Report: Navy approves Cardona's request to play for Patriots in 2016

Report: Navy approves Cardona's request to play for Patriots in 2016

Patriots special teams coach Joe Judge and head coach Bill Belichick -- a former special teams coach himself -- can breathe easy. It looks as though they'll have long-snapper Joe Cardona for the 2016 season. 

According to the Dan Patrick Show, Secretary of Navy Ray Mabus has approved Cardona's request to continue his NFL career. Mabus has also permitted Ravens rookie Keenan Reynolds to pursue his new NFL gig.

Paul Pabst, producer for the Dan Patrick Show, tweeted on Friday that Mabus contacted both Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft to inform them that Cardona will be eligible to play. 

Cardona was drafted by the Patriots in the fifth round of last year's NFL draft. He was just the fourth long-snapper in the history of the league to be drafted. As a rookie, he played in all 16 regular-season games for the Patriots as well as both postseason games. 

In order to fulfill his commitment to the Navy, Cardona worked during the season at the Naval Preparatory Academy. Once his rookie season ended, he headed back to the Newport, Rhode Island-based school to work full-time and help mentor students there. 

Cardona was scheduled to make his way to Norfolk, Virginia later in the offseason and live there for about two months to participate in the Navy's Basic Division Officer Course, or "BDOC," which was required before he could report to his ship as a Surface Warfare Officer. From there, he was scheduled to travel to Bath, Maine, to work on the USS Zumwalt. 

"I'll get to work there and figure out a schedule that doesn't interfere with either of my jobs," Cardona said back in January, following New England's loss to Denver in the AFC title game, "and hopefully be back on the field next year."

Cardona has long maintained that his job as an active member of the Navy is his top priority, and it sounded as though his season was in serious jeopardy when Mabus joined the Dan Patrick Show earlier this month.

"Right now we do have a process," Mabus said at the time. "It hasn't got up to me yet to [decide on whether or not Reynolds will be eligible to play], but there are a lot of paths to both play and to serve. 

"We've got Joe Cardona, long snapper for the Patriots. He played . . . last year for the Patriots while he was on active duty because he was able to work them both out. Now he's been assigned to a ship, and he's going to report to that ship. He may have to leave the Patriots for a year or so to go fulfill that roll."

The Patriots signed veteran long-snapper Christian Yount earlier this offseason in a move that reminded those following the team that Cardona was not guaranteed to be available for 2016. Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich has long-snapped in the past and typically serves as the team's emergency snapper. 

Ex-Patriots TE Martellus Bennett announces retirement

Ex-Patriots TE Martellus Bennett announces retirement

Martellus Bennett is moving on from the game of football.

The former Patriots tight end announced his retirement Friday night on Twitter, stating he is shifting his focus to his multimedia production company, The Imagination Agency.

Bennett, 31, had 55 receptions for 701 yards and seven touchdowns in 16 games during the 2016 season with New England. After rejoining the Patriots in 2017, Bennett battled hamstring and shoulder injuries but did play in two games, catching six passes for 53 yards.

Bennett also played with the Cowboys, Giants, Bears, and Packers over the course of his 10-year career.


Arrest made in burglary at Rob Gronkowski's house

Arrest made in burglary at Rob Gronkowski's house

An arrest has been made in the Super Bowl week burglary at Rob Gronkowski's house.

Foxboro police announced Friday they have arrested 31-year-old Anthony Almeida, who has been charged with breaking and entering, receiving stolen property and malicious destruction of property.

The police also said they are searching for two other suspects, 26-year-old Shayne Denn and 28-year-old Eric Tyrrell.

Items taken from Gronkowski's house in the burglary included an Apple Watch, Rolex, and rare coins from the 1800s. Fortunately, those items have been recovered and Gronk will be getting them back. Police are still searching for the guns that were stolen from the house.