Tom Curran of the Providence Journal reports that both Tom Brady and Richard Seymour have chosen not to attend the pro bowl as they recover from injuries. Bothered by a tender right shoulder, an injured calf and a nagging lower abdominal injury for much of the season, Brady was advised to sit out the Feb. 12 all-star game in Honolulu. He'll be replaced by Kansas City quarterback Trent Green. Casey Hampton will replace injured Patriots lineman Richard Seymour on the pro bowl roster.
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald writes that in replacing three coordinators in the span of 11 months, Bill Belichick has kept his moves firmly in-house. His hires have either come from his cadre of young assistants (Eric Mangini, Josh McDaniels) or from within his extended coaching tree (Dean Pees). Long-trusted lieutenants Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel - and now Mangini - are gone, but the playbooks are unchanged and Belichick's scheme is intact. It's been turnover without turmoil. The bad news for the Patriots is that Belichick's approach has come at the expense of experience. In tabbing McDaniels to replace Weis as the primary play-caller last year and as the official offensive coordinator earlier this month, Belichick has turned to a 29-year-old with just two years of experience as a full-time positional assistant. In picking Pees to replace Mangini on defense, Belichick has gone with someone who has coached for 33 years, but for only two seasons in the NFL. McDaniels suffered some growing pains last year, as did Mangini. The Patriots can only hope that McDaniels is a fast learner and that Pees is a quick study.
Ron Borges of the Boston Globe writes that ever since Doug Flutie's dropkick split the uprights on New Year's Day, the Patriots had searched for the football that was literally a footnote to history. Because the Patriots had lined up before Flutie's kick as if it were a play from scrimmage, the net was not raised behind the goalposts, so the ball went into the stands and the waiting arms of a fan who shall remain anonymous at the Patriots' insistence. The Patriots received a fax recently from a lawyer representing the fan that is in possession of the ball. The fan is reportedly demanding $100,000 dollars for the ball, a guarantee of 8 season tickets for 25 years in the endzone (the fan would pay for the tickets), and a Tom Brady jersey signed by the entire team.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that though he was cut by Bill Belichick off the Patriots' practice squad late in 2000, wide receiver Sean Morey, a seventh-round pick of the Patriots in 1999, wouldn't go away. He kept plugging away at an NFL job, competing against his football-factory contemporaries after a storied career at Brown, where he was the Ivy League Player of the Year in 1997. Next Sunday, he will become the first Brown player in history to play in the Super Bowl. He has already played in four conference championship games, two for the Philadelphia Eagles and two for the Pittsburgh Steelers. But he never got to the Super Bowl, being cut by the Patriots a year before they made the Super Bowl and by the Eagles a year before they made it.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.