Patriots

Curran: Five thoughts from the first half

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Curran: Five thoughts from the first half

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- Five thoughts from a dominant first half by the Patriots.

1. WOODHEAD WHACKEDWith 8:59 left in the first quarter, Danny Woodhead took a handoff up the middle and got met and met hard by Kendall Langford. Woodhead fumbled, Miami recovered and Woodhead left the field with a head injury. He got checked out on the sidelines by the medical staff for a concussion and has not yet returned. His return is listed as questionable. Woodhead has been on the bench throughout the half and was seen walking around and chatting with teammates. But having next week off is a plus for any player who needs to convalesce and Woodhead would seem to be one now. 2. TURNOVER STREAKWoodhead's fumble snapped the Patriots' seven-game streak of not turning the ball over. Going into the break they've given it up 10 times in 2010. The record for fewest turnovers in a 16-game season is 13 set by the Packers and Dolphins in 2008. The Patriots would seem likely to break that. 3. HOYER GETS YANKEDBrian Hoyer came in for three plays in the second quarter and - after nearly getting picked then throwing one into the Dolphins' bench - got the hook in favor of Brady. Brady played out the remainder of the first half. He's stretched his streak of attempts without an interception to 332. You'd have to expect Hoyer to get the bulk of the second half snaps, if not start after intermission. 4.MORE FROMMOOREPlucked from the UFL, the defensive end continues to be a powerful force for the Patriots since he's arrived. In the first half today, his pressure in the Dolphins' backfield was almost constant. Between he and Rob Ninkovich, there's been a ton of heat brought by the Patriots pass rush.
5. JULIAN RISESPatriots' wide receiver Julian Edelman - who had just four catches for 14 yards coming into this game - had a 94-yard punt return and back-to-back receptions of 22 and 40 yards to set up the Patriots' first touchdown. This week, Tom Brady noted that Edelman has a tendency to press and get down on himself. Maybe this performance will help kickstart him and regain the trust of Brady who's been victimized by a number of Edelman drops this year.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Ex-Patriot Chris Long donating his salary to educational equality program

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Ex-Patriot Chris Long donating his salary to educational equality program

PHILADELPHIA - Chris Long is donating the rest of his year's salary to increase educational equality.

The Philadelphia Eagles' defensive end already gave up his first six game checks to provide two scholarships for students in Charlottesville, Virginia. Now, he's using the next 10 to launch the Pledge 10 for Tomorrow campaign.

"My wife and I have been passionate about education being a gateway for upward mobility and equality," Long told The Associated Press. "I think we can all agree that equity in education can help affect change that we all want to see in this country."

Long signed a two-year, $4.5 million contract with the Eagles, including a $500,000 signing bonus and $1.5 million guaranteed. His base salary in 2017 is $1 million.

The charitable initiative encourages people to make donations to improve equal education opportunities. Long began his career in St. Louis in 2008 and played for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots last season. Long's foundation has selected four organizations whose missions focus on making education easily accessible to underserved youth while also providing students the support they need to develop strong social and emotional character.

The four organizations are based in the three communities in which Long has played during his NFL career. The city that raises the most money during the season will receive an additional $50,000 donation.

"There's a lot of opportunities to help out and they're wonderful organizations," Long said. "We have such a great platform as football players and hopefully fans get behind it."

Long grew up in Charlottesville and starred in high school at St. Anne's-Belfield before going to the University of Virginia. He was moved to start the scholarship program following the violent protests in Charlottesville in August.

"Our hometown is a wonderful place and I feel like people got the wrong idea about what the residents of Charlottesville are all about," he said.

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Gronkowski advises Hayward to treat rehab like anything else -- dominate

Gronkowski advises Hayward to treat rehab like anything else -- dominate

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski's never suffered a break like the one Gordon Hayward did on Tuesday night, but he has been through enough to know what lies ahead as the Celtics forward stares at a lengthy recovery period.

"I saw it. I mean, I wish him nothing but wellness," Gronkowski said on Wednesday. "Hopefully he heals ASAP. You never want to see that with a player in any sport. When my friend showed me that last night, you get that feeling in your body, like, your heart drops. I wish him well.

"I can't wait to see him back. I know he's going to bounce back. Being here in Boston, he's going to be a hard worker it feels like. I can't wait to see him back."

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Multiple back surgeries, a plate in his arm, a surgically-repaired ACL . . . Gronkowski has put in his share of rehabilitation work. Asked if he'd give Hayward any advice as he embarks on his road back to normalcy, Gronkowski's message was simple.

"Just go into rehab just like you go into anything else. Dominate it," Gronkowski said. "Come back when you feel ready. Come back when you're 100 percent . . . He wouldn't be where he is now if he wasn't a hard worker. I don't know the guy. Never met him. But it's not something you want to see as an athlete happen to anyone else."

Gronkowski acknowledged that in his experience, one of the biggest hurdles following an injury like that is the mental one. You quickly go from being a powerful athlete to a patient in need of help with even the smallest of tasks. 

"There is a big mental challenge, definitely, with that," Gronkowski explained. "It's not just not being able to be with your teammates and all that. It's outside of football, too. Because it takes away your whole life, going out like that . . . You can't do anything. You can't walk. You gotta have people do [things for you]. You get really frustrated. You just want the people around you to help you out and keep you in the best mindset throughout the whole process."

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