Patriots

Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard responds to Patriots trade rumors

Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard responds to Patriots trade rumors

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard's future has been in question with the NFL trade deadline looming, and the rumors linking him to the New England Patriots wasn't a shock to him.

The Patriots reportedly reached out to the Buccaneers to ask about a potential deal involving Howard, but Tampa Bay wasn't interested. 

Howard was asked Tuesday about the trade rumors involving him and the Patriots, giving him an opportunity to talk up his talents.

The Buccaneers selected Howard with the 19th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and despite catching 11 touchdown passes in his first two pro seasons, he has not made much of an impact in Tampa Bay's passing attack in 2019.

Howard has tallied 13 receptions for 176 yards and zero touchdowns on 18 targets this season. He's averaging only three targets per game, which is less than ideal for a tight end with impressive talent and size (6-foot-6 and 251 pounds). 

The Patriots reportedly acquired wide receiver Mohamed Sanu from the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for a second-round draft pick Tuesday, but they still have plenty of 2020 draft picks to use in other trades to address remaining roster weaknesses. One of those weaknesses is tight end, where two newcomers, Ben Watson and Eric Tomlinson, suited up at the position for New England in Monday night's 33-0 road win over the New York Jets. Ryan Izzo (concussion) and Matt LaCosse (knee) both were ruled out of the Week 7 victory, creating concerns about the Patriots' depth at tight end. 

The trade deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. ET. 

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Patriots reveal first photo of Cam Newton in full uniform, new jersey

Patriots reveal first photo of Cam Newton in full uniform, new jersey

New England Patriots fans wondering what Cam Newton would look like in the team's new uniforms no longer have to wait.

The Patriots unveiled headshots of each player earlier last week, and on Tuesday they posted photos of all the players in full uniform. The Patriots, of course, will debut new jerseys during the 2020 NFL season.

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Here's a look at Newton in the Patriots' home blue jersey:

The Patriots also tweeted a link to check out photos of every player in the new jerseys.

Newton signed a one-year contract with the Patriots a little more than a month ago, and if he's able to stay healthy, the former league MVP is the favorite to win the starting quarterback job over Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer.

The Patriots are expected to have their first training camp practice Wednesday.

Patriots' Dont'a Hightower used Super Bowl LI to support fiancée during labor

Patriots' Dont'a Hightower used Super Bowl LI to support fiancée during labor

The greatest comeback in Super Bowl history is three and a half years old, but it certainly isn't forgotten.

Just ask Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower, who brought up New England's miraculous Super Bowl LI victory over the Atlanta Falcons while his fiancée, Morgan Hart, was delivering their baby. Seriously.

Hightower told The Boston Globe's Stan Grossfeld he started chanting "28-3, 28-3" and "Never give up" while Hart entered her 17th hour of labor with their first child last month.

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Apparently the motivational tactic worked, as Hart said Hightower's words helped her push through and deliver their baby boy, Grayson, on July 16.

"It was surreal," Hart told Grossfeld. “It was a long night and a long day, and he kept reminding me, ‘28-3, 28-3,′ meaning you can be behind and come back. Never, never give up."

That's a reference to the deficit New England faced in the third quarter of Super Bowl LI before rallying to win in overtime -- thanks in large part to Hightower's strip sack of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan early in the fourth quarter.

Hightower still uses the 28-3 reference "all the time," per Grossfeld, but his focus won't be on football in 2020. The 30-year-old linebacker is one of eight Patriots players who have decided to opt out of the 2020 season.

"Not knowing too much about the COVID thing, I don’t want to jeopardize the health of my family," Hightower told Grossfeld. "I understand you can still catch it by going to the grocery store, but I’m not going to put my family’s health at risk for money.

"It’s family first. I want to take all the opportunity that I can to be a great father."

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