Arian Foster came to Boston for the weekend. Boston lost its mind a little bit.
It started Thursday at 5 p.m. when Josh Rutan (AKA @J_Ru_the_Damaga) tweeted an image of himself and Foster purportedly picking up a rental car at Logan.
I say purportedly because – while The Damaga seems to have an honest face and that’s definitely Foster – how do I know that’s in Boston May 19 and not Savannah, Georgia two years ago? I don’t. But hey, Arian Foster at a rental car counter in Boston, I’ll retweet for now then check to see if there was any Patriots link before putting a story out on it.
Why wait? Because if the baseline for me reporting on some player being linked to the Patriots is his alleged presence in the six-state region, that’s not a high bar to clear. And you can’t be ringing up your little birds every time someone like The Damaga posts.
Friday morning, someone who’d know told me they hadn’t heard of any Foster visits down at Gillette. Made sense, given Foster was picking up his own rental car. If he was in town to see the Patriots, they would have picked him up.
Now, I had a minor quandary. To tweet or not to tweet. Saying “no visit” would give legs to an initial tweet that I wasn’t even sure was from Thursday in Boston. It would also be retweeted and reported in various spots to the point where “no visit” would morph into me peeing on the idea of Arian Foster joining the Patriots EVER! And I wouldn’t pee on that idea because he does seem a possible target at some point.
There was then a tweet from CBS’ Jason La Canfora saying Foster was two weeks away from being able to take a physical. No source on that but the timing and implication indicated Foster’s folks wanted to get out a blanket status update. And he’s not ready for visits is was what I took from it.
Friday unfolded with Foster’s Boston presence being a topic of some conversation on social media and the radio.
In the mid-afternoon, Jason Cole from Bleacher Report tweeted that the Patriots interest in Foster was “just preliminary.” No source here either, but the landscape changed a little since Cole was stating that there was interest – even if it was preliminary – in Foster who just happened to be in town.
My antennae went up at this point because my opinion is that Cole lets agents use him to promote their clients’ interests. Proof?
When free agency started in 2015 and everyone wanted to know where Darrelle Revis was going to land, Cole teased breaking news about Revis then followed up with a tweet promoting a Revis appearance for some product. Soon after, Revis’ agents paid Cole back with access for a detailed story on how Revis wound up back with the Jets.
Agents chumming the water by saying teams are interested in their unemployed clients is a frequent occurrence. Linking an unemployed player to the Patriots is even better since GMs then get calls from owners wondering why their team isn’t in on a player if the Patriots are. So I found it dubious.
But it was out there enough to mean we needed to start flapping gums on it. No harm in that. Whether Foster was in town for business of pleasure, he is a free agent running back. The Patriots could use a running back and they have – historically – shown interest in signing experienced, aging backs and seeing what they can do.
I mentioned on out SportsNet Central program at 6 p.m. that there’d been no visit but that the Patriots will check on all available players just in case they have a need.
Then Foster was spotted at the Red Sox game and people’s heads popped clean off their shoulders.
He didn’t visit, I tweeted to the people.
Was told there's been no visit. https://t.co/Ytc2lFFDvY— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) May 21, 2016
This did not placate the people.
Told no visit to Gillette? Pats like to mix words....possibly meet at Krafts house....— Brian (@BtothemfingV) May 21, 2016
In other words, he was doing exactly what a few million others will do in the next three months. Visit New England, rent a car and go to a Red Sox game.
Tom E. Curran can be followed on Twitter @tomecurran.