Belichick-Era History of New Patriots Jersey Numbers, Part I

-by DNOMN8R314

With the Patriots announcing new jersey numbers last week, it’s time for me to do what I do best and ramble for far too long about a topic no one is really interested in. Unlike last year, where I only mentioned the most recent and more notable Patriots in the Bill Belichick era (or “notaBill Patriots”), here I’ll mention all of them, good or bad, mainstay or one-game presence.

Due to length, this will be split into two articles. And all players listed, as far as I could verify, wore the number in question as a member of the 53-man active roster. In numerical order:

13: Devin Lucien
Prior wearers:
Ken Walter, Bam Childress, Joey Galloway
Despite the recent trend of big-name and high-draft-choice wide receivers wearing No. 13 (Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., and Kelvin Benjamin all coming from the same first round, for instance), the number has not yet been worn by a player of major significance in New England. Walter is perhaps the most notable for being Adam Vinatieri’s holder for the game-winning field goals at the end of Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII. Lucien’s number last year, 16, has been similarly insignificant in Foxboro, except for Matt Cassel.

14: Brandin Cooks
Prior wearers: P.K. Sam, Vinny Testaverde, Zoltan Mesko, Chris Harper, Griff Whalen, Michael Floyd
Number 14 is another set of digits that is becoming popular among wide receivers (Jarvis Landry, Sammy Watkins) but has not yet been acclaimed for the Patriots. Mesko was a solid punter for three years and Floyd provided that MONSTERBLOCK, but the others had minimal impact on the active roster. Particularly Whelan, who didn’t even make it to a game before the Patriots released him and claimed Floyd.

17: Devin Street
Prior wearers: John Friesz, Dedric Ward, Chad Jackson, Taylor Price, Greg Salas, Aaron Dobson
Dobson was widely hoped around the fanbase to be the player to break the alleged Curse of 17 that has claimed victims in Jackson and Price, but he wasn’t able to build on a four-touchdown inaugural season or make it to the end of his rookie contract. Street wore 17 in his brief practice squad stint for the Patriots last year, so this number choice should not be surprising.

24: Stephon Gilmore
Prior wearers: Ty Law, Michael Stone, Mel Mitchell, Jonathan Wilhite, Kyle Arrington, Darrelle Revis, Bradley Fletcher, Rashaan Melvin, Cyrus Jones
Not just in New England but also around the league, 24 is thought of as the cornerback number, so it may surprise to learn how many average or below-average defensive backs have worn the number in New England. Law’s example was upheld by Revis in his single season as a Patriot, and after Jones’ poor 2016, the number’s torch is passed to high-profile and high-salary newcomer Gilmore.

26: Jason Thompson
Prior wearers: Matt Stevens, Eugene Wilson, Phillip Adams, Derrick Martin, Logan Ryan
Wilson and Ryan both gave 26 a solid showing in New England during their tenures in the secondary. Interestingly, no New England running back in the Belichick years has worn this number, and UDFA safety Thompson will continue that trend. (I suspect it will be somewhat odd at first to see someone not named Logan Ryan wearing 26 in the secondary this preseason.)

27: Dwayne Thomas
Prior wearers: Terrell Buckley, Victor Green, Rabih Abdullah, Ellis Hobbs, Kyle Arrington, Antwaun Molden, Tavon Wilson, D.J. Foster
Thomas shares 27 with Foster, who made the opening week roster out of camp last year as a UDFA. Buckley, Hobbs, and Arrington are thus far the best 27 wearers out of this crop of players, with Wilson likely the most notable for negative reasons.

29: D.J. Killings
Prior wearers: Raymont Harris, Hakim Akbar, Chris Hayes, Aric Morris, Earthwind Moreland, Guss Scott, Chidi Iwouma, Eddie Jackson, Lewis Sanders, Shawn Springs, Tony Carter, Sterling Moore, Don Jones, LeGarrette Blount
Long the number of mediocre defensive backs (although who could forget Earthwind Moreland!), Moore first gave the number some respectability with one play. Since then, Blount has donned the number as a bruising running back for three-plus seasons.

34: Rex Burkhead, David Jones
Prior wearers: Tebucky Jones, Chris Akins, Cedric Cobbs, Mike Cloud, Sammy Morris, Shane Vereen, Leonard Johnson
After Jones’ trade to New Orleans, it took several years before Morris joined the team and made 34 respectable again; Vereen then took the number and gave it clout for four seasons. Now, I think most New England fans would consider 34 a running back’s number, not a defensive back’s. Still, fans will get a chance to see the number on both sides of the ball this preseason, although quality of player will almost certainly effect how people perceive the number.

