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis thanked the Patriots organization and their fans via Twitter before heading to the Cincinnati Bengals. Green-Ellis tweeted, "Pats Nation: First, I would like to thank Mr. Kraft and his family for giving me an opportunity to live my dream." He continued, "Many thanks to Coach Belichick and all the other coaches who develop me in my career in New England." "How many ways can I thank my dedicated fans for your heart felt love and support -THANK YOU. Its been a blessing to be a Patriot. #MHK player."