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Ask PFW: Brown, other departures, leave fans blue

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]()I've heard that a negative reputation is spreading around the league concerning Troy Brown's release. Players don't want to go [to New England] with incentive laden deals cuz the Pats don't honor them like in Brown's case. What do u think of that?*Moses*

Ok, I was upset about the whole Ty Law being cut thing, but TROY BROWN?! That is just ludicrous! Troy played awesome in both of his roles this past season. He played all 12 years of his NFL career in New England and they just cut him? I am a HUGE Patriots fan and I can't believe what has been happening over the past week: Ty Law cut, Roman Phifer cut, and now the impressive team player Troy Brown. Hope this doesn't hurt our chances next year......
Tim Pokraka

What are the PATS thinking? To cut a guy that had done EVERYTHING asked? We are talking about Troy Brown. I love the Patriots but I am devastated they did not do right by this man. Talk to Bob Kraft. Maybe he can reason with the penny pinching Bill B. Don't let them take away what has made this team special. Spend the money right.Shelley Brown
Cohasset, Mass.

Dear Ask PFW, I've been a big fan of your work for the last few years now (being only 19 and recently into true football) and I just want to thank you for your work. Now onto the question! Recently as all Patriots fans know we've been losing quite a few of our veterans...Troy Brown, Joe Andruzzi, etc...Where do you think the Pats will make up for the loss, draft or free agency? Wouldn't the draft be the best option? We certainly showed last year that we could tie together the right ends, what with our "makeshift secondary." Do we even need a ton of veterans while we're able to get such great production out of our younger players and rookies? Not to mention that it would be much cheaper for us to just make up the player loss in the draft rather than what appears to be an expensive free agency.Jason Andreas

First let me say thanks for doing such a great job, it's been great being able to follow the Patriots since I got here in Texas. O.K. you probably heard this question a million times but I have to ask, what type of draft compensation will the patriots get for John Andruzzi and David Patten, and have the Patriots got anybody on their radar as replacements to replace Troy Brown and Patten? The receiver corps looks a bit thin with just P.K. Sam, Bethel Johnson and Deion Branch. Do you see Johnson and Sam as being able to contribute, Johnson is going into his third season and I think he really needs to take the next step? Thanks again guys.
Tony Vinci
Waco, Texas

Do you think the Pats will release any more Pro Bowlers?Tom Schofield

I just read where Troy Brown has been released. What the? I know a fan shouldn't judge a team by one player, but Troy has done over and above what most other players would have. When I talk about or think about the Patriots, the first player I realize is Troy Brown. If they didn't think he could fit in as wide out, then let him play the other 8 positions he has played with great skill. Some players SHOULD retire with the team they have helped X amount of years. I don't know what Robert Kraft was thinking, but all I can say is, what the?Michael Veronesi

Holy Smokes! I had sent you guys a query some time back (that, in your wisdom, you declined to use) about Troy Brown and the likelihood that he would be back in 2005. At that time, I had some concerns that despite Troy's invaluable contribution to the Patriots Super Bowl run this year (sacrificing his incentive bonuses and wearing himself out playing O, D and STeams), the Pats would cut him for financial reasons. I have been a Patriots fan forever, and have rolled with equanimity through the elimination of Milloy, and now Law (see ya), but TROY BROWN! This is too much. I know money is the name of the professional sports game, but is there NO loyalty to a man who gave 180% (right, TO?) to keep his team afloat? This is horrifying, and I am beginning to think that even business and coaching "genius" do not make up for this ruthless display of disloyalty by the guys in charge. Does morale count for nothing? The good guys don't look so good right now. Please tell me this is just a ploy and Troy will be re-signed.Miranda Good

Has BB become dumb this week, first Law -- no big deal -- then Roman Phifer and now Troy. Come on! I can see Roman going away, but Troy Brown probably one of the most versatile players in the league what is BB thinking? I really see this as the end of the dynasty!!!! We need Troy Brown, and come on give Tom Brady the contract he deserves before we lose him.Richard Anderson

Please tell me the Patriots are going to work out a deal with Troy Brown. I know he's getting old, but for Pats sake the man has done everything he can to help us win games. I understand Ty Law wanted more money to stay, so he was let go, so that doesn't hurt as much as this. Down Town Troy Brown deserves to finish his career with New England. I know that we should trust Bill, but getting rid of milestone players like Brown is not worth winning another Super Bowl. I've followed the Patriots since the time Brown started playing, and the guy is like a family member, please tell me something is going to be done to sign him back.
Mike Kowalczyk

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]()How can you say a player does everything you ask him to, overcomes 2 separate injuries to play most of the season on offense, defense and special teams, absolutely epitomizes the term "team player", and isn't particularly expensive comparatively speaking, and not pick up his option? I've been disgruntled with the loss of Lawyer Milloy and Ty Law as well as others. But, Troy Brown represents the highest standard of what Patriots fans would like to believe this team is all about. Can you afford to lose a guy like Troy and maintain any sense of patriotism to the Pats amongst fans and players? I can't imagine anyone more deserving of a lifetime contract.*Bob Suzor*

