Patriots

How Ex-Patriot Asante Samuel once made a young Deshaun Watson's day

How Ex-Patriot Asante Samuel once made a young Deshaun Watson's day

Before leading Clemson to a national championship and becoming the franchise quarterback of the Houston Texans, Deshaun Watson was a ball boy for the Atlanta Falcons.

As a high-schooler, Watson's job included picking up balls during practice, taking care of equipment, and folding towels. It was more exciting than it sounds, especially considering Watson's notable experience with a former Patriot.

Ex-Pats cornerback Asante Samuel, who played in Atlanta in 2012 and 2013, forgot his mouthpiece in his locker and asked Watson to retrieve it. Watson obliged, and Samuel asked him to meet him after practice.

"I went to his locker after practice,” Watson told ESPN, “and he pulled out his Louis (Vuitton) bag and pulled out a whole stack of money, and he gave me like $1,000, just to go get his mouthpiece. He didn’t have to give me anything, but he did.”

An incredibly kind gesture by the two-time Super Bowl champion.

Watson is enjoying another productive season thus far in his third year in the league. The 24-year-old has the Texans at 2-2 heading into Week 5.

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Report: 2020 NFL Draft will be conducted from homes, not team facilities

Report: 2020 NFL Draft will be conducted from homes, not team facilities

While the tradition of the NFL draft in late April apparently will not be stopped by the coronavirus, the traditional draft "war room" might be.

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NFL teams are preparing to conduct the April 23-25 draft with personnel at their homes and not at their team facilities, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported.  

Schefter and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski also reported that President Trump had a conference call on Saturday with the commissioners of each of the major league sports and Trump said he believes the NFL season should start on time. The regular season is scheduled to begin Sept. 10, a Thursday night, when the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host an opponent to be determined. 

Trump, who last week expressed the hope that mass gatherings could return by Easter Sunday before backtracking on the advice of medical experts and scientists and extending restrictions until April 30, also said he hopes to have fans back in stadiums and arenas by August and September. 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ordered team facilities closed more than a week ago.

Earlier, when the NFL announced that the draft would go on as scheduled, it was thought that the teams would work from their facilities - with only 10 people in a room, each six feet apart - to make the picks and contact players chosen via video conferencing. 

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It appears from Schefter's report that the video conferencing will be going on not only with picks but among individual team's general managers, scouts and coaches as they shelter in place like the rest of us while the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the world. 

It creates an unprecedented draft, likely devoid of a lot of the glitzy production values that the original idea of the draft in Las Vegas would've had, but still a far cry from when the teams' decision-makers met in a smoky New York hotel ballroom on a Tuesday in late April to do the picking. 

 

New York Post salutes Robert Kraft with 'Thank You, Pats' front page

New York Post salutes Robert Kraft with 'Thank You, Pats' front page

That whole Boston-New York rivalry thing gets put aside when it comes to public health and the crisis we all find ourselves in these days.

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There's no better example of that than the front page of the New York Post on Saturday morning:

Patriots owner Robert Kraft sent the team plane to China to purchase and bring back 1.7 million N95 protective masks needed to help combat the deadly coronavirus that has hit New York City particularly hard. The Kraft family donated 300,000 masks to New York-area hospitals and they arrived on Friday in a tractor-trailer emblazoned with the Patriots logo. 

In a city that, as Post columnist Mark Cannizzaro put it, has "been trained to disdain" everything about the Patriots and Boston teams, it should be a gesture that forever puts Kraft in the New York family: 

Today, however, everyone associated with New York — Jets fans or otherwise — should salute the 78-year-old Kraft, who delivered a deed so special in this frightening and uncertain time of the coronavirus crisis that it should never be forgotten.

Even Jets superfan "Fireman Ed" Anzalone told the Post he has to put the rivalry aside.

“I don’t like his team. They’ve been beating us up for quite some time. But Kraft is just a wonderful guy, so I’m not surprised by his actions.”