35: Mike Gillislee
Prior wearers: Patrick Pass, Mike Richardson, Ross Ventrone, Jonas Gray, Tyler Gaffney
Let’s play a little game: how many years did Patrick Pass play for the Patriots? Would you be surprised if I said nine? You should be, because that is not the answer. The actual answer is seven, a still-surprising number, as I wouldn’t be surprised if most fans reminiscing on the early-’00s Patriots forget about Pass entirely.

39: LeShun Daniels Jr.
Prior wearers: Shawn Mayer, Laurence Maroney, Danny Woodhead, Brandon Browner, Travaris Cadel, Steven Jackson
I think a lot of us still miss Danny Woodhead.

41: Cyrus Jones
Prior wearers: Tony George, Ray Ventrone, Malcolm Williams, Justin Green
Even around the NFL, 41 is one of those numbers that is rarely ever worn by a star player, with Byron Maxwell perhaps the closest to an exception right now. Jones brings the draft pedigree as the Patriots’ first pick of the 2016 draft, but a poor first season (five fumbles on returns) have led to quickly diminishing expectations from fans. Can he become a good cornerback and returner? We shall see.

42: Kenny Moore
Prior wearers: Dexter Reid, BenJarvus Green-Ellis
I think a lot of us really wish the Patriots had a player on their roster right now with as good a nickname as “Law Firm,” but not as many as who still miss Danny Woodhead.

45: Damarius Travis
Prior wearers: Otis Smith, D.J. Williams, Kevin Snyder
Why don’t more defensive backs wear 45? It looks awesome. Look at any Otis Smith highlight to confirm that for New England.

48: Jacob Hollister, Harvey Langi
Prior wearers: Tully Banta-Cain, Danny Aiken
Neither Hollister nor Langi is a long snapper. That’s generally considered improvement for a number. (Although back before 40-49 were officially opened to linebackers, I always thought Banta-Cain’s 48 was awesome.)

51: Brooks Ellis
Prior wearers: Olrick Johnson, Bryan Cox, Don Davis, Jerod Mayo, Barkevious Mingo
Everyone knows Mayo, so here are two factoids about two of the other players here. First, Cox wore number zero in the 2001 preseason because Mike Vrabel was wearing his traditional 51, the Patriots had no 50s numbers available, and Cox refused to wear 95 as a linebacker. (Bonus question: who did wear No. 95 for the Patriots that season? Answer in Part II.) Second, Davis served as Patriots team chaplain for several years after his retirement. I have heard him preach.

59: Corey Vereen
Prior wearers: Andy Katzenmoyer, O.J. Brigance, Maugaula Tuitele, Rosevelt Colvin, Gary Guyton, Mike Rivera, Bobby Carpenter, Chris White, Rufus Johnson
Not much to say here either except that when I was at the Pats-Panthers “Luke Kuechly bear hug” game in Charlotte, I saw a fan in a Katzenmoyer jersey. I felt bad for him.

See you in the comments. Part II to come.

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908 Comments on "Belichick-Era History of New Patriots Jersey Numbers, Part I"

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Neil X
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Jesus, the Kenmore Square Yard House is inundated with Spaniards watching some soccer thing called the UEFA Championship. Spmeone just scored, apparently.Report

evaldes101993
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RIP Chris Cornell.Report

MasterAndCommander
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Cali should WAKE UP!!!Report

Neil X
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Whoa, Sox up 5-4 in the 13th.Report

Neil X
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OK,OK. I was totally wrong. The STL/BOS game is indeed highly interesting.

13th inning. Unreal.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Well- good effort Celtics.Report

SamiG
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Miller sucksReport

Mattsky
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Miller is like having sex in a canoe.
Fucking close to water!Report

LaFeteMattDog
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Samig doesn’t drink anything that isn’t pure grain alcohol.Report

SamiG
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bud. Hell ill take busch over millerReport

Neil X
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I think most of us would take bush over almost anything. Not that there’s anything wrong with other perspectives.Report

rondo723
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Happily, the biggest game (of sorts) of the Celtics’ season was yesterday, and they wonReport

NewEnglandBlight
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I prefer Rainier (pronounced RAHN-YAY to you beer illiterates)Report

LaFeteMattDog
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Nobody cares about your beer made from Alaskan caribou piss, Blighty!

