Three observations for the price of one, as we count down the days to Training Camp:
Jules and the Rules
There should be, at the least, some mild surprise of Julian Edelman's attempted "reprieve" from the NFL, right?
Most fans feel as if the Patriots remain entrenched in the NFL's crosshairs when it comes to adjudicating anything. I mean, Tom Brady served a four-game suspension for alleged involvement with underinflated footballs that weren't as underinflated as first reported. The organization paid a record-setting fine as a part of that process, too.
And if you need someone to explain the last two sentences for you, just Google them. The point is, no one with New England, or in New England, gets a break from anything.
Why? Because the Patriots push the envelope. They constantly, and consistently, look for gaining an edge in competition whether on or off the field. There is always a big-picture viewpoint when it comes to effort in staying with and trying to blow right by an opponent.
A game against the Dolphins in mid-November is treated just the same as a film session in May. So much is said about 'The Patriot Way' and usually sneered at by those who don't understand all that it encompasses.
It's simply about winning. Nothing more, nothing less. It's about Doing Your Job, No Days Off and more. Veterans lead the way, young pups follow. Most (but not all) players want to excel at their jobs, and the perfect ending to an imperfect sport is to beat the man in front of you, time and time again.
Do it often enough, you win.
That's what Edelman does, what TB12 does, what most of the Patriots do. I'd venture a guess to say that's what most professional football players do, too. At least those who care about being a professional. It's more than just earning a big paycheck. It should also be about pride and work ethic on top of having extraordinary ability.
Julian Edelman has been pushing hard, trying to get back to Do His Job as quickly as nature will allow. Brady undoubtedly has heard the recent criticism of his devotion to the game - or to the team and organization. Yet he's pushing hard, too. Both are preparing for training camp next month as they have in any other year - only this time, Brady sent out an Instagram video to emphasize the point in case you missed it.
They don't want a reprieve from anyone. No favors, no special treatment. They're just Doing Their Jobs as they always have.
And still pushing the envelope.
Get a T.O. baby!
Oh, he's been a pain to deal with, certainly. Three NFL teams sent him packing, largely because they couldn't stand his antics off the field.
But on the field, there's little argument. Terrell Owens belongs, talent-wise, in the Hall of Fame. A social media rumor persists that the 44-year-old receiver wants to make another run at playing again, this time with the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers.
And why would the Packers take on this burden, replete with a personality that won't even show up to his own Hall of Fame induction ceremony this August?
# 2 in NFL history in receiving yards, #3 in receiving touchdowns. But #1 in drawing attention to himself. Getcha' popcorn ready, it's going to happen again.
The attention part, not the football part. Whether the football part happens again or not is irrelevant. If it does, it will be the biggest summer story this year in football or any other sport. But the fact that Owens has already said he won't attend the Hall of Fame ceremonies is just another example of pro football needing a T. O. - a Time Out - from T.O.
He's trying to orchestrate another story, another headline, another instance where he is the center of his universe for the football world to see. And he's been successful. No matter that Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher, Ray Lewis, Brian Dawkins, Bobby Beathard, Jerry Kramer and Robert Brazile will be there on August 4th in Canton, Ohio.
The big story will be - where's T.O.? He's not here? Why?
We shouldn't care. But we will. And we'll need extra popcorn to get through it.
The No Fun League strikes again
We've all heard, and probably used, the phrase "No Fun League" when it comes to describing the NFL's sometimes malodorous ways.
But you know what really stinks? The league has a chance to feature, prop up and promote a player who just earned his medical PhD last month and wanted to put "M.D." on the back of his jersey.
Nope. Can't do that. Uniform violation.
Kansas City offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif had been a medical student while playing for the Chiefs for the past four years, juggling his demanding academic responsibilities with his athletic ones. He earned his PhD from Montreal's McGill medical school in May, and petitioned the league to include "Duvernay-Tardiff M.D." on the back of his jersey.
Nope. Permission denied.
The league allows those players named after their parents to put "Sr." or "Jr." or "III" or "IV" on their name plates, but won't allow "M.D." for a guy smart and able enough to become a medical doctor to say who he is? What about inspiring others to strive for excellence?
Nope. And that's no fun.
It's also, in the words of that erstwhile, all-American kick returner from Alabama named Forrest Gump, "stupid is as stupid does, National Football League."
John Rooke, an author and award-winning broadcaster, is entering his 26th season as the Patriots' stadium voice. Currently serving in several media capacities - which include hosting "Patriots Playbook" on Patriots.com Radio - Rooke has broadcast college football and basketball locally and nationally for more than 30 years and is a member of the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame and RI's Words Unlimited Hall of Fame.