Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe cites two sources close to Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch as saying that the team's top wide receiver will not report to the mandatory minicamp that begins this morning at Gillette Stadium. Branch, who is in the final year of a five-year contract, hopes to sign a lucrative extension before the season and is dissatisfied with the status of talks.
Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe offers an injury update on Rodney Harrison. Harrison, who was injured Sept. 25 in Pittsburgh, will not be on the field today when the Patriots began their full-squad minicamp, and he is unlikely to be on the field six weeks from now at the start of training camp. The season opener is Sept. 10 against Buffalo. "I don't think about that," Harrison said of a target date for his return. "I think about how I'm progressing week to week, day to day. I don't worry about the big picture, because I know if I take care of all the small increments, I know at the end of the day I'll have a chance to go back out there, and that's what I'm trying to do." John Tomase of the Boston Herald also offers a similar report.
John Tomase of the Boston Herald offers Tom Brady's reaction to the motorcycle accident that left Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger in a Pittsburgh hospital with a broken jaw and missing most of his teeth. Brady reacted with concern and wished his rival a quick recovery. "Obviously, football is a distant second in his mind right now," Brady said. "Hopefully he's OK, and I'm sure everybody out here feels the same."
Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald reports that former Patriots guard John Hannah will be honored as part of the New England Sports Museum's Tradition program at TD Banknorth Garden. The Tradition salutes athletes "whose accomplishments have helped make Boston the best sports town in the nation." Other honorees include Bruins president Harry Sinden, former Red Sox left fielder Jim Rice, Celtics great Tom "Satch" Sanders, Olympic swimmer Jenny Thompson, and marathoners Dick and Rick Hoyt.
John Tomase of the Boston Herald offers Patriots notes which include injury updates for both Matt Light and Dan Koppen. Plus, Tomase takes a look at Deion Branch's potential holdout as he seeks to negotiate a contract extension.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal writes that even though wide receiver Deion Branch likely will boycott the Patriots' mandatory minicamp in a contract squabble, it's a good bet that he'll play for the team this year.
The Boston Globe's Mike Reiss offers his daily Patriots blog with news and notes.
Previously in the Blitz...
Albert Breer of the MetroWest Daily News offers a story on defensive lineman Ty Warren. Breer writes that since drafting Warren out of Texas A&M in 2003 with the 13th overall pick, the Patriots have played in 48 regular season games and eight postseason contests. For each and every one of them, the 6-foot-5, 300-pounder's been in there on a defense that seems perpetually nicked up. And rarely do you hear of Warren messing up. You might not see his name on the marquee, either, but playing in the Patriots' two-gap, no-glory-for-the-grunts scheme, that's not part of a lineman's job description anyhow.
The Boston Herald's "Inside Track" reports that the New England Patriots have just returned from their swimsuit calendar photo shoot that took place at Sanibel Harbour Resort in Florida. The calendar will be available for purchase on www.patriots.com in August.
Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that the Patriots will hit the field on Tuesday for a mandatory minicamp. Solomon outlines several subplots to look for during this upcoming minicamp that may continue on to the regular season.
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald discusses the disappointing performance from Patriots free safety Eugene Wilson last season. Playing next to Rodney Harrison his first two years in the league, Wilson looked like a future Pro Bowler at free safety. He was good with his hands (four interceptions each season) and quick to initiate contact (three forced fumbles in 2004). He was a playmaker. Then Harrison went down with a devastating knee injury last September and Wilson was barely heard from again. Suddenly teams were throwing on the Pats and there was no one at the second level to make receivers pay. Wilson has been working with new defensive coordinator Dean Pees this spring and is optimistic that more stability in personnel will lead to a more aggressive style on the field. Even if Harrison isn't ready to go by opening day, the Patriots are hoping the secondary can pick up where it left off at the end of last year, when corner Asante Samuel played his best football, rookie corner Ellis Hobbs established himself as a legitimate starter and veteran defensive back Artrell Hawkins settled in at strong safety.
The Providence Journal has a notebook up highlighting the Patriots signing of offensive tackle Jon Doty. The 6-7, 300-pound Doty was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Carolina Panthers last season and most recently played 10 games for the Cologne Centurions in NFL Europe.
John Tomase of the Boston Herald has a story about Patriots safety Tebucky Jones and his interest in playing with former teammate Ty Law once again. "You know if it's right, he's going to be here," Jones said about the Pro Bowl cornerback. Tomase also has a blurb on the signing of Doty.
Michael Parente of the *Woonsocket Call *offers his insight on the trade that brought Johnathan Sullivan to the Patriots. Parente points out that the Patriots believes Sullivan has a better chance of succeeding with the team in 2006 than the departed Bethel Johnson would have.