Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, Ted Johnson, Willie McGinest, and Adam Vinatieri -- players on three championship teams -- are gone through a salary cap casualty, contract dispute, or retirement. The remaining core left are now Tedy Bruschi and Troy Brown. Bruschi spoke to the media yesterday at Gillette Stadium about the recent loss of kicker Adam Vinatieri and linebacker Willie McGinest. "'This year was a little bit different, seeing Willie go and Adam go," Bruschi said yesterday at Gillette Stadium. ''I was a rookie with Adam here, and Willie, I've won a lot of football games, lost a lot of football games with him. Seeing them leave was especially hard because those are my guys that you won Super Bowls with. You get discouraged about it but you realize once they hold up those jerseys with different colors, that's it."
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald writes that defensive end Ty Warren and guard Stephen Neal also met with the media, with Warren saying that McGinest dropped hints about leaving soon after the playoff loss in Denver and Neal acknowledging that the Pats' offer (four years, $10 million, $3.5 million bonus) was competitive with the others he received on the open market. It's all about the business of free agency, something Bruschi still fights. "I see and I know the business aspect, but I still don't want to look at that because I don't think this is a real job, to tell you the truth," he said. "All we're doing is playing football. There are a lot of financial implications, but come on, I haven't had a real job since I stacked Budweiser back in college. My neighbor teaches Kindergarten. That's a real job. This is just having fun if you ask me." Bruschi is among a group of Patriots players (including Tom Brady, Mike Vrabel, Jarvis Green and Matt Light) who decided to re-sign with the team well before hitting the open market, thereby leaving some money on the table. Bruschi said he has absolutely no regrets, especially given the mild stroke he suffered last February.
The Boston Herald's "Inside Track" reports that before New England Patriots turn-coat kicker Adam Vinatieri flees for Indianapolis, he'll pop by the Arthritis Foundation's office in Warwick, R.I. today to donate two pairs of his Super Bowl cleats. The new Indianapolis Colt has previously donated his Super Bowl XXXVI cleats as well as those that he wore when he booted the winning points at the 2001 "Snow Bowl."
Leading up to the NFL Draft, the Providence Journal's Tom Curran will profile a player at a "need" position for the Patriots each day. New England has 10 picks in the draft, six in the first four rounds. Their first-round pick is the 21st overall. Today's Curran profiles running back Joseph Addai from LSU.
Mark Farinella of the Sun Chroncicle writes that the NFL announced its schedule of nationally televised preseason games on Wednesday, and two of the Patriots' four tuneups will be broadcast to a national audience - although one will get relatively limited exposure on the league's own cable network. The complete schedule will be released later this spring.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.