Patriots

Chris Long gives awesome first-hand account of Patriots' Super Bowl LI comeback

Chris Long gives awesome first-hand account of Patriots' Super Bowl LI comeback

Life comes at you fast in the NFL -- in Chris Long's case, in a good way.

In February 2016, Long was sitting at home after another 7-9 season for the (then) St. Louis Rams.

In February 2017, he was suiting up for the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI -- and contributing to the greatest comeback in NFL history.

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The retired defensive end joined 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Zolak & Bertrand" on Thursday from Radio Row in Miami to discuss that wild win over the Atlanta Falcons -- and what he was thinking when the Patriots were down 28-3 in the third quarter.

"When I'm down 25 (points), it's curtains. It's over," Long said. "I've been in St. Louis my whole life. Forget being up 25. We were never up 25."

That's why Long admitted he was slightly annoyed by the Patriots' confidence in the locker room at halftime.

"In the locker room, I always remember: (Safety) Duron Harmon went, 'We're gonna win this game,' " Long recalled.  "And I'm sitting there thinking to myself, 'Let's just get a stop. What are you talking about?'

"But guys in that locker room believed it. And I think that's the effect of being on a winner long enough, is that you're not cynical. You think you can come out of anything. And that's what having the G.O.A.T. (quarterback Tom Brady) on your side is."

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That belief helped the Patriots stay the course even after allowing the Falcons to score first in the second half: New England scored 25 unanswered points in just over 20 minutes of game time before James White scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime.

The Patriots' historic comeback also helped Long avoid what he had been bracing for since halftime.

"(Rob) Ninkovich told me leading up to the Super Bowl, 'There's no worse feeling than losing in the Super Bowl,' " Long said. " 'Just prepare yourself: If for some reason we lose this game, you're gonna want to just die, dude.'  

"And (that scenario is) happening. And then 60 minutes later, me and Nink are on the field with Papa John's pizzas scraping up confetti off the field."

Again: Life comes at you fast.

Long went on to win another Super Bowl (at the Patriots' expense) with the Philadelphia Eagles the following season before retiring in 2018. Two Super Bowl wins in three seasons? Not a bad way to go out.

NFL Rumors: Why Patriots are gaining nearly $10M in extra cap space

NFL Rumors: Why Patriots are gaining nearly $10M in extra cap space

Remember when the cash-strapped New England Patriots entered the 2020 NFL Draft with a paltry $1.07 million in cap space?

It's safe to say they're no longer cash-strapped.

Teams are set to gain additional cap space after the NFL management council informed them that signing bonus prorations for players who opted out of the 2020 NFL season will be removed from the team's payroll and toll to 2021 instead, per NFL Media's Tom Pelissero.

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What does this mean for the Patriots, who have had an NFL-high eight players back out of the 2020 season already? According to Patriots cap wizard Miguel Benzan, New England's available cap space increases by roughly $9.2 million, from $26 million to $35.28 million.

According to OverTheCap.com, the Patriots now have the third-most cap space of any NFL team -- behind only the Cleveland Browns and the Washington Football Team -- after entering the draft with the least cap space.

That's a double-edged sword, of course: New England has gained so much cap space because it has lost so many well-paid, key contributors like linebacker Dont'a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung and offensive tackle Marcus Cannon.

Training camp is ramping up this week, so the Patriots may look to fill that personnel void by signing free agents or swinging trades. While they may not spend big on a marquee name like pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney, they certainly have the resources to add some quality talent.

Beau Allen, Dalton Keene have amazing Patriots headshot photos

Beau Allen, Dalton Keene have amazing Patriots headshot photos

The New England Patriots unveiled their 2020 player headshots on Monday, and it was the newcomers who stole the show with their photos.

We finally got our first official look at Cam Newton in a Patriots uniform, but that wasn't even the highlight. Defensive tackle Beau Allen and rookie tight end Dalton Keene have the best headshots of the bunch, and it isn't even close.

Just check out the photos below, shared by Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal:


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Incredible.

Allen signed a two-year deal worth $8 million with New England in March. The 28-year-old appeared in 13 games last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, tallying 0.5 sacks and 10 total tackles. He's spent six seasons in the NFL: four with Philly and two with Tampa. His amazing headshot is definitely another reason why he could become a fan favorite this season.

As for Keene, the Virginia Tech product was selected in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The 21-year-old could have a big role for the Patriots in 2020, especially with tight end Matt LaCosse deciding to opt out of the season. He could also help out at fullback with Danny Vitale opting out as well.