What the [heck] is wrong with the Patriots? Releasing Ty and Roman weren't enough, now they part ways with Troy? He is the quintessential New England Patriot and has not only spent his entire career over here, but has done anything that was asked of him. He sacrificed bonus money this year to play on Defense because the team needed him to. Kraft preaches that this is a team and that the players are so important to him and to the coaches. At this moment, I think that is just lip service. I have been a fan of this team for too many years to count and as thrilled as I am with their most recent success, it wouldn't be possible without players like Troy. Doesn't the Kraft family have any loyalty at all. No wonder some people from the outside feel this organization is very cold. With all these moves this is exactly what they are portraying. Shame on you Bob and Bill, to cut Troy was wrong and plain stupid.Chandrika

You know, every so often a player comes along who does his job, does it well, and is more than just a player. He means more to his team, fans and community than what his numbers may say. Troy, to me, and every other Patriots fan, is more than just a 4th receiver or a nickel back. More than just a punt returner. He is what the Patriots are supposed to be all about. He has foregone his own glory (and money) to do what was best for the team so that we could all celebrate another Championship. Now, I have a hard time understanding how you would pay Ty Law over 10 million dollars last year-when he proved that it wasn't about the team. Now, you won't pay Troy the 5 million dollars that he has earned more than ANY PLAYER EVER IN NEW ENGLAND? I am disgusted. Why the hypocrisy? I would give back the 3 Championships in a heartbeat to keep the team's integrity by keeping Troy here. He deserves this. He should finish out his career in New England. You should do whatever it takes to keep Troy here. He is a true Patriot and you need to remember who has gotten us all to this pinnacle. After every super bowl win Mr. Kraft makes it a point to stress the words "team concept" and "true patriots." Now he is letting our "team concept" and most of all-OUR "true patriot" go.Brian Maslar

For all the times I have said to myself, "man I would love to be a front office person". Yesterday I realized that I don't have it in me. Releasing Troy Brown was sad news -- a respected veteran, three-way player and great team player. Even though his cap number would have been $5 million, I just could not have done it. Somewhere in the equation, loyalty would have tripped me up... I am not second guessing BB and company, just saddened. Is there anyway he could come back at a more realistic cap number.
PJ Neal

Just hoping my message somehow makes it to whoever is responsible for letting Troy Brown go. I know there's still a chance he'll remain a Patriot, but this is an outrage to fans. Troy Brown is exactly the type of player the team needs. He excelled last year on defense and he was one of the hardest working players on the team, which in itself is hard to single out. And this is the treatment he gets? And over money ? I understand the salary cap, but this has just outraged me more than anything else. If Tedy Bruschi doesn't come back and with Troy Brown gone, I just won't feel the same about this New England Patriots team anymore. Go Dallas !!!Stephen Moore

I have long since quit questioning the moves of BB and Pioli, but my heart goes out to Troy Brown in this latest round of cuts by the Pats. Last year Troy moved to the top of my list of all time favorite Patriot players for the selfless roles he played for the betterment of the team. The guy was just an inspiration for the fans and the team as well. From an emotional standpoint, you want to take care of Troy and reward him for his sacrifices. As we all have seen however, the Pats don't view personnel decisions with any emotion whatsoever. I only hope that Troy gets rewarded somewhere down the line (besides his 3 PHAT Super Bowl Rings of course!!!). And Troy, if you read this... Thank you for a season of unbelievable memories, what you accomplished (in all phases of the game) was truly remarkable and will always be remembered.
Jay Miller

What's with the mass exodus of key players? I know it's a business but the "Patriots Way of Business has always been; TEAM and CHAMPIONSHIPS are more important. Unbelievable and sad. As I die hard Pats fan in NY I unfortunately think the run is over...How does this team recover? This is crazy.P.J Dyring

Well there you have it, fans have reacted to the departure of Troy Brown with an emotion and fire that has never been seen before in Patriots Nation. Is it fair? I don't know. Is it part of the game? No question. Life as a player in the NFL is rarely fair, that's just the way it is in a league without guaranteed contracts. But one thing I sort of have to disagree with is the amount of venom that is targeted at Robert Kraft. Mr. Kraft has allowed Belichick to take total control of the football side of the franchise and has been rewarded with three Super Bowl wins in four seasons. This was a football decision and those fall under Belichick and Pioli, not Kraft. While I understand fans feeling lost without Brown, I think it would be even worse for the team in the long run if Kraft had somehow undercut Belichick's authority and forced him to keep Brown. We all know how that worked out in the early days of the Kraft ownership with Bill Parcells, Bobby Grier and Co.
One thing that shocks me is the fact that many fans claim they would give back the three Lombardi Trophies to keep Brown around. Is that an honest statement or more an irrational and emotional response? I don't know, but it certainly shows how much fans think of Brown and what he meant to this franchise over the last decade-plus. If he doesn't return at a reduced cost he will be missed and how that reverberates throughout the fan base, organization and players won't be known for quite sometime. If Brown is angry over the decision (and I don't know that he is) and shares that anger with is former teammates, it could be a problem in the locker room. If not, then even as emotional as fans are right now I think they will get past this loss too as they have done with others in the past. That is, as long as Belichick and Co. keep on winning. If/when the losing begins, these small fires turn into all-out blazes.
Andy Hart