JK! 🙂Report

cqrun
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Uhhhh…. Mt. Ranier is in Washington, not Alaska.Report

NewEnglandBlight
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It’s made in Seattle.. but yeah, it’s piss alright.Report

rondo723
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nice lil comeback to get down 17…like that they’re showing heart at homeReport

Neil X
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Whoa, I feel like I’m reading a Cleveland Browns blog…….Report

LaFeteMattDog
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Well, they’re showing some life. Down by only 17….wooo!Report

LaFeteMattDog
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I bought an 18 pack of Miller High Life. It was hot and the taste isn’t bad. I think I could drink all 18 and not get buzzed. What a waste.Report

rondo723
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I like high life. Usually my go-to macroReport

LaFeteMattDog
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high-5 to the non-beer snob! 🙂Report

Neil X
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Oh, don’t be mean. Miller was the first beer I every drank in any quantity. When I was in high school, I remember how strong and strange it tasted. It was my brother’s go to beer, especially at his bocce tournaments in northern Minnesota. I lived a couple of summers with him up there, Miller was everywhere.Report

rondo723
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oh i can be quite picky about craft beers but sometimes (honestly a lot of times) you just want a nice cold oneReport

Neil X
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Those are the times for a Victory Prima Pils!Report

LaFeteMattDog
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But the difference is a Prima Pils is $10 for a 6 pack. Miller High Life is $15 for 18. Some of us are ballers on a budget.Report

Neil X
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That’s a highly valid point. Still, I think an 18 pack of Miller is 18 mistakes.Report

Neil X
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Well it’s 4.7% abv, which would be a “session beer” if it was sold by a craft brewer. Low alcohol, but the same as Pilsner Urquell and countless session IPAs.Report

LaFeteMattDog
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I’ve been drinking IPAs in the 5.8-6.5 range lately. I also went running today and was extremely dehydrated. Usually, I’m a light-weight in that scenario.Report

Neil X
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I tend to go for beers in the 7-8% range. Still under most Imperial/Double IPAs but enough to actually taste a little bit of alcohol, which I think really adds to the other flavors in beer. Recently I was able to pick up several 4 packs of Lawton’s Liquids Sip of Sunshine IPA, that one is 8.0%. Also, Lord Hobo Boom Sauce, live it, love it. 7.8%Report

rondo723
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Neil have you had Hair Raiser from Exhibit A in Framingham?Report

Neil X
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I’ve had it, yes. Lulu’s in Allston almost always has a couple of Exhibit A brews. Very good, every one I’ve tried. They are an up-and-coming local brewery. They need to increase their capacity.Report

Neil X
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I don’t think I’ve had any E.A. beers that weren’t excellent.Report

rondo723
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Yeah their stuff is pretty top notch, very new brewery so I’m sure they’re ramping up quickly.Report

LaFeteMattDog
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Wow, my roommate is friends with a guy that invested in Lord Hobo Brewery I believe. He’s a cool dude that is very passionate about beer.Report

Neil X
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Well they really do need to find a way to be able to sell a 4 pack of 16 oz cans for less than $14.99. If they could get it down to $11-12.99 they’d double their profits, IMO. But in bars, their beer costs the same as any other similar style. I mostly drink it in places like the Yard House.Report

Neil X
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Jeez, we have:
Cavs 88 Celts 62
Cards 4 Sawx 2
Ott 5 Pit 0

I thought at least one of these would be interesting to watch. Not so much.Report

LaFeteMattDog
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Your basketball reporting is off again.Report

Neil X
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Tonight it was just a typo. Please refresh.Report

MrLucky
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Celtics in 5.Report

LaFeteMattDog
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4, 3, 2, 1….CELTICS!!!

Didn’t work.Report

LaFeteMattDog
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Can we play hack a LeBron? At least he might miss a free throw.Report

NewEnglandBlight
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Yeah.. give him the wannacry ransomwareReport

MrScratch
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I’m not throwing in the towel, but an ECF appearnce, 53 wins, $30M under the cap and the #1 overall pick. I’m good.Report

rondo723
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By any measure it’s been a fantastic seasonReport

NewEnglandBlight
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Unless you’re talking about the Pats… then it’s a massive disappointmentReport

LaFeteMattDog
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19-0 or GTFO!!!Report

rondo723
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Jaylen has been amazing thoughReport

LaFeteMattDog
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It’s going to be fun to see him grow and mature. I hope he has a big second year leap! (Do they have those in the NBA?)Report

rondo723
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Yeah definitelyReport

LaFeteMattDog
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Well, good news. I can go to bed early tonight.Report

