Sleepers on the Initial 90-Man Roster

-by DNOMN8R314

Most of the offseason hype in New England is focused on the Patriots’ big-name trade and free agent acquisitions, along with the high guaranteed money given to several of their undrafted rookies, but the back of the roster should not yet be cast aside. The Patriots have a tendency to have one unheralded player, whether it be a futures signing, UDFA, or former practice squad member, have a fantastic camp and find himself on the team’s 53-man roster to start the season. Here are five players who will hope to follow in the footsteps of, say, Dion Lewis and Malcolm Butler.

Devin Lucien, WR: Lucien might be the biggest longshot on this list because of the talent at wide receiver in Foxboro in 2017, but I still have an eye on him. Considered Pro Football Focus’ top draft sleeper of 2016, Lucien spent all of last season on the depth chart and, after a change in jersey number, will look to build on last year in 2017’s camp. Heading into the 2016 draft, Lucien was noted for his good hands, professional route running, and capability in run blocking, all traits the Patriots value in their wide receivers. Lucien is clearly the type of wideout Bill Belichick loves on his team, but he will have work to do if he wants to ensure there is room for him on the roster.

Trevor Bates, LB: A seventh-round pick of the Colts last year, Bates spent the last two months of the season on the practice squad and is remaining in New England on a futures deal. Bates was an edge rusher in college and NFL.com projected him as a situational pass rusher, but as he is listed on the Patriots’ website as a linebacker, not a defensive end, I have no idea if Belichick and Matt Patricia are going to use him as scouts projected or transition him off the ball. In either case, a solid camp could lead to his being as depth at a position where the back of the roster was weaker than hoped in 2016.

Woodrow Hamilton, DT: The addition of Lawrence Guy increases the depth at defensive tackle, but Hamilton was one of last year’s unheralded free agents (albeit one who got a lot of attention, deservedly, for his awesome name) who flashed in the preseason, was promoted to the active roster, and despite being at the back of the roster, made some major impacts in the running game. Despite returning to the practice squad later in the season, Hamilton showed serious potential in his few weeks of playing time last season. A strong showing this offseason would make it hard for the Patriots to leave him off the roster again.

LeShun Daniels, RB: I’ve just now noticed a theme in this list: most of these players play positions where the Patriots made significant offseason additions, thereby ensuring the players will really have to stand out to make the team. This is certainly true of Daniels, the only 2017 UDFA on this list. The Iowa running back is a power back with a one-cut style; Mike Loyko compares him to BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The additions of Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead have made the offensive backfield a crowded one, but Daniels has unique athletic traits among the current members of the RB corps, and he could surprise observers with a strong showing in the offseason.

Rob Housler, TE: The last player on this list is also the longest tenured. A third-round pick in 2011, Housler played out his rookie contract in Arizona but did not stick in either Cleveland or Chicago. The Patriots have revamped their two-tight end attack for the third consecutive year, acquiring Dwayne Allen from the Colts, meaning Housler is competing with last year’s practice squad-poaching Matt Lengel, converted tackle Michael Williams, Day 3 trade acquisition James O’Shaughnessy, and $90,000 man Jacob Hollister for one or two spots on the roster. Housler is easily the oldest of the five, and I must admit that the longer I write this paragraph, the less likely I think Housler is to have a chance at making the roster. At the very least, he could provide a veteran presence on the 90-man roster. Best avoid this paragraph entirely.

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822 Comments on "Sleepers on the Initial 90-Man Roster"

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LaFeteMattDog
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2-0 Predators. You know, I didn’t realize the Canadiens traded Subban…Now I”m rooting for the Predators. That guy is one of the most valuable hockey players in the league. I want the Canadiens to regret that trade forever…go Preds!!!

LaFeteMattDog
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1-0 Predators. Sorry, Cali. I am a BSJ-level jinx.

LaFeteMattDog
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Quack, Quack, Quack, Quack, Quack…Come on, Pats fans!

LaFeteMattDog
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What sporting event is up next? LA vs, NY in retiree soccer league?

DinoScapelli
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Well, time for some evening victuals. Today marked the beginning of the Tour of California, so I’ll watch that on the DVR. Watched the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Spain earlier. Bundesliga soccer yesterday. All enjoyable, but I’ll be more excited when the Pats start Camp!

Good night, you shunners of Eurotrash sport!!!

LaFeteMattDog
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Good night, you avant garde sports enthusiast.

DinoScapelli
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I didn’t mean you, Smacky. 🙂

Deadsmack #NotDone
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🙂

Calipatsfan3473
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Night Dino- have a nice evening.

Jonc77
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anyone home?

Deadsmack #NotDone
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The Warriors 🙂

Jonc77
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did they win?

Deadsmack #NotDone
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yep

evaldes101993
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Spurs blew a 25pt lead.

