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Patriots.com News Blitz - 5/23/2006

Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa of the Boston Herald's "Inside Track" report that Disney is in negotiations with the New England Patriots to use the three-time, Super Bowl winning team in it's upcoming movie "Daddy's Girl." The Track also reports that retired Patriot Ted Johnson has opted not to return to CBS4 this fall where he did football commentary with Bob Lobel, Steve Burton and the Channel 4 sports team.

Anthony Hanshew of The Herald-Dispatch writes that a record crowd of more than 600 campers attended the pair of instructional sessions at Joan C. Edwards Stadium on the Marshall University campus and took place from Saturday, May 20th to Sunday, May 21st. The Bartrum and Brown camp is hosted by Philadelphia Eagles longsnapper, Mike Bartrum and New England Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown. New England Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch and New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington also volunteered their services. The camp offered football instruction to kids between the grades 1-7.

Michael Parente of the Woonsockett Call writes that now that Doug Flutie has officially retired, the New England Patriots need a new backup quarterback. Who better to turn to than someone with ample experience warming the bench? After playing behind Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart at Southern California, second-year pro Matt Cassel is the frontrunner to become Tom Brady's backup in New England next season. Cassel never started a game in college and spent his rookie year with the Patriots as the third quarterback before attempting 20 passes in the regular-season finale against Miami, so he's used to playing second fiddle. Other than Brady, he's now the only quarterback on the team who's taken snaps in an NFL game.

Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe writes that when Bethel Johnson joined the Patriots as a second-round draft choice in 2003, expectations were high. He was the fifth wide receiver taken, 45th overall. Now he's fighting to keep his career afloat. The Patriots are seeking a No. 2 receiver following the free agent departure of David Givens, and the speedy Johnson would like to be considered for the role. But with just 34 catches (including playoffs) over the last three years, he hasn't emerged as he'd hoped. Perhaps the low point came in last season's playoffs, when he was inactive for both of the Patriots' games. "It's hard for me to sit here and watch. I hate it. I hate it with a passion," Johnson said after a recent workout at Gillette Stadium. "I've been totally disappointed."

USA Today's "Inside Slant" writes that despite losing starter Willie McGinest in free agency, the Patriots again waited until Day 2 of this year's draft to address the position. Nevertheless, at the recent rookie minicamp, the Patriots had four intriguing newcomers to eyeball - sixth-round pick Jeremy Mincey of Florida, and undrafted free agents Pierre Woods (Michigan), Freddie Roach (Alabama) and Corey Mays (Notre Dame). Mincey and Woods project as outside linebackers, while Roach and Mays will try to carve out niches inside. Mincey (6-3, 263 pounds) has the best chance of sticking, provided he can make the conversion from college defensive end.

Albert Breer of the MetroWest Daily News writes that there could be several interesting players out there for the Patriots, including two at linebacker. San Diego Chargers veteran Donnie Edwards and University of Virginia's Ahmad Brooks both could pair with Tedy Bruschi inside, enabling Mike Vrabel to move back outside. Edwards and the Chargers have reportedly been at odds throughout the offseason and a serious rift seems to have developed between he and general manager A.J. Smith. Some expect San Diego to either waive or trade the 33-year-old. Brooks may be even more enticing. The 6-4, 260-pounder reportedly runs the 40 in the 4.5-second range. Before an injury-marred junior year, he was a Butkus Award finalist, first-team All-American and top 10 draft lock. Because he planned to return to Virginia for his senior season and missed the draft deadline, Brooks will be available in the July 13 supplemental draft. The Patriots will be slotted to pick in the bottom 12 of each round, and if they exercise a first-rounder on Brooks - who may not even be available at that point - they forfeit their first-rounder in next April's regular draft.

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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