Patriots

Baker Mayfield was 'convinced' Patriots would trade to draft him at No. 2

Baker Mayfield was 'convinced' Patriots would trade to draft him at No. 2

After his client went No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft, Baker Mayfield's agent made an eye-opening suggestion.

The New England Patriots, Jack Mills claimed, were intent on trading up to the No. 2 pick to draft Mayfield if the Browns passed on the quarterback at No. 1.

Cleveland obviously prevented that scenario from happening, but apparently Mayfield himself was prepared to join Tom Brady on the Patriots.

In a column published Wednesday, ESPN's Mina Kimes included this note:

Until the day of the draft, Mayfield wasn't sure the Browns would take him with the first overall pick. (For a while, he was convinced New England would trade up for him at No. 2.)

Mayfield-to-the-Patriots would have been a fascinating development, as the Heisman Trophy winner would have had to back up Brady while offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels groomed him as the heir apparent.

New England had significant interest in this plan -- NFL Network's Mike Giardi reported at the time that the Patriots viewed Mayfield as "the closest thing" to Jimmy Garoppolo in the 2018 draft -- but it sounds like Mayfield would have been less on board. According to Kimes, the 24-year-old was excited by the opportunity to reverse the fortunes of a long-struggling franchise in Cleveland.

"I wanted to come here and play and be the one to change it right away," Mayfield told Kimes.

It appears the situation worked out for both parties: Mayfield has the chance to do just that on an up-and-coming Browns squad, while the 41-year-old Brady showed no signs of needing any help when he piloted the Patriots to their sixth Super Bowl title last season.

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Rob Gronkowski: Joe Judge was 'out of control' with Patriots (in a good way)

Rob Gronkowski: Joe Judge was 'out of control' with Patriots (in a good way)

Patriots fans didn't see or hear much from Joe Judge during his tenure in New England.

Apparently they missed out.

Former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski dropped an eyebrow-raising quote Tuesday about Judge, who recently became the New York Giants' head coach after eight years in New England.

"Joe Judge is a great guy,” Gronkowski said on an "NFL on FOX" media panel in Miami, via NJ.com. "He’s out of control and I love it."

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If the guy who once used the Lombardi Trophy as a baseball bat says you're out of control, you must be really out of control.

Gronkowski didn't get into specifics, but suggested Judge brought quite the sense of humor to Patriots team meetings.

“He’s out of control in all ways,” Gronk said. "He’s fun to be around, he has a lot of great jokes and they’re funny ... He had me laughing many times in meetings."

Judge rarely gave interviews as a Patriots special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach, so only his players saw this side of the 38-year-old Philadelphia native.

But Gronk also saw the side of Judge that he believes will make him a great head coach in New York.

"He knew where every single player needed to be on every single play," Gronkowski said. "It was unbelievable. ... He knew it in a split second, so it wasn’t like he had to think of where this player needed to be, he knew it in a split second. You just knew he’s made for the game of football."

Judge may have to tone down his inner jokester now that he's a head coach in a major media market. He clearly has a kindred spirit in Gronk, though.

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Revisiting the 'enlightening' lesson Kobe Bryant taught Bill Belichick, Patriots

Revisiting the 'enlightening' lesson Kobe Bryant taught Bill Belichick, Patriots

In a statement Tuesday, Bill Belichick said he had "never witnessed a group as captivated" as the New England Patriots when Kobe Bryant spoke to the team in May 2018.

Belichick wasn't just paying lip service.

On Tuesday, NFL Films resurfaced a clip from HBO's "The Art of Coaching" documentary about Belichick and Alabama head coach Nick Saban in which both coaching legends reflected on their interactions with Bryant.

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These comments came in March 2019, more than 10 months before Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were tragically killed Sunday in a helicopter crash.

Here's what Belichick had to say at the time about Bryant's message to the Patriots:

Another thing he said to us, which was an awesome message, was, "When I was 25 (years old), I could go out and score 30 (points). When I was 35, 38, I could score 30, but it wasn't the same way. I had to learn how to play without the ball. I had to learn how to play in less space. I had to learn how to use picks differently. I couldn't just drive to the basket like I could in my younger days. I could still score, but I had to change my game."

That was so enlightening for all our players that heard that. Because you're sitting there looking at his career and then we're all thinking about ours. It's changed for me just like it's changed for the players.

Belichick is a student of football. He has won six Super Bowl titles over 20 years in New England by constantly adapting, changing his approach as a head coach and general manager to stay ahead of the game's shifting trends.

Belichick clearly saw the same trait in Bryant, who averaged 22.3 points per game at age 36 (after tearing his Achilles tendon) by altering his style of play after hours of study and practice. The 42-year-old Tom Brady obviously took Bryant's message to heart, as well.

Bryant is gone much too soon at age 41, but the impact he had on players and coaches of all sports will live on.