Calipatsfan3473
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Yup- they choked.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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They didn’t cok, they lost their best player and they are also lacking their starting PG

Calipatsfan3473
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Yes- they did cok 🙂

Deadsmack #NotDone
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damn, wireless keyboard

DinoScapelli
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I thought it was your fingerless hand.

DinoScapelli
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Almost as bad as the 5-4 loss Leipzig suffered at home against Bayern Munich.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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That was a crazy game

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Aldridge is so overrated

LaFeteMattDog
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Game over. Too bad. San Antonio had that one and just gave it away.

LaFeteMattDog
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I might’ve jumped the gun on that one.

DinoScapelli
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Who do they think they are, the Celtics???

Calipatsfan3473
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Hard to believe after the first half.

LaFeteMattDog
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Draymond Green is dirtier than Kelly Olynyk!

Deadsmack #NotDone
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duhhh

That’s like saying Brady is better than Geno Smith

DinoScapelli
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Marcia Brady is better than Geno Smith.

DinoScapelli
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Sox getting some great bullpen work today.

DinoScapelli
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Is it 6:00 already? That’s what I get for a long nap in the afternoon.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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If we had football to watch…

Calipatsfan3473
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No it’s 3 PM 🙂

DinoScapelli
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Then why am I so hungry?

Calipatsfan3473
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Napping works up an appetite.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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DinoScapelli
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Wearing one can cause hamstring issues and butterfingers.

DinoScapelli
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Hey, I finally read the article above! I wouldn’t bet on any of them, but I think Alexander Wilson has the best shot.

LaFeteMattDog
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#DinoScapelliHex

DinoScapelli
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At least Daniels wears the same number as Blount.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Losing Leonard was too much for the Spurs

LaFeteMattDog
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Injury? Is it serious?

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Injury, yes. He was not 100%, but he fell and he to leave the game. After he left the game, Warriors had a 16-0 run

Calipatsfan3473
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Re-injured his ankle.

Calipatsfan3473
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Slow and steady wins the race??

DinoScapelli
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Only against overcaffeinated hares.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Aldridge is so soft

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Crowd is singing “Bring the Noise” of Public Enemy + Anthrax

Deadsmack #NotDone
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They finally brought the noise 🙂

LaFeteMattDog
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Go Greg Popichick and the San Antonio Basketball Patriots!

Deadsmack #NotDone
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i just dislike the Warriors attitude

DinoScapelli
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What is this, the roundball room?

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Until Pats trade Jimmy G 🙂

DinoScapelli
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Don’t touch my QB!!!

Deadsmack #NotDone
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It is gonna be an interesting 4th quarter

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Warriors finally wake up and Leonard injury helped them big time

PatriotPrideBoy
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Le

Deadsmack #NotDone
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…Marcus

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Good first half by the Spurs

Calipatsfan3473
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GS is not looking good.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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On the other hand, Spurs are playing as good as game 6 at Houston

Calipatsfan3473
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GS looks all out of sync- maybe not having Kerr there is beginning to show.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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They have no excuse with the roster they have

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Spurs with 14 points lead at the end of the first quarter. Interesting strategy by Pops by using Simmons on defense against Curry.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Warriors look rusty

Calipatsfan3473
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Too much time off.

Jonc77
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but they will win the series

Deadsmack #NotDone
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They are favorites

Jonc77
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havent watched a minute. non of it matters till the finals

Cavs Warriors

Deadsmack #NotDone
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I’m not a big fan of Gasol and Aldridge playing together, it would make more sense having only of them on the field.

asparker24
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I’m trying to think of a team, any team, ever, to have the kind of depth that the Pats have on offense. It’s crazy. Even if the Pats lack a true #1 RB, they have four that would be a top 2 RB on most teams. All 5 WR would potentially be a top 3 WR on most teams. I’m not sure I wouldn’t have retained Bennett, but Gronk/Allen still makes the best 1-2 in the NFL. Brady then potential Franchise QB JG. It’s kind of bonkers.

NewEnglandBlight
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we have depth now.. but it probably won’t seem quite so ‘deep’ come september, after cutdowns.

NewEnglandBlight
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not to mention training camp injuries.

Calipatsfan3473
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Let’s hope they can keep those to a minimum.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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SNF on NBC ✔ @SNFonNBC
The Patriots wanted Dan Feeney at 72, but the Chargers grabbed him with the 71st pick http://tw.nbcsports.com/LZ21

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Reiss notes that one of the Patriots’ first priorities after the draft was giving center David Andrews a contract extension. If the Patriots had been able to draft Feeney, they might not have extended Andrews. So the Chargers’ selection was bad for the Patriots, but good for Andrews, who got some job security out of the deal.

Mattsky
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Are any of our college player experts out there? I’m doing a rookie draft for a fantasy football league. I’m looking to target a WR. Corey Davis and Mike Williams have been drafted. There are the three I am considering and the order I have them in.

