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Patriots.com News Blitz - 03/21/06

Ron Borges of the Boston Globe and Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant reports that NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue will be retiring in July. Barely 12 days after cobbling together a coalition of nine owners to force through an 11th-hour extension of the collective bargaining agreement, the National Football League commissioner notified the 32 franchise holders via e-mail yesterday that he would be stepping down as leader of the most successful professional sports organization in America in July, unless his successor is not in place. "Paul is one of the greatest professional managers of all time," Robert Kraft said. "He's all business, but he's a man of substance. We lucked out. We came into the NFL after Paul had gone through his learning curve as commissioner. Had the cap not been in place, I'm not sure I'd have bought in. I might have, but with a lot of reluctance. From that deal, and the relationship he forged with Upshaw, a lot of great things have grown. Paul is a brilliant strategic thinker. He's three to five steps ahead of the people he's dealing with."

The Providence Journal offers highlights of the Paul Tagliabue Era (1989-2006).

USA Today offers it's free agent roundup and notes that former Patriots cornerback Tyrone Poole has signed a two-year deal with the Oakland Raiders.

Who will be harder to replace, wide receiver David Givens or outside linebacker Willie McGinest? USA Today's "Inside Slant" tries to answer the question.

Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe and Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant report that the Patriots signed former San Diego Chargers wide receiver Reche Caldwell on Friday. Caldwell, the Chargers' second-round draft pick in 2002, started only 14 games with the Chargers in four seasons and is deemed a disappointment as the 48th overall pick. Caldwell has 76 receptions for 950 yards and 7 TDs in his career. "Reche made the comment to me after he met with [Patriots coach Bill] Belichick that he was excited about the team's offense," said Tony Fleming, Caldwell's agent. "He said there were some routes he had never seen before, but he really felt like it was a system designed for a quarterback and receiver to make some plays. He knows what the organization has done and he knows what type of quarterback is there. He sees it as an opportunity of a lifetime."

Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes. Reiss also offers his latest Patriots mailbag which discusses the departure of wide receiver David Givens and the future of linebacker Willie McGinest.

Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.

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