Giardi: Edelman-Gilmore dust-up was only a matter of time

Giardi: Edelman-Gilmore dust-up was only a matter of time

FOXBORO - You knew it was only a matter a time before we had our first training camp scuffle. And if you’ve been watching the first five days, you weren’t surprised at two combatants: Julian Edelman and Stephon Gilmore. 

It happened in a team period down in the end zone. A Tom Brady pass pointed in Edelman’s direction fell incomplete. Edelman appeared to say something to Gilmore and after a few more words were exchanged, the pint-sized but powerful slot receiver had tossed Gilmore to the ground and jumped on top of him. Helmets were ripped off before Edelman himself was pried off the fallen corner by fellow wideout Chris Hogan. Once the fracas was quelled, first Edelman, then Gilmore, were summarily ejected from practice, though their departures were staggered to make sure there wasn’t another coming together.

“It's a hot day,” said Hogan. “Guys are competing. Tensions run high but at the end of the day, those guys will shake hands. It’ll be over with…we’re on the same team.”

Former Patriot Lawyer Milloy, long removed from the equation in Foxboro, still took the time to weigh in via Twitter:

"That's just part of the game," linebacker Shea McClellin said. "We're coming out here, banging each other every play, 300-pound guys going out here, hitting each other every play. Tempers are going to flare a little bit. And it's the hottest day we've had so far. Definitely ramped up practice today, but it's going to happen. That's part of the game. Physicality."

McClellin said he's seen Edelman get under guys' skin before: "He always does that," McClellin said with a laugh. "That's part of his game."

"It's gonna be competitive," special teams captain Matthew Slater said. "You get tired, you get hot, things happen. But we gotta remember, we gotta take care of one another. It's a long season and we need everybody, so you saw what that resulted in. [Players getting kicked out of practice for fighting has] been our policy so we all understand that, but sometimes things happen."

Knowing Edelman’s fire and Gilmore’s desire to establish himself as a presence, it’s as good a theory as any. Considering Edelman’s previously intense battles with the other lead corner, Malcolm Butler, it probably would have been something I’d have bet on in Vegas if there were odds for such things.

CSNNE Patriots reporter Phil Perry contributed to this story.


Report: Slater returning to Patriots

Report: Slater returning to Patriots

Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater has signed a two-year deal to return to the team, according to an ESPN's Mike Reiss.

Slater had made a free-agent visit to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday. The seven-time Pro Bowl special teams ace, who turns 33 in September, has spent the past 10 seasons in a New England. Slater, one of the veteran leaders in the locker room, signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract extension in 2016.

The Patriots traded with the Oakland Raiders for kick returner/wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson earlier this week to bolster their special teams.


Report: New catch rule coming to NFL

Report: New catch rule coming to NFL

A new catch rule is coming to the NFL.

So, controversies such as the Jesse James' touchdown reversal in the Steelers' loss to the Patriots in December and the Kelvin Benjamin call in the Bills-Pats game a week later likely would have resulted in upheld TDs under the new rule.

According to the Washington Post, Troy Vincent, the NFL VP of football operations, said competition committee members plan to propose getting rid of portions of the rule related to a receiver going to the ground while making a catch and to slight movement of the football while it’s in the receiver’s hands. Vincent also said the committee also intends to raise the bar by which an on-field ruling of a catch could be overturned via replay review.

That apparently was what was done in Super Bowl 52, when the Eagles' Corey Clement's juggling TD catch was not overturned via replay. 

“We worked backward,” said Vincent told the Post. “We looked at plays and said: Do you want that to be a catch? And then we applied that to the rule.”

The rule modifications could be approved by the competition committee as early Tuesday, the Post reported, and owners will meet next week in Orlando to vote on it. Rule changes must be approved by at least 24 of the 32 franchises. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been pushing for the catch rule to be modified.