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News Blitz 3/21: A Fairley interesting meeting?

BOCA RATON, Fla. – As the NFL owners, GMs, and coaches prepare to convene for their annual business meetings, a reporter covering the Rams broke some Patriots-related news this morning.

Fairley is a player in whom the Patriots reportedly expressed some interest last offseason, but he ultimately signed with St. Louis after four years in Detroit (he was the Lions' first-round choice in 2011). He's a talented defensive lineman, and the Patriots certainly could use another one or two of those, but he also has a reputation for being a bit of a dirty player, which New England might have to consider.

Meanwhile, another defensive lineman who has actually signed with the club already is deciding on a jersey number. Chris Long had an exchange with fans on his Twitter account about the matter, as ESPN points out in a blog post.

The *Boston Herald *has a column focusing on Bill Belichick's personnel decisions over the years and comes down in support of his often controversial moves.

"[I]t's just hard to argue with Belichick's success," the author writes. "His decisions are predicated on team success. That's not to say he's always right, but he's had a darn good track record on knowing when to move on from a player, especially when you look at the bigger picture."

In other free agent news, the Bills are lamenting the loss of WR Chris Hogan to New England, as CSNNE.com details.

"We're sorry we're gonna lose him," Bills GM Doug Whaley told CSNNE. "And add the fact that we're gonna have to deal with him with the other end of that being [Tom] Brady, it's a tough matchup because he's a talented person."

In another CSNNE story, the Chargers president is praising the Patriots for signing one of his former players, RB Donald Brown.

"He is such a perfect Patriots signing," said John Spanos. "I would bet anything he's going to be a productive player for them."

One person who wouldn't talk with CSNNE was the agent for TE Rob Gronkowski when the subject of Gronk's contract came up. That story is newsworthy given the All-Pro tight end's recent half-joking tweet about taking a "pay cut."

As noted above, the focus of the NFL is on its annual meeting, taking place down here in somewhat sunny Florida, and while there's little involving the Patriots specifically, there are a few teams who are supporting a measure that Belichick tried to institute the past couple of seasons. *The Providence Journal *has more on that.

We're expecting to hear from Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Monday here on Boca Raton, then Belichick on Tuesday morning. Be on the lookout for our written and video reports on both of them right here on patriots.com.

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