MasterAndCommander
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It’s only 1 game….Report

rondo723
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yeahhh it’s gonna get worse before it gets better. The Celtcs have no answer for…anybody on the Cavs reallyReport

LaFeteMattDog
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Hey, I bet we could hold Tyronn Lue under 20 points.Report

rondo723
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maybeReport

LaFeteMattDog
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If he played in his suit and dress shoes?Report

rondo723
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maybeReport

rondo723
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Zeller aka the human white flag is in. Seems like they’re packing it in.Report

NewEnglandBlight
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this is painful to watchReport

itsBradyBaby
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Bricks landReport

itsBradyBaby
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Thomas has to shoot more , his assists are only yeilding bricks .Report

rondo723
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Considering the Celtics have not done a single positive thing so far tonight, this game is actually fairly closeReport

LaFeteMattDog
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LOL. They had some open looks early and missed them and things just snowballed. You can do that against the Wizards and come back but not the Cavs.Report

asparker24
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If Pats had decided to hang on to Bennett, they would have had insane redundancy all over the place.

Brady to JG
Edelman to Amendola
Hogan to Mitchell (or reversed)
Gillislee to Burkhead
White to Lewis (or reversed)

Gronk to Bennett would have continued that trend, having guys that are basically a slightly poorer man’s version of whoever the “starter” is.

There’s some of that on def nse too with McCourty/Harmon, etc, but not as clearly defined skillset -wise.Report

LaFeteMattDog
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Well, there is no mini-Gronk. But the dude we got from the Colts is a pretty good TE.Report

asparker24
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Bennett really is the closest thing to Gronk when you combine receiving and blockingReport

bring
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Allen is better blocker than BennettReport

asparker24
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Bennett pretty underappreciated as a blockerReport

LaFeteMattDog
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Jaylen Brown looks pretty good. Unfortunately, LeBron cannot be stopped.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Nope- he’s having a great series.Report

LaFeteMattDog
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Oh my god, I quickly hate Olynyk again.Report

asparker24
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I think i’m, like, irrationally excited about GillisleeReport

LaFeteMattDog
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It’s completely rational, actually.Report

LaFeteMattDog
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I’m not a basketball expert by any means but I don’t understand the theory of trading the #1 pick for some veteran. There’s no one that’s going to put us over the top and it seems like everyone (besides GS) is just waiting another 3-4 years for LeBron to not be the dominant force he is now. So why not remain competitive like we are and build from the draft with players who will be blossoming once LeBron is past his prime?Report

bring
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These guys are pretty good at their analysis
http://www.draftexpress.com/rankings/Top-100-Prospects/Report

Mattsky
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I don’t follow basketball but I read that the draft this year doesn’t have top notch players.Report

LaFeteMattDog
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It’s funny if you look at any NBA draft (just did so on wikipedia) it seems like there are 3 or 4 players that become cornerstone franchise players. They’re not always at the top. But they’re in there. You just have to find them.Report

LaFeteMattDog
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I don’t think they really know. Last year, everyone was saying this draft was really deep. Nobody was saying Steph Curry was going to be the player he is. They’re 18 year olds and you don’t really know how they will develop their talents.Report

Mattsky
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I thought they would be in their early 20s with a few years in college.Report

LaFeteMattDog
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Not anymore. Now they’re all freshman.Report

bring
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Right – its all about potential nowReport

bring
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There are ten solid freshmenReport

PatriotPrideBoy
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it’s deep, actuallyReport

bring
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I think most think that way – the rest will after getting swept by the CavsReport

Calipatsfan3473
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Makes too much sense for basketball people- they want to win now- not build.Report

redemption50
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Enjoy the game everybody. RCR outReport

bring
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Danny Ainge was asked by the Cs play by play guy last night to finish this sentence: “The Celtics need _________”

His answer was “shooters, creators – guys who can score at the end of games”Report

LaFeteMattDog
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It’s Fultz Son!Report

redemption50
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If Lonzo Ball ends up on the Lakers he’s destined to date a Kardashian. So instant flame out guaranteed 🙂Report

LaFeteMattDog
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Saw a video of him watching the lottery. I assume the girl next to him was his gf and she’s hotter than any Kardashian.Report

PatriotPrideBoy
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“my boy could date all the Kardashians at the same time.”
-LaVarReport

MasterAndCommander
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Time for a trade!!!!!Report

cqrun
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Wonder if there is a Jet board that would be willing to trade for a MAC….. 🙂Report

