Call it a rookie mistake.
During a break in mini camp this past weekend, former Michigan LB Shawn Crable explained how the Patriots front office had a tough time getting in touch with him on draft day.
"The first time they called me I kept hanging up on them," said Crable. "I saw it come up as 'restricted' and I was like, 'I gotta clear my line, somebody might be trying to call.' When I finally picked up, they were like, 'Why did it keep going to voicemail?' And I was like, 'That was y'all?' So I thought they were mad at me. And then they said they were going to call me back and I was like, `Aww, I messed up.'"
Fellow 'backer Bo Ruud, late of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, compared playing in New England - a notoriously rabid sports region - to the atmosphere he witnessed in college.
"It's a big deal in our state," Ruud said when asked to describe game day in Nebraska. "Everything shuts down. The whole state does on game day. That's the best way to describe it. All the streets, every bar, every store is filled with people. It's pretty special."
Rookie free agent TE Jonathan Stupar, meantime, revealed that he plays with a serious heart condition known as Wolfe-Parkinson-White Syndrome. It was diagnosed almost by accident, when he suffered apparent side effects from a broken foot a few years ago.
"It was a really scary time," he admitted over the weekend. "It's not that much of a concern to people who aren't exerting themselves every day, but for someone at the college level or the professional level, someone who exerts himself that much, it's really an issue because your heart can either stop or it can beat twice as fast. It's something that was a miracle that they ended up catching, and I'm really lucky to be here today."
His medical problem aside, the odds would be heavily against Stupar or any other undrafted free agent to make an NFL squad. But the Patriots have a recent history of success with such players, as the Boston Herald indicates.