Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that Tom Brady addressed the media yesterday at Gillette Stadium. The quarterback touched on a number of subjects in a 30-minute press conference attended by a horde of reporters that matched the group that covered the Patriots' draft last weekend. Brady expressed affection for owner Robert Kraft, talked about how much he would miss departed teammates Willie McGinest, Adam Vinatieri, and David Givens, and reiterated his love for the game and desire to return to the Super Bowl.
John Tomase of the Boston Herald explores Patriots first round pick Laurence Maroney's road to the NFL. Maroney's former offensive coordinator Mitch Browning characterized the running back as a "blue-collar guy with a blue-collar attitude. He takes tough coaching. You can chew his butt out and he'll respond. He never pouted or complained about anything. He's a tremendous kid. He has absolutely no baggage. Unlike a lot of guys you're reading about, he went to class. And he was never taken care of on the sly."
Albert Breer of the MetroWest Daily News writes that quarterback Tom Brady during his press conference at Gillette Stadium yesterday said he hoped Doug Flutie would stick around for another season. "Doug is just an awesome guy," the Patriots quarterback said. "I would love for him to be here. I would love for him to be a part of our team and he adds an awful lot. I don't know how that's going to work out." After a report late Sunday that Flutie was retiring, the former Heisman Trophy winner's camp quickly dismissed the notion. His agent, Kristen Kuliga, said she expected a decision to come down this week. Four days later, all remains quiet.
Albert Breer of the MetroWest Daily News also writes that the Patriots loss to the Denver Broncos in the playoffs still weighs heavy on quarterback Tom Brady and has pushed him to work even harder for this season. "That's going to sit with me for a long time," said Brady yesterday before confirming that he's spent more of his downtime in Foxboro this year than ever before.
John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes that if you see a tripped-out GNC Denali with decals of the Kool-Aid pitcher on the hood and seat covers, honk and say hi. You just passed Laurence Maroney. That sugary staple of children everywhere also serves as the newest Patriot's nickname. It turns out Maroney and childhood friend Adonis Redman were lighting matches in front of Maroney's house when the lawn caught fire. Not knowing what to do, Maroney ran inside and grabbed the first liquid he saw - a pitcher of Kool-Aid. "But the sugar made it blaze up even more. I put out a fire with Kool-Aid in first grade and they've been calling me that ever since," Maroney said.
Shalise Manza Young of the Providence Journal writes that Patriots' quarterback expressed his excitement for the coming season, saying he thinks New England will have an "awesome season." Having finally felt the disappointment of postseason defeat -- Brady began his career 10-0 in the playoffs before January's second-round loss in Denver -- reports are that he has spent more time in the bowels of Gillette Stadium this offseason than in any of his six previous seasons, working out, working with his teammates and working on the mistakes that led to his team's elimination. "I enjoy being here, I enjoy working out," he explained when asked if the extra work is done out of frustration from the Broncos loss. "I enjoy being here with the guys and I don't ever feel like I'm obligated to be here; I feel like it's part of my responsibility to show people, hey, I'm working out and I'm doing everything I can to get us going in the right direction."
Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant writes that some have suggested that in losing players such as Adam Vinatieri (Colts), Willie McGinest (Browns) and David Givens (Titans), the worst hit the Patriots have ever taken in free agency, Brady's team is going in the wrong direction. "We've lost a lot," Brady admitted. "There is a lot of value in those guys. So it's obviously tough. Who wouldn't want David Givens? Who wouldn't want Willie? Who wouldn't want Adam? We'd love to have those guys. Willie ... he was like the grandfather in the locker room. You all knew where Willie sat. When you walked out that locker room door, Willie was the last person you'd see. Willie would regulate the locker room. He'd regulate the airplane. He'd regulate the hotel. There was nothing that ever got by Willie. I was scared of Willie. Every time I looked at Willie, I was like `Man, I never want to mess with Willie.' And he's one of my best friends." Although Brady said he makes his opinions known to Belichick during the weekly captains meetings, he hasn't talked about the personnel changes. "It's hard to beat yourself up as a player and say, 'God I wish this guy would come back,'" he said. "All I can do is worry about whoever is here and throw the ball to the open guy."
Eric McHugh of the Patriot Ledger writes the Florida head coach Urban Meyer seems to have become the Patriots' latest go-to guy in the college ranks. Florida had only three players drafted last weekend, and two of them - receiver Chad Jackson (second round) and defensive end Jeremy Mincey (sixth round) - were snatched up by the Patriots. The third, cornerback Dee Webb, went to Jacksonville in Round 7. Meyer knows all about the type of college player the Patriots are seeking. He got it straight from the horse's mouth. "Last year he wanted to come down and spend some time with us," Meyer said of Belichick, who was a celebrity at Florida's pro day this spring. "Well, I'm not sure he wanted to spend as much time (as he did), but I cornered him and locked the door and spent about five or six hours with him. I think we hit it off a little bit."
Eric McHugh of the Patriot Ledger also offers his comments on each player of the Patriots 2006 draft class.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.