Last week, Ron Bracewas a popular interview subject in the New England locker room because of his close association with that week's opponent, Falcons QB Matt Ryan. The two were teammates at Boston College.
This week, a similar situation, as Patriots practice squad tight end Robbie Agnonewas college teammates with Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco– not one, but twice.
Both players started their college careers at Pitt, but later transferred to Division I-AA Delaware. Flacco, in fact, left first and was part of the reason why Agnone decided to transfer there. Like Brace, Agnone was a year behind his superstar teammate, but Agnone said today that success hasn't changed his friend.
"He's a real low-key, down-to-earth, relaxed guy," Agnone observed. "He's just the same old dude he was at Delaware. You know, coming from a small school, I think a lot of guys that go and then have the success he's had, kind of shoots to their head. But he's the exact same guy he's been his whole life."
Agnone said he knew from the moment he met Flacco at Pitt that he was destined for stardom in the NFL.
"He's 6-7, has a rifle arm, and he's athletic. So, I always knew he was good, but I think his senior year, my junior year … he never missed a practice, and we throw 50 balls at practice and it never hits the ground. He's just one of the most accurate passers I've been around."
From what Agnone's seen of Flacco at the pro level, he said he's not surprised that his old teammate keeps getting better.
"He's just sharpened up everything. I mean, he has a lot of the same tendencies and does a lot of the same things that he did at Delaware. Everything's just gotten that much better.
"Going into the season, he had said they were going to throw the ball more, put him in more of a position to make plays, you know," Agnone continued. "Instead of being in there not to lose the game, now he's in there to win it."
Despite going their separate ways in the NFL, the two have remained close and still talk often.
"Oh yeah, we talk all the time. I haven't talked to him yet this week, but we talk on a weekly basis."
Glove will save the day
In anticipation of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the NFL is encouraging players to wear pink accessories (the official color of the cause) during games, starting this weekend.
Players have the option of wearing neon, hot pink gloves, sweatbands, towels … even cleats. At least 100 players are expected to wear the pink shoes, but Patriots RB Laurence Maroneyis only going to sport the gloves.
However, Maroney's not just taking part to draw attention to himself. He revealed that he has an aunt who's a breast cancer survivor, and that every year, in his hometown of St. Louis, he takes part in a breast cancer walk to help raise money for and awareness of the cause.
When Reebok, the Patriots apparel outfitter, approached Maroney about wearing the pink gloves, he immediately agreed.
"I really didn't get all the details behind it, but I said, 'No problem. I'd love to do that.'
"I'll get a couple of laughs," he added with his trademark grin, "but it's for a good cause."
Wednesday locker room/practice notes
LB Jerod Mayo, NT Vince Wilfork, and OL Nick Kaczurwere absent from practice on Wednesday. Those who were on the field were practicing in shells and sweats.
Five players were awarded black, practice-player-of-the-week jerseys: safety Matthew Slater, RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, LB Tully Banta-Cain, and practice squad members QB Isaiah Stanbackand CB Kyle Arrington. DL Titus Adams didn't have a black shirt, but he won the Dirty Show Champions belt, which is given to the best of the practice players of the week.
Terdell Sands, the newest member of the squad, made quite the debut on Wednesday. The 6-7, 335-pound defensive lineman, who was signed Tuesday, walked through the locker room and even some of his new teammates were astounded by how large he looked in person.
WR Randy Mossgave us a sneak peek at the pink gloves. He wore a pair at practice on Wednesday.