Bielema excited Patriots landed 'dynamic' Dane, former recruit Froholdt

Bielema excited Patriots landed 'dynamic' Dane, former recruit Froholdt

FOXBORO -- When Hjalte Froholdt chose to make the University of Arkansas his new home, Bret Bielema got a bit of a wakeup call from Froholdt's parents as to just how important that decision was for their son.

"I had a chance to say goodbye to his mom and dad," Bielema remembered last week. "You know, being the head coach at Wisconsin or Arkansas, when you say, 'My kid's coming,' usually he's going to fly a couple states away.

"His mom grabbed me and she's like, 'I'm giving you my son, and tomorrow I'm going to fly halfway around the world.' . . . There's a moment. I'm like, 'All right.' "

Froholdt, a fourth-round pick of the Patriots last month, grew up in Denmark and came to the States as an exchange student as a sophomore in high school. He'd been introduced to football when he was 12, continuing to grow and improve as he played at IMG Academy in Florida, eventually turning himself into a Division 1 recruit.

"I always had an interest in football but mainly it was because I wanted the American experience," Froholdt said soon after the Patriots selected him. "I wanted to get better at football and take it back to Denmark, and maybe play a little bit better back in Denmark and learn something. But, of course, there's always been dreams. We kind of just talked about how it seemed unrealistic about college and the NFL and whatnot.

"It was never really the intention. I came over wanting to get a super-sized meal and drive some big cars, and it turned out as something really different."

At Arkansas under Bielema, who is now coaching Patriots' defensive linemen, Froholdt transitioned from defensive line to offensive line and was a key cog in the team's power-running schemes. Last year, under a new coaching staff, the Razorbacks played more of a spread style.

"I've just seen from film the Patriots are really multiple," Froholdt said. "They do a bunch of things that try to confuse defenses. I'm excited to try to be a part of it. I need to get there to really figure out what's going on before I can really say anything about how I'll fit in. But I'm just excited to come in and get to know everybody and try to earn some respect in that organization."

Given where the Patriots took him -- Trey Flowers and Shaq Mason are recent fourth-round success stories in New England -- there's already a measure of respect for Froholdt in the organization. And that's despite Froholdt admitting he did not spend much time with team representatives during the pre-draft process.

Bielema's relationship with the player, known simply as "Denmark" to some former teammates, surely played a role in Froholdt ending up in Foxboro for last weekend's rookie minicamp.

It was Bielema who was on the phone almost immediately after Froholdt found out he was being selected. That's a bit unusual -- typically Bill Belichick gets on the horn with players pretty quickly -- but it was fitting given the relationship Froholdt and Bielema ("Coach B") forged years prior during the college recruiting process.

"I've been a part of a lot of different cool phone calls but I never been on the side of telling someone that they're drafted or their opportunity has come true," Bielema said. "I've been there right after the draft. I've been there for different parties but that one was a pretty cool circle. Just the uniqueness of recruiting a player from Denmark -- how many times you get to do that?

"To have him come full circle, I'm excited about him and his opportunity. You guys will enjoy him. He's got a personality. I know we'll put a little wall around him, but I think Hjalte is very dynamic. He's a great person, a great player, and I'm excited for him to see what he can do."

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Tom Brady's stay-at-home message contains healthy living tips amid pandemic

Tom Brady's stay-at-home message contains healthy living tips amid pandemic

Tom Brady is the latest athlete to record a stay at home message amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But his is a little different than the other ones you've already seen.

While most have spent time focusing on providing encouraging words to those dealing with the struggles of social distancing, Brady focused more on how to stay healthy amid the pandemic. Here's a look at his full message courtesy of the NFL's Twitter account.

This was a nice idea by Brady to give some tips to help people adjust to these unfamiliar living conditions. It also lines up pretty well with his health and lifestyle brand, TB12, so it's no surprise to see him preach the benefits of staying hydrated, being active, and eating nutrient-rich vegetables.

Of course, Brady did also have some words of encouragement for his audience and signed off by saying "I know we’re going to get through this together." So, that was a great gesture as well.

Brady will surely be focused on following these tips as he prepares for his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady spent the first 20 seasons of his career with the New England Patriots before signing with the Bucs this offseason.

NFL Odds: Here are the favorites to start at QB in Week 1 for the Patriots

NFL Odds: Here are the favorites to start at QB in Week 1 for the Patriots

The New England Patriots are facing uncertainty at quarterback for the first time in two decades. Tom Brady departed this offseason to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Patriots will need a new starting quarterback as a result.

That said, a favorite appears to be emerging to take over the job.

According to FanDuel Sportsbook, Jarrett Stidham is currently heavily favored to be the Patriots starter at least to kick-off 2020. Here's a look at the odds for each potential candidate at the position courtesy of FanDuel.

This lines up pretty well with what has come out of Patriots camp since Brady's departure. They seem to believe that Stidham is their future at quarterback, so why wouldn't they give him a shot to start? While Brian Hoyer isn't too far behind Stidham (+250), he's likely only that high because he has the most starting experience of the three passers currently on the Patriots depth chart.

The more interesting parts of these odds are the ones relating to veterans and rookies not currently on the team. Cam Newton (+900) leads the pack among the veteran options and is one of two non-Patriot quarterbacks ahead of presumed third-stringer Cody Kessler. The other is Andy Dalton (+1000).

While Newton is available, the Patriots don't have much in the way of cap space. So, it seems unlikely that they would sign him unless they have minimal confidence in the quarterback options on their roster or if one of their options suffers an injury down the road.

As for the rookies, Jacob Eason (+1900) actually leads the pack by a fair bit. He's still a longshot, but his odds are much better than the triage of other rookie passers listed; Justin Herbert, Jake From, and Jordan Love come in at +2600.

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Is this a sign that the Patriots like Eason? They're notoriously tight-lipped about the draft process, so it's hard to say. But if Eason continues to considerably lead the rookie pack as the draft draws nearer, that should be a good indication that the Pats have their eye on him.

Either way, Stidham is rightfully the favorite at this point and the Patriots seem content to give him a season to prove himself. But once the 2020 NFL Draft comes and goes, the picture at quarterback will be a bit clearer.