When the Patriots were in San Diego for the week earlier this month, head coach Bill Belichick invited a special guest to talk with his team. Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback Mike Haynes now lives in Southern California, but for a time during his NFL career, he was a resident of New England when he played for the Patriots.
When he walked into the room, cornerback Darrelle Revis took notice.
"When I saw him at first, I was like, 'I know I know that face.' It looked familiar. Then Bill brought him around the team and introduced him, and I was like, 'I knew it!'" Revis chuckled.
"I knew about him, I mean, just going down the history of cornerbacks – the Darrell Greens, the Deion Sanders, the Mel Blounts. It was just good to see him around."
Revis said he, safety Devin McCourty, and corner Brandon Browner, among others, waited around after Haynes addressed the entire team to get some additional quality time in with the Canton legend, who also played for Oakland.
"It was great," said Revis, "just picking his brain, asking him how he covered wide receivers and his techniques. Some of them were similar, the things we were talking about and sharing, and some was different. I definitely took some of his tips and hopefully try to use them in my game."
Patriots Pro Bowl, MVP candidates?
It's that time of year when the postseason is on everyone's mind. That's when the games become do-or-die and the league's hardware is handed out to deserving individuals. Fan voting came to a close this week for Pro Bowl squads – which counts for a third of the final vote (coaches and players cast ballots, too) – and several Patriots are under consideration.
There's also the ultimate individual prize, NFL MVP, up for grabs, and while Tom Brady is frequently mentioned, this year there are growing calls for tight end Rob Gronkowski and even Revis. The latter would be quite an accomplishment, as defensive players are rarely chosen for that honor.
"He's a great player. He's just so great with ball skills, so relaxed out there, you don't even think he's trying, that's how good he is," Gronk raved about his teammate. "The way he can react to a ball is unbelievable. He's a great corner."
Revis laughed when told he was "in the discussion," saying he had no idea and that he was "humbled about it." He responded by making his case for Gronkowski as MVP.
"The same stuff you see in a game, he's doing at practice. He's humble about it, the way he approaches a game, and he goes out and works at it. Him and Tom, the chemistry they have, you see them working on that week in and week out at practice. The catches you see in a game, you see in practice. You're just in awe sometimes, how much chemistry they have."
All 63 Patriots – including the 10 practice squad players – took part in Thursday's practice, although several were either added to the injury report this week.
Notably, WR Julian Edelman, already listed with a thigh injury, is also now dealing with a concussion. He practiced on a limited basis Wednesday, when the team was in shells (smaller, lighter shoulder pads), so, it's unclear if he sustained the injury then or against the Dolphins this past Sunday.