Patriots

Patriots meeting with draft's top tight ends at the NFL Combine

Patriots meeting with draft's top tight ends at the NFL Combine

The New England Patriots have an uncertain future at the tight end position. Rob Gronkowski's future is murky and there have been some rumblings that he might retire. Considering these rumors and his injury history, it's hard to trust him moving forward.

Elsewhere, top backup Dwayne Allen has a $7.3 million cap hit in 2019, so he may need to restructure his contract if he wants to remain in New England.

With those major questions surrounding what has become a critical position in the Patriots offense, it's no surprise that the team is looking into some of the top tight ends at the 2019 NFL Combine.

According to NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry, the team has already met with or plans to meet with Noah Fant, Irv Smith Jr., Jace Sternberger, Kaden Smith, and Isaac Nauta at the combine. It's clear that the team is intent on scouting this tight end class heavily and may be interested in adding one early.

Of the group, Fant and Irv Smith Jr. stand out as potential first- or second-round options. Fant has scored 18 touchdowns over the course of the past two seasons despite playing with another potential first-round tight end prospect, T.J. Hockenson, and has previously been mocked to the Patriots in the first-round by NFL Network's Charley Casserly.

Meanwhile, Smith Jr. had a breakout year at Alabama playing with Tua Tagovailoa, catching 44 passes for 710 yards and seven touchdowns.

The tight ends will work out and do on-field drills on Saturday at the combine, along with the wide receivers and quarterbacks.

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Michael Holley Podcast: Clay Cook of the Zac Brown Band - Why he loves music, and how Super Bowl LI was as a Falcons fan

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Michael Holley Podcast: Clay Cook of the Zac Brown Band - Why he loves music, and how Super Bowl LI was as a Falcons fan

Michael talks to Clay Cook of the Zac Brown Band about music, his Boston connection and what it was like as Falcons fan to watch the Patriots Super Bowl LI comeback

3:00 - Clay explains why he chose to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston and how he and good friend John Mayer began their music careers together.
 

4:30 - Clay talks about which instruments he can play, tells the story about how he fell in love with the guitar and how he decided to turn his musical talents into a career.
 

9:00 - Clay discusses his relationship with John Mayer.

13:00 - Clay talks about being an Atlanta Falcons fan, his experience being at the Patriots’ comeback win in Super Bowl LI and how he respects Boston sports fans.

20:00 - Clay discusses being an Atlanta Hawks ball boy for a small period of time in the late 80s and early 90s and watching some all-time greats like Dominique Wilkins and Doc Rivers. 

23:30 - Clay talks about his approach to singing the national anthem and his past experiences doing so.

28:00 - Clay talks about touring with Zac Brown Band and how the band still isn’t as popular as most people think.

32:00 - Clay finishes up by giving one thing he loves about his industry and one thing he would change.

LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE HERE:

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Julian Edelman puts percentage on chance Rob Gronkowski returns to Patriots

Julian Edelman puts percentage on chance Rob Gronkowski returns to Patriots

Rob Gronkowski says he's done with football, but his pal Julian Edelman isn't 100-percent convinced.

Edelman discussed Gronk's retirement on Barstool Sports' "Pardon My Take" podcast and was asked to give a percentage on the former tight end returning to the Patriots somewhere down the line.

"I’d say, maybe, an 11 percent chance,” Edelman answered.

Sure, that may be a cop-out response considering 11 happens to be Edelman's jersey number, but Patriots fans can at least find solace in the fact he didn't say "zero."

Edelman also says while he hasn't had a conversation with Gronkowski about the injuries taking a toll on the 30-year-old throughout his career, he could tell Gronk was banged up last season.

”When you’re banged up, football’s not always fun," Edelman said. "I can speak for myself on that. When you’re dealing with things — ankle, foot, back … Football is amazing when you feel great. … But it’s not easy, especially when you get older and have accumulated a lot of injury. So, you started seeing that it was tougher [for Gronkowski]. It gets tougher for everyone."

Gronkowski seems adamant he's staying retired, but he's certainly gotten a kick out of trolling those who believe he'll eventually return to the gridiron.

Time will tell whether the future Hall-of-Famer will change his mind. Until then, you can bet Gronk will continue living every moment of retired life to the fullest.

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