Patriots

With Belichick watching, Iowa TE Noah Fant runs eye-opening 40 at combine

With Belichick watching, Iowa TE Noah Fant runs eye-opening 40 at combine

Noah Fant opened some eyes Saturday morning - including Bill Belichick, who was watching with other coaches - by running a 40-yard dash in 4.51 at the NFL scouting combine.

That's faster than some running backs. And Fant is a 6-4, 249-pound tight end from Iowa. 

Fant continued his impressive day in the other drills.

Fant, who along with fellow Iowa tight end TJ Hockenson (who ran a 4.71) are projected first-round picks, was one of the top tight ends at the combine who met or were to meet with the Patriots, who have the final first-rounder in this year's draft at No. 32.

The Patriots, of course, have some uncertainty at the position, with Rob Gronkowski mulling retirement and No. 2 TE Dwayne Allen reportedly released on Saturday. 

For more on the tight end draft prospects and possible fits with the Patriots, click here for Phil Perry's analysis.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

 

Report: Dante Scarnecchia to help Patriots at NFL Combine despite retiring

Report: Dante Scarnecchia to help Patriots at NFL Combine despite retiring

Will Dante Scarnecchia ever truly "retire?"

The 72-year-old offensive line coach stepped away from the New England Patriots earlier this offseason, his second retirement since leaving the club in 2013 only to return in 2016.

But Scarnecchia still will be present at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine on behalf of the Patriots, NFL Media's Michael Giardi reported Monday.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Scarnecchia joined several Patriots assistant coaches and staffers on a flight to Indianapolis on Monday, per Giardi.

As Giardi noted, Scarnecchia also did some scouting when he first retired from the Patriots in 2013. New England coaxed him back in 2016, and he helped the team win two Super Bowl titles over the next four years.

It's possible Scarnecchia really is retired this time. But considering he's worked with the Patriots for 34 years -- he joined the team as a special teams and tight ends coach in 1982 -- and has been coaching nearly ever year of his life since 1970, he may have a hard time going cold turkey.

New England still hasn't found a replacement for Scarnecchia, so Bill Belichick likely appreciates the legendary offensive line coach doing some pro bono work.

On-field workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium begin Thursday and continue through Sunday.

NFL Rumors: Patriots exploring trade for Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst

NFL Rumors: Patriots exploring trade for Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst

The New England Patriots desperately need tight end depth, and they may turn to an AFC rival to acquire it.

The Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars both are "exploring" a trade for Baltimore Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst ahead of the NFL Draft, the Florida Times-Union’s Eugene Frenette reported Monday.

Hurst, the No. 25 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, caught 30 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns last season in Baltimore, which are decent stats considering he competed with Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle for targets at a crowded position.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

The 26-year-old also is a strong athlete, spending two seasons in the Pittsburgh Pirates' minor league organization out of high school before turning to football and attending South Carolina.

Hurst is under team control through 2021 and is set to make just over $3 million in 2020.

The Patriots have a wealth of 2020 draft picks in their arsenal, so a trade for Hurst certainly seems feasible if they don't covet any tight end prospects in the draft.

New England has incentive to get a deal done quickly, however, as Tom Brady becomes a free agent March 18.