1. John Ross, Cin
2. Curtis Samuel, CAR
3. JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT

Somebody else perhaps? I’m waiting on another team that drafts ahead of me.

memokerobi
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you can get the guy Rams drafted, he will get a lot of targets at least

Mattsky
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Yes Cooper Kupp is available.

Mattsky
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Or did you mean Josh Reynolds?

BoSoxJim
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Most likely, Kupp.

Mattsky
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Thanks Memo. I was looking into the Rams WRs. My pick came up and I had John Ross as my number 1 pick in the system so that is who I ended up with.

HunterCenter
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These beat writers don’t seem to understand that John Carroll High School is different from John Carrol University.

markpatriots
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No more night crew I guess.
Later
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6w-X-Mf9_Hk

MasterAndCommander
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Good SNL tonight

Neil X
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News is great

markpatriots
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MasterAndCommander
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Felix!!!!!!

markpatriots
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hows it going?

MasterAndCommander
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Pretty good. And you?

markpatriots
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Very good. Just relaxing and thankfully I just had a bacon burger after reading below 🙂

MasterAndCommander
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Lol

MasterAndCommander
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I agree with that too

MasterAndCommander
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ooooh… That reminds me..gotta gets some out to thaw.. Thanks.

Neil X
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My freezer bacon inventory:

Applewood Smoked
Black Pepper
Cajun Spiced
Jalapeno

MasterAndCommander
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My inventory:
1. Reduced sodium.

.
.
.
.
.
.
That’s all I got

SamiG
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Ah yes, hypertension.

MasterAndCommander
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Tastes better

Neil X
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Is it less filling?

markpatriots
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You are too young to be so stressed man.

Neil X
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Ooh. Damn, I wish I had anything to say here.

MasterAndCommander
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But that’s the only way to do it.

SamiG
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Controversial move…I eat only turkey bacon

MasterAndCommander
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Uh…. That’s not bacon…..really……it’s not

MasterAndCommander
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Argh! Don’t jinx breakfast!!!!!!

Neil X
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They differ?

HunterCenter
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I’m sure they do. You’re weird.

Neil X
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Hey Sami man, if you’re out there stop in here and say hi.

Neil X
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. . .

SamiG
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…….

Neil X
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!! 🙂

MrRogerBadell
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Off-season Saturday prediction:

Pats/Butler will agree to an extension, before game 6 & Jimmy G will get the FT after this season.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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more likely to happen the second

Calipatsfan3473
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I think it’s more likely that Butler gets traded.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Unless it is higher than a 3rd round pick, it is not likely to happen either

Calipatsfan3473
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I think it’s going to happen before or during training camp.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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why should a team trade for him, if he becomes FA at the end of the season?

Neil X
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I would be ecstatic if that happened.

HunterCenter
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WAYYY too much cap space tied up at CB and QB if that happens. We’d suck at other positions unless we got historically lucky with many very young players.

Deadsmack #NotDone
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I can’t believe Portugal is about to win the Eurovision Song Contest

MasterAndCommander
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agree.

Calipatsfan3473
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On what?

PatriotPrideBoy
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with the article?

Calipatsfan3473
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No idea.

Neil X
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Well then let’s agree to agree.

Calipatsfan3473
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Ouch- horrible injury for the kid on the Browns————————————————–>

bring
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I will laugh if the Wiz win Mon night – it would serve the Cs right for stupidly wearing all black into Wash yesterday – what a bunch of dumb asses – trying to pay the Wiz back for doing similar to them earlier in the season – hope it backfires

Can you tell I’m annoyed?

Deadsmack #NotDone
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I agree it was kinda dumb, but i still think the Celtics will win game 7. Wizards really struggle on away games.

MasterAndCommander
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agree

Saturn III
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Next offseason will be real interesting, besides butler and the whole RB corps all ufas, wonder if they keep solder? I think Jules walks too.

HunterCenter
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If Garcia shows something, I bet they let Solder walk. LT FA contracts are $$$$$

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Let’s see what Garcia and McDermott can become, but i wouldn’t be shocked if Pats pick a OT in 1st or 2nd round of the 2018 draft

Saturn III
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Carefreeeee!

Deadsmack #NotDone
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Great news Saturn!!!!! You deserve it, bruh!!!

Saturn III
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In the spirit of Conte, I hugged my wife and cat. Pelvic drain and all lol. Thanks man!

Deadsmack #NotDone
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I really admire your mental strength after going through such tough moments.
You really deserve this outcome and more.

Saturn III
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Thank you. I just take it one day at a time, this will be resolved soon and I’ll be back 100% again

Deadsmack #NotDone
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CSN New England ✔ @CSNNE
Here’s why the Patriots’ signing of David Andrews is more important than you might think. http://bit.ly/2qe2Uno @PhilAPerry @Patriots

redemption50
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Good morning Patriots fans. Hope all is well