Friday Bag: What's the latest on return of Patriots RB Dion Lewis?

Friday Bag: What's the latest on return of Patriots RB Dion Lewis?

FOXBORO -- Every Friday Tom E. Curran, Mike Giardi and Phil Perry will take your Patriots questions on Twitter and answer them as a joint mailbag -- or a Friday Bag, as they call it.

Got questions? Tweet the guys using the hashtag #FridayBag. But for now, give the latest edition of the Bag a read.

TC: The Dion Lewis sightings are on the rise. What does that matter? It means he’s being reintroduced to the daily grind and possibly (probably) signals another threshold crossed in his comeback. As far as health, as I understand it, one of the health hurdles a player needs to clear after ACL surgery is avoiding stress fractures to the area. With Lewis, we reported in July that the issue plaguing him was not related to the ligaments so I’m deducing it may have been a stress fracture which would have to be stabilized and then rehabbed. In short, I have no hard news on "where he is," but I do suspect his powerful quads and lower body put a lot of stress on that recovering area as he rehabs, and caution is key in bringing him back because of his playing style.

TC: We talk about this a lot, Ed. And it’s not just online. I think you make me a better reporter, a better dad and help me have a fuller head of hair and rosy outlook on things generally. Thanks for following on Twitter.

TC: I’ve long felt this way. There was a funny clip of Bill Parcells once berating Bill Belichick on the sidelines when Belichick was a defensive coordinator (not sure if it was Jets or Giants and I can’t find the clip), for using a bunch of wacky formations and alignments, accusing Belichick of showing off. Honestly, I don’t think it’s showing off but trying to create uncertainty for the offense. Of course, we’ve seen it sometimes backfire and breakdowns occur as a result of guys not getting it communicated properly or just being flat mistaken. I don’t think that’s been a recent issue you can point to, though. I do think there are times that a player as explosive as Jamie Collins is out there just wandering, the owner of many roles but sometimes the executor of none.

TC: Depends what happens with Brandon Bolden, who’s been dinged up recently. The between-the-tackles running back depth chart isn’t deep. It’s basically Blount and Bolden. So if Bolden is laid low, expect Sankey to be next man up.  TC: Given his performance in Arizona and against Miami when he had a key catch and two touchdowns, I don’t think health is the issue. I think there are other options around the offense that are ridden more often. He can flourish in the third wideout role but Chris Hogan is coming up quickly as a competitor for snaps and I sure do love Malcolm Mitchell. In short, Amendola isn’t as explosive as he was when he got here and is probably slowing down a touch (he isn’t as electric on punt returns after observing a limited sample) but he is absurdly valuable.

TC: "True”? No. The hogs have not yet been slaughtered. And they won’t be. But I absolutely believe that the malaise surrounding the NFL has its root in the hand-over-fist greed, the slavishness to “growing the pie” in hamhanded ways that are aimed at seeming progressive but are really just new ways of sticking their hands in the consumer’s pockets and the constant effort to create revenue streams so that Roger Goodell’s promise of a $25 billion/year industry comes true.  

 PP: As far as we know, Chase, so far there have been none. Bennett has been great with the media, making himself available for lengthy back-and-forths on a weekly basis, and during those sessions he's not afraid to veer off from discussions focused on the week's upcoming opponent. He'll often delving into his off-the-field interests, like Harry Potter and NASA, but he certainly hasn't lost any playing time because of it. Only two players -- center David Andrews and guard Joe Thuney -- have played more offensive snaps. I think, in general, the team's attitude is that as long as you aren't providing your opponent an advantage, and as long as you're doing your job on the field, you're going to have some leeway. The E:60 piece on Bennett and his brother, in which Bennett hammers some old teammates, was conducted well before the season began.    PP: I like "Elando" as a nickname for the Patriots rookie linebacker. I made note of his afternoon against the Browns in this week's Report Card, but it's worth repeating: He popped. At 6-feet, 235 pounds, he's a smaller linebacker than the Patriots are used to running out there, but he plays with good power, and he's shown solid instincts since training camp. There's a reason he made the initial 53-man roster, and on Sunday he was able to show why. With Dont'a Hightower (knee), Jonathan Freeny (shoulder) and now Jamie Collins (hip) all dealing with injuries, Roberts could continue to see playing time in the middle of the Patriots defense.    PP: Think that ship has sailed, Tim. He has $6 million of his 2017 salary that is fully guaranteed so it's unlikely the Jets would be willing to part ways with him with that kind of cash involved. Even if he did somehow become available, he's just not close to the player he was two years ago. He's among the bottom 15 corners in the league so far this season when it comes to quarterback rating against (129.2).  

