April 16 is a red-letter day in Patriot land. William Stephen Belichick was born 64 years ago today, and 16 years ago today, Belichick selected a quarterback out of Michigan in the sixth round of the NFL Draft, the 199th pick overall.
Here's a excerpt of Belichick's draft day comments about Brady, via WEEI.com's Chris Price, who in 2013 recapped Belichick's best draft picks:
Brady is a guy that has obviously played at a high level of competition in front of a lot of people and he’s been in a lot of pressure situations. We felt that this year his decision-making was improved from his junior year after he took over for Brian Griese. He cut his interceptions down. He’s a good, tough, competitive, smart quarterback that is a good value and how he does and what he’ll be able to do, we’ll just put him out there with everybody else and let him compete and see what happens.
And here's Brady tearfully recalling that day in ESPN's "Brady 6" documentary.
As for Belichick, he stated back in the NFL's Network 2009 "A Football Life" documentary that he "didn't think he'd be like Marv Levy coaching when in my 70s. You don't have to worry about that."
Still, team president Jonathan Kraft sounded as if he was hoping the coach would re-think that statement when NFL Network looked back on it as part of the 2014 "Do Your Job" documentary.
The coach has shown no inkling of stepping aside and, for now, it's clear the Patriots will still need him, still feed him, when he's 64.
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.
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.