Patriots

Report: Sony Michel 'progressing quickly' after knee surgery, spending time TB12 facility

Report: Sony Michel 'progressing quickly' after knee surgery, spending time TB12 facility

There was a bit of reason for concern surrounding Sony Michel this offseason. The second-year running back out of Georgia missed New England Patriots minicamp after having minor arthroscopic knee surgery.

Considering that Michel had dealt with a knee injury that cost him a few games in 2018, this certainly was something a bit unsettling. However, it seems that Michel is doing just fine. Per NFL Network's Mike Giardi, Michel is "progressing well" and "running at full tilt."

This update seemingly indicates that Michel should be more than fine by the time the regular season rolls around, though his knee will still need to be watched closely.

The Patriots will have options to limit Michel's workload if they do become worried about his knee at any point. The team drafted Alabama's Damien Harris in the third round, and he could factor into the running back rotation. Elsewhere, the team still has pass-catching specialist James White and Rex Burkhead on the roster, so those three can handle the workload if Michel's knee gives him trouble.

It is intriguing that Michel is spending time at the TB12 facility. And Giardi offered an explanation for what Michel's goals were in spending time at TB12.

We'll see if it ends up having a positive impact on Michel. But clearly, Brady's program is having an influence on some of the Patriots. Rob Gronkowski notably worked out at the TB12 facility last offseason and other players like Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan, and Julian Edelman have also tried out the TB12 method.

Tony Romo doesn't see an end in sight for Bill Belichick>>>

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Next Pats Podcast: Could 'average' Cam Newton lead Patriots to Super Bowl?

Next Pats Podcast: Could 'average' Cam Newton lead Patriots to Super Bowl?

Which Cam Newton will the New England Patriots get in 2020: The 2015 NFL MVP who guided the Carolina Panthers to a 15-1 season? Or the injury-plagued quarterback who appeared in just two games last year?

According to Tyler R. Tynes, the Patriots don't necessarily need the former version of Newton to achieve their goal.

Tynes produced and narrated The Ringer's "The Cam Chronicles," a six-part podcast series documenting Newton's entire football journey from Pop Warner to the pros. And after a year of extensive reporting on the 31-year-old QB, Tynes believes Newton has unlimited potential in New England.

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"The ceiling for the Patriots this year should be the Super Bowl," Tynes told NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry on a new episode of the Next Pats Podcast. "Because here's the reality of the situation: If Cam is even average this year, the Patriots are probably one of the best teams in the NFL. This is the thing you've got to bank on here: Him being average is probably good enough for the Patriots to win the Super Bowl, or at least get to the game or the AFC Championship (Game). And so imagine if he's actually good? Now we're talking about something else completely."

That's a bold prediction -- but Tynes has evidence for his confidence.

"When I traced back through Cam's life, the thing I've found to be consistent in his tale is, don't ever doubt him," Tynes said. "Because he just wants that. He uses that as a steroid. He's like Michael Jordan making up a story about a rookie on the Washington Wizards who scored 38 (on him).

" ... Y'all counted him out and left him for dead for what he would say was 86 nights (after the Panthers released him on March 24). OK, you just pissed him off. And the last time he got pissed off, he had one of the greatest comebacks in college football history. The time before that, he won the national championship in junior college football and completely changed what the sport is supposed to look like."

Next Pats Podcast: History shows a motivated Newton is unstoppable | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Tynes referenced two defining moments in Newton's career. The first came when he transferred to Blinn College from the University of Florida amid a controversy involving a stolen laptop, then led the tiny junior college to a national title. The second came when he transferred from Blinn to Auburn and carried a Tigers team that lost five games the previous season to a 14-0 record and a BCS National Championship.

Newton was written off in both cases, Tynes observed, and in both cases used that as motivation to will his teams to championships.

"The results suggest that every time you piss him off, he does something great," Tynes said.

That was 10 years ago, of course, and the nine-year NFL veteran must stay healthy in 2020 if he even wants to be the Patriots' starter. But even at 31, Newton represents a "youth injection" for New England after two decades with Tom Brady, Tynes says.

"You're taking a man who had a lot of trouble taking a five-step drop at 42 years old and really wasn't throwing further than 20-25 yards that much and making it look pretty," Tynes said. "You're getting rid of him and you're putting in a youth injection that you've never had before.

"Cam said it himself in that video: Josh McDaniels is going to be able to call stuff up he's never been able to call before. So, what would you rather have as an offense with dwindling talent all across the field: Cam Newton there with a few good running backs and a lot of bad wide receivers, or Tom Brady, who probably can't move much at age 42?"

For Perry's entire conversation with Tynes, check out the Next Pats Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or watch on YouTube below:

Sports Uncovered: The Bill Belichick you don't know has snowball fights with players

Sports Uncovered: The Bill Belichick you don't know has snowball fights with players

Bill Belichick is the NFL's Scrooge. Having fun is overrated — he's just here to win football games.

That's the perception, anyway. But the latest episode of NBC Sports' "Sports Uncovered" podcast reveals a whole different side of the New England Patriots head coach.

How different, you ask? Well, what if we told you Belichick started a celebratory snowball fight with one of his players after a blowout victory?

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Rob Ninkovich certainly wasn't expecting it. New England had just walloped the Tennessee Titans 59-0 in a 2009 game that ended with inches of snow on the field, and the Patriots edge rusher — then in his first year with the team — was walking to his truck in the Gillette Stadium parking lot.

"All of a sudden a snowball comes in," Ninkovich recalled to our Phil Perry in Episode 2 of the "Sports Uncovered" podcast. "I'm like, 'Who the heck is throwing snowballs?' And it was Bill."

" ... I’m sure he was pumped because we had won by a lot. It was just kind of like a fun moment where you were like, 'He’s not so bad.' "

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As Ninkovich and other ex-Patriots related in the podcast, Belichick can be light-hearted and even playful around his players behind the scenes. But the Patriots coach can also be scathingly critical — which is why Ninkovich had to make an important calculation before returning fire.

"I threw a snowball back, but it was one of those, 'Make sure you don’t hit him,' like way overthrow," Ninkovich said. "But you've gotta act like you’re going to throw a snowball.

"Because if you throw a 90 mph heater and it hits him square in the eye, then you could possibly be cut. Or he respects the fact that you come after him."

Ninkovich apparently made the right call: He went on to enjoy an eight-year career in New England as one of Belichick's most reliable defensive players and helped the Patriots win two Super Bowls.

To hear more about the "other" side of Belichick, check out "Sports Uncovered: The Belichick You Don't Know" and subscribe to "Sports Uncovered" for free wherever you listen to podcasts.