PP: Hey, Mike. I think he's interested in another shot. It seems as though the recent feature on Bleacher Report, in which writer Dan Pompei was given tremendous access, was an announcement of sorts to the rest of the league that McDaniels is at least interested in hearing his options. Whether or not he actually ends up elsewhere will depend on the situation and whether it's firm enough to entice him from what he's acknowledged is a pretty good gig in New England.  

PP: I'll take the blame for that one. We decided if it the sleeves had been a little tighter they would have been money. The looseness kind of made him look like a punter on the freshman football team trying to stave off the cold on the sidelines. 

PP: Mingo has been one of the team's best special teamers since his arrival, but he really hasn't found his niche defensively just yet. The Patriots have a glut of edge rushers and linebacker/defensive end hybrids at the moment, especially with Rob Ninkovich back in the fold, so it could be difficult for Mingo to earn a spot defensively. As he gets more comfortable in the Patriots system, and if injuries pop up, he could see some time there eventually. 

PP: I spoke to Bennett on Thursday about his willingness to remain in New England long-term, and he told me he hasn't thought about it too much just yet. Whenever he does think about a new deal, though, and if he continues to play like one of the best at his position, he could probably command somewhere in the $9-$10 million range per year. He'll be 30 years old and going into his 10th season when the 2017 campaign begins, and that may be enough to keep teams from offering him a huge long-term deal, but he's proven to be durable throughout the course of his career, and at his best there are few tight ends who can offer the combination of upper-tier production as a blocker and pass-catcher that he can. If he keeps this up, someone is going to offer him a lot of dough.

PP: It's up there. Earthwind Moreland is still an all-timer. I've also always been partial to Tebucky Jones. Tell me that's not a fun name to say. You can't.

PP: As of right now, I'd go with tight ends coach Brian Daboll on the offensive side and linebackers coach Brian Flores on the defensive side. Two pretty good options if either a McDaniels or Patricia departure would come to pass. Just as he's tried to build depth on his roster, the same can be said for what Belichick has done with his coaching staff.

Shaq carries Gronk at Miami dance-off

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Shaq carries Gronk at Miami dance-off

Remember when Brandin Cooks rode Rob Gronkowski around like a horse to celebrate a Patriots touchdown back in November?

Well, Gronk doing Gronk things in Miami managed to find about the only person he could ride. 

Shaquille O'Neal, at 7-foot-1, gave 6-7 Gronk a ride on his shoulders as they celebrated the debut of "Shaq's Fun House" as part of the three-day Ultra Music Festival in Miami.

So, who won the dance-off?

Shaq vs @gronk dance battle you tell me who won

A post shared by DR. SHAQUILLE O'NEAL Ed.D. (@shaq) on



Report: Patriots' Harmon detained in Costa Rica with pot

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Report: Patriots' Harmon detained in Costa Rica with pot

Patriots safety Duron Harmon has returned to the U.S. after he was reportedly temporarily detained when he tried to enter Costa Rica with 58 grams of marijuana.

The Costa Rica Star reports that Harmon, 27, was traveling from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and was temporarily detained Friday night in Costa Rica with the marijuana inside a can of Arizona ice tea, along with three pipes with cannabis oil, THC candy and four glass containers with compressed marijuana weighing a total of 4.3 grams.

"We are aware of the situation involving Duron Harmon Friday night in Costa Rica," the Patriots said in a statement. "He has since returned to the U.S. and we are seeking to gain more information. At this time, we have no further update."

Harmon, who has been with the Patriots his entire five-year NFL career, had four interceptions and 23 tackles last season.