While the Patriots have gotten to work this week in the team's offseason program in Foxborough, New England safety Nate Ebner is far away putting in a very different kind of work.
After re-signing with the team this offseason, Ebner was given permission to pursue a spot on the 2016 Olympic rugby team for this summer's games in Rio.
Ebner played rugby throughout his youth and while at Ohio State, and the* Boston Globe* makes it clear that the memory of his late father, a lifelong rugby man in his own right, is pushing the New England special teams star toward his Olympic dream.
Now just a week away, the buzz is building around the 2016 NFL Draft. The Globe looks at the trades made over the last week with the Rams and Eagles moving up to the top two selections, likely in pursuit of franchise QBs. The deal with the Philly for the No. 2 pick gives the Browns a lot of capital to try to rebuild the floundering franchise.
The* Boston Herald looks at the Patriots offensive dominance over the last decade, which has come without the team investing many high draft picks at the wide receiver position. The *Herald's *Inside Track notes Tom Brady was part of a panel on the crisis of youth athletics funding at the Tribeca Film Festival. The *Herald also has thePanthers rescinding the franchise tag they had placee on Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman, making the star an unrestricted free agent at this relatively late point in the offseason process.
ESPN passes along word that leading Republican presedential candidate Donald Trump was booed when he brought up Brady's name at a rally in Ravens country in Maryland.
ESPNBoston.com says that history tells us that Shea McClellin should be a good fit on the Patriots defense this fall given his versatile skills. The site also wonders if Brady's career would have been the same had he not been drafted by New England. ESPNBoston.com also says the Patriots could find long-term solutions at running back and cornerback in next week's draft.
WEEI.com's continued look at potential Patriots prospects breaks down Duke safety Jeremy Cash. The site also reports that another safety, Boston College's Justin Simmons, visited Foxborough for a pre-draft visit with New England.
CSSNNE.com passes along word that Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett also recently visited with the Patriots, as did Utah running back Devontae Booker.
NFL.com looks at where Norman might land now that he's free to roam the open waters of free agency. Not sure there is anything dumber than "re-drafting" a class just a year removed from the actual draft order, but NFL.com does just that with the quarterback and running back positions.
Though such a description would clearly be up for debate, Boston.com offers up what it thinks the perfect Patriots draft would look like.
CBS Boston notes that AOL has dubbed the Patriots the "most attractive" NFL team based on looks. No word on whether the staff of the team's web site/newspaper factored into the assessment.