Patriots

Ties bind a few Ravens to New England

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Ties bind a few Ravens to New England

FOXBORO - The Patriots and Ravens play so often, there are few secrets between the two teams.

And with James Ihedigbo, Arthur Jones and Corey Graham, there are probably even fewer than normal.

Jones, a Ravens defensive lineman, is the older brother of Patriots rookie defensive end Chandler Jones. Ihedigbo, a safety and special-teamer for Baltimore, was with the Patriots last season and played a key role and spent time with the Patriots in camp.

Graham, a corner, is a Buffalo native who went to UNH. All have friends and family who may have split allegiances this week when the Ravens and Patriots play in the AFC Championship game, but the Brothers Jones, of course, have the closest binding ties.
Jon "Bones" Jones, the famed UFC fighter, will be at the game Saturday, according to Arthur Jones. Also "a couple of cousins and a bunch of friends."

Arthur's hoping to see Ravens hats on as many members of the entourage as possible, he told Ravens media Wednesday.

Arthur Jones said he talked to Chandler Tuesday, two days after he tweaked an ankle in Sunday's Patriots win.

"Weve been going back and forth talking crap," said Arthur. "Really, I have been just seeing how hes doing. I know he got rolled up bad last week, so I was trying to figure out if he was going to play or not and get the inside scoop. But hes doing a good job not telling me anything. Hes not telling me anything, but I think he is going to be out there. Hes a hard-worker. I know hes getting treatment on it hard.

Ihedigbo, meanwhile, is staunchly a member of the Ravens now.

"Its exactly where its supposed to be," he said. "Im here as a Raven. I love being here, Im proud to be here and Im proud to go out with these guys and fight for the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl.

Released by the Patriots on August 31, he signed with Baltimore on September 2. He played in all 13 games for the Ravens, starting three. But he's not sure he can give much inside knowhow about New England's inner-workings.

I dont know if it helps at all," Ihedigbo said when asked about what advantage he can provide. Teams change every year, but one thing we know is Tom Brady is a phenomenal quarterback. He does a great job with that offense in terms of getting those guys the ball, and thats really our focus on defense. We have our hands full.

Ihedigbo defers to the coaches when discussing the things Brady does well.

"A lot of coaches who are coaching here have gone against him a lot longer than Ive been in the league six years," Ihedigbo pointed out. "So, I dont know how much intel I can give into that. But, everyone knows Tom Brady and the kind of quarterback he is and the things he can do with that offense.

Ihedigbo also noted that "Life Without Gronk" is not going to mean a day off for the Ravens defenders.

"They do a lot of the same things (whether Gronkowski is available or not. "Gronk is a phenomenal player he had a tough injury, so he wont be playing but besides that, in terms of that offense, theyll do what they do. Their offense is explosive, they get the ball going downfield, they move at a high pace and they score touchdowns. Our job is to stop them.

Graham notes that, "All of my roommates were big-time New England Patriot fans in college, and all of my friends still to this day are die-hard Patriots fans and Red Sox fans. It is a big game for me, obviously. I went to college New Hampshire in that area. I was up there all of the time. I know what it is like. They have die-hard fans out there. Obviously, you dont want to lose against the Patriots, especially when all of my friends are going to be out there probably with a Patriot jerseys on. Its going to be a little different his week, but no matter who you are playing, you want to go out there and win. This is for all of the marbles to get to the Super Bowl, so this is ever bigger.

Ex-Pats Moss, Law and Seymour among Hall of Fame semifinalists

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Ex-Pats Moss, Law and Seymour among Hall of Fame semifinalists

Former Patriots Randy Moss, Ty Law and Richard Seymour are among 27 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018.

In January, selectors will reduce the list to 15 finalists, who will join seniors Robert Brazile and Jerry Kramer and contributor Bobby Beathard on the final ballot. The annual selection meeting will take place Feb.y 3, the day before Super Bowl LII.

Click here for the complete story from NBC's Pro Football Talk.

Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front seven

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Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front seven

Cassius Marsh was brought to New England to help a depleted defensive end group and play in the kicking game. The Patriots wanted him badly enough that they parted with two draft picks -- a fifth and a seventh -- to acquire him in a trade with the Seahawks just before the start of the season. 

Less than three months later, they've decided to part ways with the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder. 

Marsh played in nine games for the Patriots this season, providing the team with an edge defender and someone with special-teams experience. He blocked a kick in Week 7 against the Falcons that earned him an enthusiastic attaboy from coach Bill Belichick. 

Coming off the edge, Marsh recorded one sack and 13 hurries. Against the run, he was used more sparingly, and he was one of the Patriots on the scene for Marshawn Lynch's 25-yard run in the second quarter on Sunday. He played in just two snaps in Mexico City after missing the previous week's game in Denver due to a shoulder injury. 

Without Marsh the Patriots remain thin at defensive end. In order to help bolster that spot, the corresponding move the Patriots made to fill the open spot on their 53-man roster was to sign defensive lineman Eric Lee off of the Bills practice squad. 

Lee entered the league with the Texans last season as an undrafted rookie out of South Florida. Listed at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Lee has bounced on and off of the Bills practice squad this season since being released by the Texans before this season.

The Patriots got a good look at Lee during joint practices last summer with the Texans at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. In the preseason game with the Texans that week, Lee played 40 snaps and according to Pro Football Focus he had two quarterback hurries. The Patriots have a history of snagging players they've practiced against, and with Lee, that trend continues