Confusion reigns as NFL owners meet in Atlanta


Confusion reigns as NFL owners meet in Atlanta

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
ATLANTA - A few quick hits from Atlanta's Gateway Marriott where NFL owners are convening to, ultimately, restore professional football in America. 1. As the NFL lockoutdraws closer toits final breaths, conflicting reports have become the norm. Why? Three factors: a) The number of sources with informed opinions. b) The complexity of the issues leading tosources drawing different conclusions. c) Attempts on both sides todrive their ownagendas.
For example, there is confusion over whether the plaintiffs in Brady vs. The NFL can hold up settlement of the case if they aren't satisfied (it appears they can since it's not a true "class action"). There is confusion over whether Logan Mankins wants the franchise tag removed or a 10 million payout and how far he's willing to push. There's confusion over whether the players have to reform their union before a vote is taken. 2. If this thing gets solved on Thursday, the owners will get to enjoy the glory shots. Media is here en masse. The players are in Washington with far less media. So if this ends Thursday, the video will be of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners being able to talk about the restoration of football. And they are the ones who locked out the players. 3. This is how the players' voting breaks down. First, the 11-man executive committee has to vote to recommend the proposed CBA. Then the 32 player reps, after consulting with their teams, will vote on the proposal.
Now, the problem is -- and this is a sticking point -- can the player reps represent their teams if they are not a union? Or do the players have to recertify first? And how quickly can they do that?4. Logan Mankins' and Vincent Jackson's interests in the Brady vs. The NFL lawsuit are still sticking points. As the two sides try to reach a "global settlement" of all litigation, multiple sources have said that the owners need to buy off Jackson and Mankins to proceed.
Whether the players themselves are pushing that or lead litigator Jeff Kessler is responsible isn't known. Still, including Mankins and Jackson in the suit brought the expectation that they would get something for their inclusion if the suit was settled. It does make sense. But there's a way to satisfy it.
The players are asking for the restoration of 320 million in lost benefits from 2010 as well. They won't get that because those were the rules of engagement in 2010. Tough boogers. But the "lockout insurance" case which already has one ruling in the players' favor is still there. The owners should simply settle that for, say, 200 million and the union can pay off Mankins and Jackson. Done and done. 5. While the owners are here at the Atlanta Gateway Marriott, GMs and key decision makers on the football side are at the Westin being briefed on how things will proceed once this business is done. Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Brady enjoying "unique experience" of road trip


Brady enjoying "unique experience" of road trip

While being away from home isn’t uncommon for the Patriots - just think about all those Super Bowl trips - Tom Brady believes each excursion takes on its own feel, its own flavor and - eventually - its own meaning.

Back in 2014, the Pats went from playing in Green Bay and losing to the Packers straight to San Diego for a week on the West Coast prior to a rousing victory over the Chargers. That week, many players said in the aftermath, helped propel the team to great heights,.  You’ll recall, that season ended in grand fashion, a triumph in Super Bowl 49 over Seattle, at the time - and maybe still - the greatest Super Bowl ever played.

“I think all these experiences are pretty unique,” Brady said Friday from Falcon Stadium at the Air Force Academy. “That was a very unique experience. This is different.”

Brady spoke about the number of stops the Pats have and will have to make on this trip - from Denver to Colorado Springs then on to Mexico City Saturday before a Sunday night return to Foxboro and their own beds for the first time in 10 nights.

“When you’re on the road like this, there’s less to do,” he said. “You know my family is not here, my kids aren’t here. There’s nobody telling me what I did wrong in the house. It’s just being at home and now it’s being here and trying to figure out a way to win a game.”

Brady quickly smoothed over any possible ill-will at home - why make Gisele mad? - smiling and saying “I didn’t mean that so I’ll take it back.”

Kidding aside, the 40-year old signal caller seemed pleased with the work the Patriots have put in during this long trip. A week of team-bonding can’t be a bad thing, especially for a group that seems to be hitting it’s stride both on and off the field. There’s the five wins in a row and also a locker room that has a better understanding of one another than it did during the first month of the season. But Brady is not ready to make any grand proclamations. That just wouldn’t be his style.

“I think it’s still work in progress,” he said of team chemistry. “You look at still adding a player like Marty (Bennett) last week. Things are always changing and evolving. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing well and after 8 or 9 weeks, you start to figure those things out. Now we have to work hard at those things, try to really own them, and use them going forward to try and win the most important games. We have a lot of important games coming up, starting with this one. Hopefully we can play our best football going forward.”

Brady said he’s been fired up for this game with the Raiders south of the border ever since the schedule was released all those months ago.

“I’ve never been to Mexico City,” he said. “It’s been a game you kind of look forward to. We’re playing against a really good football team in a pretty cool environment. It will be very memorable. I think everyone is excited.”

Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out


Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

The Patriots will be without center David Andrews on Sunday when they play the Raiders in Mexico City. Andrews, who hasn’t all practice all week with an illness, is one of four Pats listed as out on the injury report released Friday.


Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, who didn’t play last week against the Broncos is also out, along with wide receiver Chris Hogan and special teams captain Matthew Slater. Offensive linemen Ted Karras and Joe Thuney each took reps at center so one of them will likely start in Andrews’ absence. LaAdrian Waddle filled in for Cannon and performed well last week vs. Denver. 

Here’s the full injury report for the Patriots and Raiders: