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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Thu May 23 - 02:00 PM | Tue May 28 - 11:55 AM News Blitz - 04/06/06

In today's news blitz, the Boston Globe reports on the unveiling of flexible scheduling for Sunday night games.

The Boston Globe reports that the NFL plans to hold off scheduling Sunday night games in seven of the final eight weeks -- just as playoff races start heating up -- to ensure the best games are played on NBC. The league must then announce which game will be played Sunday night at least 12 days before the date of the game. The lone exception is the season finale Dec. 31, when the switch must be made no later than six days before the game. Only Sunday games are subject to the flexible schedule that is part of the NFL's $3.6 billion contract with NBC for the Sunday night package.

Jessica Heslam of the Boston Herald writes that a national journalism group has fired off letters to the National Football League and team owners protesting their proposal to ban local TV cameras from the sidelines, a plan that has Hub sports reporters fuming. NFL team owners last month voted to kick local TV cameras off the field. Now, the local stations must get their football feeds - including Patriots games - solely from the NFL.

Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe offers a story on recently departed lineman Tom Ashworth and also ranks the teams needs as 1) Starting receiver; 2) Kicker; 3) Inside/outside linebackers; 4) Defensive back; 5) Running back; 6) Offensive line; 7) Defensive line; 8) Tight end; 9) Quarterback.

The Providence Journal notes that owners Dan Rooney of Pittsburgh and Jerry Richardson of Carolina were appointed yesterday to head the eight-member committee that will search for the successor to commissioner Paul Tagliabue. The group was put together by Tagliabue to ensure that it includes diverse views among the owners. Rooney and Richardson are two of the owners Tagliabue trusts most. Others on the committee include Dallas' Jerry Jones and Oakland's Al Davis, both of whom have often clashed with the commissioner. Robert Kraft of New England, Lamar Hunt of Kansas City, Mike McCaskey of Chicago and Woody Johnson of the New York Jets round out the group.

John Tomase of the Boston Herald and Tom Curran of the Providence Journal writes that cornerback Eric Warfield, the newest edition to a Patriots secondary that struggled for much of last season, spoke candidly yesterday on how he has put his life in perspective and is reinforced by twice weekly visits to Alcoholics Anonymous, where he's reminded of a road he hopes never again to travel. The 30-year-old cornerback seeks a fresh start after eight seasons with the Chiefs, but he's not about to forget where he came from or the struggles he hopes make him a better man. "It's there and it's hard to get rid of," Warfield said yesterday. "I'm trying to take this one day at a time. I've done well and I want to keep it that way."

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 Curran profiles Notre Dame wide receiver Maurice Stovall.

Chris Kennedy ofThe Republican reports that quarterback Doug Flutie was the guest speaker at the Go FIT Breakfast of Champions fundraiser on Tuesday at Bay Path College. After the event, he said he was still unsure whether his playing days were over, but that if he returned, it would only be to the Patriots.

Dan Pires of the *Standard Times * reports that the Patriots announced the signing of safety Mel Mitchell. Mitchell, 27, was an unrestricted free agent who had spent his entire four-year career with the New Orleans Saints. The 6-foot-1, 222-pound defensive back and special teams standout has recorded 64 career special teams tackles in 43 career NFL games. He has also four defensive tackles (3 solo), two forced fumbles on special teams, one fumble recovery on special teams, one blocked punt and one recovery of a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown.

USA Today's "Inside Slant" writes that as the month of March came to a close, ending what is generally the most active free agent period of the NFL offseason, Patriots fans were left wondering what the three-time Super Bowl champions were doing to restock a dwindling roster. While teams like the Browns, Redskins and a whole slew of others were wheeling and dealing their way through the veteran retooling process, New England signed just one unrestricted free agent, wide receiver Reche Caldwell.

Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes. Reiss also offers his latest Patriots mailbag.

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

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