MasterAndCommander
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BoooooooooooReport

redemption50
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Cyrus Jones to Denver for Von Miller. I’ll fax in the paperworkReport

PatriotPrideBoy
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Faxgate 2.0?Report

redemption50
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Hayward would have to leave a good chuck of guaranteed $ on the table (assuming Utah offers the max) if he came to Boston. Boston can offer a bunch to but the difference is substantial. Not sure what will happen.Report

bring
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He’s comingReport

redemption50
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Would be a good fit. They need another shooter.Report

bring
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They need more than oneReport

MasterAndCommander
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They need a big or two for rebounding…Report

redemption50
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That too. Although Zizic may help in that areaReport

Calipatsfan3473
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Go eat!!Report

Calipatsfan3473
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I really need to move- guy across the street just fired up his hot rod and I dropped a glass of wine on floor- jerk.Report

PatriotPrideBoy
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Shouldn’t we draft Josh Jackson?Report

redemption50
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He’s in the mix. I think Fultz is BPA thoughReport

bring
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Fultz is the clear #1 and they already have Jaylen Brown at SFReport

rondo723
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If they want Jackson and really think he’s better than Fultz (which I am unsure of at best), they need to work out a trade with Philly for the #3Report

MasterAndCommander
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dinner time…Report

Calipatsfan3473
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A little late- bad for the digestion.Report

MasterAndCommander
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whatever you say Felix…..Report

Calipatsfan3473
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You’re welcome.Report

redemption50
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Afternoon/evening Pats fans. Hope all is wellReport

Calipatsfan3473
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Evening CR!!Report

MasterAndCommander
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Hi!Report

MasterAndCommander
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WAKE UP!!!!!!Report

PatriotPrideBoy
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Flag.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Just stop.Report

MasterAndCommander
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nope. Just making sure it’s there if I don’t get a chance tomorrow. An ounce of prevention………..Report

bring
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Rumors already flying on the draft
One interesting suggestion was trading with Philly so they could jump the Lakers to select BallReport

Calipatsfan3473
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Take him- get him and his father out of LA.Report

redemption50
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Mr. Ball thinks very highly of himself and his sonReport

Calipatsfan3473
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Mr. Ball needs to stop.Report

redemption50
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He’s too busy dreaming of beating Michael Jordan one on one and selling millions of his $495 shoesReport

Calipatsfan3473
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It’s awful.Report

redemption50
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Howdy bring. I thought Philly was going to use Simmons in a point forward type role so Ball wouldn’t seem to be a good fit for them. If anything, they need a shooter like Monk or TatumReport

bring
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I doubt the Cs trade it because Fultz is the shooter they need now and down the roadReport

redemption50
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Oh for sure. C’s would only trade #1 to Philly if Embiid or Simmons was part of the return. And that’s not going to happenReport

rondo723
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I could see #1 for #3 + Saric, then the C’s take Josh Jackson, but I’d still rather have FultzReport

redemption50
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Yeah, I’m not crazy about Saric. He’s ok. I would either take Fultz or trade for a vet. One or the otherReport

rondo723
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What the Sixers really need is Fultz. He’d fit perfectly and fills a huge need.Report

redemption50
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yeah, he is actually the player that would fit the best for them, I agreeReport

SamiG
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alohaReport

Calipatsfan3473
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Evening Sami!!Report

bring
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If the “eye in the sky” doesn’t spot it, and Brady doesn’t say anything, what are the Pats supposed to do?Report

rondo723
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forfeit draft picks?Report

Calipatsfan3473
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If they didn’t do it to Seattle- legally- they can’t do it to the Pats.Report

rondo723
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precedent? in NFL rulings? hahahaReport

Calipatsfan3473
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Well- ok- the Pats could be screwed- thanks Gisele.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Nothing they can do.Report

bring
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“Today we have been in contact with the NFLPA and will work together to gather more information from the club’s medical staff and Mr. Brady,”Report

BoSoxJim
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In other words, “we want this to go away so we’ll pretend to carry on an investigation and come up with the same thing our unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants and certified athletic trainer spotters saw…..nothing”.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Who said this?Report

bring
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NFLReport

Calipatsfan3473
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They better investigate their own medical personnel.Report

rondo723
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I bet there’s a part-time employee on the medical staff who calls himself “The Concealer” because he’s trying to conceal some extra weight gainReport

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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Mike Reiss ✔ @MikeReiss
Added context on TE Rob Housler release: Pulled hamstring. Upon his recovery, a return to Patriots is not necessarily out of the question.Report

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