Patriots

NFL rumors: Patriots to sign special teams ace Justin Bethel

NFL rumors: Patriots to sign special teams ace Justin Bethel

The New England Patriots value special teams more than any other franchise in the NFL, so we shouldn't be surprised that they hosted a premier special teams player for a visit Tuesday.

UPDATE (5:33 p.m. ET): The Patriots are signing special teams star Justin Bethel, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport. 

--End of Update--

ESPN's Field Yates has reported that former Baltimore Ravens defensive back Justin Bethel met with the defending Super Bowl champions.

Bethel played in all seven of the Ravens' games before their Week 8 bye. He primarily played on special teams, where he saw more than 80 percent of his total snaps. The 29-year-old veteran played the first seven years of his pro career with the Arizona Cardinals, who selected him in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Bethel earned three Pro Bowl selections and two All-Pro first team nods as a special teams star with the Cardinals. The Patriots recently brought back safety Jordan Richards, and all of his snaps over the last two games have come on special teams. 

ESPN's Mike Reiss reported the Patriots had two other players in for workouts Tuesday, including an offensive tackle and a wide receiver.

The Patriots, who beat the New York Jets 33-0 on Monday night to improve to 7-0, host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday for a Week 8 matchup at Gillette Stadium.

Tom E. Curran's takeaways from the Mohamed Sanu trade>>>

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.

Sources: Patriots not interested in bringing back Antonio Brown

Sources: Patriots not interested in bringing back Antonio Brown

Once bitten, twice shy.

Two sources with knowledge of the Patriots thinking scoffed at the idea Antonio Brown would rejoin the Patriots this season.

When one source was asked if there was a chance the wideout – who was with the Patriots for less than two tumultuous weeks in September – might have a chance at rejoining the team, this was the two-word response.

“What’s changed?”

I mentioned Brown’s social media apology to owner Robert Kraft earlier in the week and his meeting last week with the NFL as possibly changing the equation.

I was told that it does not.

At issue aren’t hurt feelings that Brown couldn’t fix with a few keystrokes. It’s the wariness of something else cropping up down the road.

When the Patriots signed Brown, there was no advance notice from Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus that Brown was on the cusp of being slapped with a lawsuit by his former trainer Britney Taylor even though the legal wrangling between Brown and Taylor’s attorneys had been going on for months.

And while it was subsequently reported Rosenhaus couldn’t break a confidentiality agreement Brown supposedly had in place, the fact that the Patriots entered into the Brown experience not knowing at all that that bombshell was waiting to explode makes them unwilling to go down the same road again.

Florio: If Patriots don’t sign Antonio Brown, "somebody else will">>>

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.

Patriots Talk Podcast: Mike Florio on Antonio Brown situation; Robert Kraft-Jerry Jones rivalry

Patriots Talk Podcast: Mike Florio on Antonio Brown situation; Robert Kraft-Jerry Jones rivalry

Tom E. Curran is joined by Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, who discusses the latest on Antonio Brown's legal situation and a potential reunion with the Patriots, as well as New York Times journalist Mark Leibovich — author of the book "Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times" — who talks about the off-field rivalry between Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones, in this new episode of Tom Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast.

4:09 — Tom Curran is joined by Mike Florio to talk about the emerging new details of Antonio Brown's legal situation and how it relates to his possible return.

12:22 — Mike explains why the NFL's disciplinary system for players who violate the league's personal conduct policy is not fair.

14:52 — Will the Patriots try to re-sign Antonio Brown if he is cleared? Tom and Mike discuss how close the wide receiver actually is to making a return to football and why the Patriots might go after him.

21:46 — Tom is joined by author and journalist at the New York Times Mark Leibovich to discuss the off-the-field rivalry between Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones.

28:12 — Is there inherent jealousy between the two owners based on their own success?

33:40 â€” Mark gives his take on the Patriots' upcoming matchup with the Dallas Cowboys.

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.