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]()C'mon guys please answer my question, I've yet to be posted on the Ask PFW columns yet I read it every week. I'm a die-hard Patriots fan and Ty Law has always been among my favorite players. With his Patriots career now concluded, do you think he accomplished enough to be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame and possibly even have his number retired. I think he has now that he is the franchise's career leader in interceptions and touchdown returns. But more telling I think was his ability to shut down any receiver in the NFL, allowing the Patriots to be more creative defensively. Without a doubt he has always been known to play his best in the biggest games, which is so underrated among today's athletes. He was one of the biggest reasons we now have 3 Super Bowl rings and with a few more good seasons could receive attention for Canton induction. What are your expert opinions?*
*Shawn Frazier

I agree on many of your points. Law will be in the Patriots Hall of Fame some day and a couple more Pro Bowl type seasons could earn him serious consideration for Canton. Say what you want about his attitudes, comments and occasional off-field issues, Law always showed up to play. His pure competitive nature and desire to prove that he was the best player and best athlete on the football field are what helped make him such a great player. And love it or hate it, he was one of more interesting people to listen to in the New England locker room. Law will be missed on and off the field and will definitely go down as one of the great Patriots of all time.
Andy Hart

Hello, We're strongly considering a Mass. vacation this summer and would very much want to attend either Patriots training camp as per 2004 and/or an exhibition game at Gillette stadium. We really need to reserve accommodations very soon. Is there any word yet on the timing/location of training camp in 2005? (Will it be a Gillette again, for example, and starting around last week of July?) How about the first exhibition game at home? Any advice that you could provide would be great! ThanksMichael Hughes

I don't have much to add to what you already know. Training camp will be at Gillette Stadium and will begin sometime in the end of July. The preseason schedule is generally released in the end of March sometime. Sorry I can't offer anything more definite, but keep checking Patriots.com as any information we get on both training camp and the preseason schedule will be posted as soon as it becomes available.
Andy Hart

Great column guys -- read it every week. Being a die hard pats fan for the last 20 years I definitely keep up to date on all their transactions of who's coming and who's going, so my question for you guys is why do you think Scott and Bill aren't making more of a pitch for Plaxico Burress. After hearing we made a substantial offer to a 30-year-old receiver in Derrick Mason only to be shot down, now I hear we may be looking at Ike Hilliard another older veteran that seems to be slowing down, when you could be making a move to get a younger faster receiver that is only 27 years old and has the size we could definitely use in our receiver core. He would free up more room for Branch and Givens (if he's still here) and if the rumors are true Burress has supposedly stated that he would like to go to a team that all ready has a quality tight end, quarterback and running back in place. (graham/watson/brady/dillon) sounds like a match to me. Thanks guys keep up the good work.Jason Hallett

There is no question that Burress has talent. But based on what I have heard and read, the rest of the package leaves something to be desired. Burress has questionable work habits and, in all honesty, has never developed into what he was supposed to be coming out of Michigan State. While he would offer the size and potential ability to add to the New England receiving corps, I just don't think he would be a good fit in the offense or in the locker room.
Andy Hart

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]()Patrick Pass was one of my favorite players last year. When I heard he was re-signed I was really excited. Do you think that he will receive a similar role to last season this upcoming year? Will he still be the starter at fullback, or do you think the Patriots will go into the draft or into free agency to get one?*Greg Knopping*

I don't see any reason why Pass' role would diminish. He was a more active contributor in 2004 and took advantage of most of the opportunities he got. I think he will continue to get plenty of chances to block, run, catch and play on special teams. And I don't think the Patriots will go after a true fullback. I don't think they feel they need a true blocking back for the low percentage of times they line up in the "I" and try to pound the ball out. Most of the team's running plays are more zone blocking/stretch type plays. And when they need a short-yardage fullback they are clearly happy using other players like Richard Seymour, Dan Klecko or Russ Hochstein in that role. Pass is a solid teammate, a hard worker and, assuming he can stay healthy, should once again play a role in the New England offense in 2005 as a valuable, multi-dimensional roster asset.
Andy Hart

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