Patriots

Marion 'floored' by Pats' Hall of Fame nomination

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Marion 'floored' by Pats' Hall of Fame nomination

Fred Marion is one of three finalists for induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame this year, along with Troy Brown and Bill Parcells.

Parcells was a nominee in 2011 when Drew Bledsoe was ultimately selected by fans for induction.

Marion and Brown are first-year nominees and both were available on conference calls Tuesday to discuss the honor.

Marion, a safety from the University of Miami was taken in the fifth round in 1982 and was an All-Pro in 1985. He had 29 career interceptions and was named to the Patriots All-'80s team and the 35th and 50th anniversary teams.

"Im very floored by the mere nomination to the Patriots Hall of Fame," said Marion. "I definitely want to thank Mr. Robert Kraft for actually making it all possible, what a wonderful family. I just cant say enough great things about the way he treated the former players who played long before he owned the team and just extended his kindness to us and let us not be forgotten, that speaks volumes. I am very honored to even be nominated."

Brown would seem to be the heavy favorite to win induction when voting is opened to the public.

Houston Antwine, a six-time AFL All Star and a member of the AFL's All-Time Team, was the third nominee in 2011.

But Antwine's support as a conventional nominee dried up last month when some members of the Hall panel deemed Antwine's chances of beating out Brown to be slim. Rather than put him up again, some voters decided to leave Antwine off their ballots and allow the veteran's committee to address him in the future. Which opened the door for Marion to become a nominee.

Marion was asked what he'd like people to recall about his 10-year career.

"Id like them to remember that I was always prepared and I left everything on the field," he explained. "I came to play and I think that I was always around the ball. I was a student of the game. I always did a lot of film study and I wasnt afraid to make contact. I would come up and hit the best of them, and wasnt afraid to be an aggressive player. I played in the secondary. I think I played a great centerfield as a free safety, always trying to fool the opposing quarterback, let him think they had something when there was nothing there. I was able to go get the ball. Id like to be remembered as I played the game the way we played the game back then and thats hard and physical on each and every down."Marion, who is currently a sales manager at a Toyota dealership in Sanford, Florida, was asked if he ever feels like he was built a decade or so too early.

"I think everything has its purpose and everything has its time," he said. "I was fortunate to be able to play when I played and Im sure like a lot of other guys who pioneered the game, you always wish you were born at a later time. Unfortunately, our time was our time. I think that Gods in control of everything. Im a true believer in that. I was fortunate to play in the era I played in."

Former Patriots defensive end Chris Long is donating his salary

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Former Patriots defensive end Chris Long is donating his salary

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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