Patriots

Patriots 'livid' over character coach Jack Easterby joining Texans, per report

Patriots 'livid' over character coach Jack Easterby joining Texans, per report

The New England Patriots lost a number of high-profile assistants this offseason. So, what's the fuss with their former character coach?

Jack Easterby, regarded as a player favorite and an key member of the Patriots' organization, ended his six-year tenure with New England in February to latch on with the Houston Texans in April as their "executive vice president of team development."

That move apparently didn't sit well with the Patriots, who are "livid" with Bill O'Brien's Texans for hiring Easterby, the Boston Sports Journal's Greg Bedard reported Wednesday, citing a source.

"This totally pissed them off," another source told Bedard.

According to Bedard, though, the Patriots are most "irate" with Easterby himself for taking his intimate knowledge New England's inner workings to an AFC rival with several former Pats assistants -- including O'Brien -- on staff.

As Bedard notes, Easterby had aspirations beyond character coach and hired the same agent (Bob Lamonte) who represents Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio to pursue them. That's well within his right, but "certain influential members" of the Patriots were incensed that he chose the Texans.

"Easterby has so much intel on the inner workings, including the thought processes of the Patriots, their coaches and players, that he’s much more valuable than any coach, player or scout switching teams," Bedard wrote.

Furthermore, Bedard reports Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his son, Jonathan, are particularly upset with Easterby returning for New England's ring ceremony at the Krafts' home earlier this month despite being critical of Robert's alleged involvement in a Florida prostitution scandal.

"The Krafts can tolerate a lot of things, but if you leave for a competitor with state secrets, take issue with some of their personal actions … don’t disrespect their family home by trying to poach someone else on your way out the door," Bedard added.

There's a lot to unpack in Bedard's column, which is worth a full read and also explores the Patriots-Texans tampering war over Caserio. The main takeaway: Circle your calendars for Week 13, when Bill Belichick's Patriots visit Houston for a clash with a bitter backdrop.

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Agent Don Yee takes aim at the 'collegiate sports industrial complex'

Agent Don Yee takes aim at the 'collegiate sports industrial complex'

Don Yee is well known as the agent for Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Sean Payton and others.

But his longstanding effort to shine a light on the inequities of what he calls the “collegiate sports industrial complex” may wind up being as impactful on the game of football as the work he’s done with those greats.

This week, I spoke at length to Yee on our podcast about college football at a crossroads in this summer of COVID-19.

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In Yee’s view, the awakening that’s gone on among athletes as they’ve been strung along for months by the Dumb and Dumber coalition of coaches, college presidents and administrators has been building.

“It’s a situation that’s been gaining steam in my view for at least the last 10 to 12 years,” Yee said. “There’s been such a dramatic influx of money into the collegiate sports industrial complex that when you’ve got that kind of money coming in there’s just been a single-minded focus on generating more and more money and that focus unfortunately has taken over … college administrators, college presidents, athletic directors and coaches.

“They’ve actually taken their eye off the ball in that they have completely overlooked the fact that they have a labor force that isn’t being compensated,” Yee added. “In their single-minded pursuit of every single dollar they’ve forgotten about the care and concern of the athletes.”

Patriots Talk Podcast: Don Yee and the remedy for college football’s ‘industrial complex’ | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Everyone knows big-time college sports drips with hypocrisy and greed. It’s a shell game in which literally thousands of people wind up splitting the billions of dollars generated every year and the only ones that never see a legal buck of it are the players.

The pretzel logic used to justify it is laughable. The best way to enjoy the product and the games is, literally, to ignore the reality.

Yee has, over the past decade, forced people to look at it.

“Over the decades we’ve created a unique system that doesn’t exist anywhere in the developed world,” he said. “Nowhere in the developed world does this exist. Where you have a system, a small group of football players every year – there’s 130 Division I schools and among those 130 schools let’s say 50 to 60 are the most critical players to that enterprise for that particular season.

"So it’s a few thousand young men and what they do is strap on the equipment and roll out there for an increasingly long season – now as many as 14 games – and go out there and put their bodies on the line to generate substantial amounts of revenue to support the lifestyles of the administrators, the coaches, the coaches in the non-revenue sports, all the non-revenue sports programs and athletes which then – by extension – helps support the U.S. Olympic program (as a breeding ground for the athletes before becoming Olympians).

“The success of the football program also supports the very existence of the university because if the football program has success, the university can then initiate a piggybacking off the excitement and success of the football team and begin multi-billion capital campaigns to build new buildings on campus etc. So all of this is due to the efforts of a very small group of young men every single year. We tolerate it. Ultimately, we get distracted by the pom-poms and the bands.”

Yee and I discussed so much more, including whether he thinks there will be an NFL equivalent to the NBA’s G-League (yes), details on his new venture which will help teams easily find the players they now have to kick over rocks to discover (like Malcolm Butler) and how the change in college will be shepherded in by the players.

Joe Montana: Tom Brady hinted at displeasure with Patriots at Super Bowl LIV

Joe Montana: Tom Brady hinted at displeasure with Patriots at Super Bowl LIV

Joe Montana has wondered aloud how the New England Patriots could let Tom Brady get away to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Based on the conversation he had with Brady in February, though, maybe he should have seen the QB's exit coming.

During an interview Wednesday on ESPN 97.5 Houston's "Jake Asman Show," Montana revealed he talked with Brady at Super Bowl LIV and got the sense the 20-year veteran didn't like his situation.

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"I spoke to Tom while we were back at the Super Bowl," Montana said. "I don't think he was happy with the way things were progressing there and his ability to have input, and I think that was a big decision for him to make to leave there."

Our Tom E. Curran and others have reported that Brady wasn't thrilled about having less of a say in the Patriots' offensive game plan last season, especially after New England mustered just 13 points in a Wild Card Round loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Montana's recollection of his conversation with Brady -- the two QBs were part of an "NFL 100" pregame ceremony at Super Bowl LIV -- certainly lends credence to those reports and suggests Brady was ready to move on from the Patriots after 20 seasons.

It sounds like the 43-year-old quarterback picked the right destination, too: Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich apparently joked that all he has to do with Brady under center is "get out of the way."