Patriots

With Watson's return, Brady not the only old guy at Patriots minicamp

With Watson's return, Brady not the only old guy at Patriots minicamp

FOXBORO – Having Ben Watson around isn’t just a boon for Tom Brady because the Patriots are light at tight end.

Watson’s presence also means he’s got someone else on the team who knows what it was like to be in high school in the 1990s.

As time has passed and Brady’s defied it, the age gap between he and his teammates has logically widened. His best buddy has been Julian Edelman who, at 33, is eight years younger. Before the Watson, 38, showed up, Stephen Gostkowski, 36, was the closest in age.

Now, grizzled veteran Watson actually will be working with someone who remembers when Watson showed up in the NFL.

“There’s very few men in the NFL that I can step on the field with and say, ‘Wow. I look up to that guy,’ “ Watson said after minicamp practice Tuesday at Gillette. “I played with one in New Orleans in Drew Brees, a guy who’s been in a few years more than me. Obviously coming in as a rookie [after being drafted by the Patriots in 2004] and walking into a locker room with a young Tom Brady then – he was what, four or so years in and was already accomplished – for him to still be on the field is really cool for me. I’m still an older guy but there’s still someone for me to pattern myself after as well.”

With Austin Seferian-Jenkins being released Tuesday and the remaining tight ends being relative neophytes, Watson was front-and-center working with Brady on Tuesday. In one period, Brady broke off in a small group with running back James White, rookie first-rounder N’Keal Harry and Watson to work on some reads, spacing and timing. Though not exactly explosive, Watson still moves smoothly and plucks the ball with ease. And Brady seemed – from a distance – to warm to working with him.  

There has to be a bit of a bond between two guys who spent a chunk of their careers together before they became who they’ve become – two of the most respected men in the league.

“We can talk about being married and having kids and my oldest is 10 now and we’re in the same areas of life although he is a superstar/rock star,” said Watson. “We can connect on those levels so that’s what’s really fun. That’s what I’ve enjoyed over the course of my career, obviously the football and winning and competing but being able to connect with him on life issues. We’re almost kinda checking the same box.”

Watson was asked about how familiar it feels being back with the team a decade since he moved on. He said that – against all odds in such a transitory league – the familiarity remains.

“It speaks to the stability this organization has had from an ownership standpoint, head coach standpoint, assistant coach standpoint, quarterback standpoint,” said Watson. “Obviously, when there’s that stability guys may come back to that because they are coming back to coaches that drafted them or knew them in free agency.”

Twenty minicamps in, Brady and Bill Belichick are like walking relics of another era. So much so that they make Watson feel young.  

 

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Report: Dante Scarnecchia to help Patriots at NFL Combine despite retiring

Report: Dante Scarnecchia to help Patriots at NFL Combine despite retiring

Will Dante Scarnecchia ever truly "retire?"

The 72-year-old offensive line coach stepped away from the New England Patriots earlier this offseason, his second retirement since leaving the club in 2013 only to return in 2016.

But Scarnecchia still will be present at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine on behalf of the Patriots, NFL Media's Michael Giardi reported Monday.

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Scarnecchia joined several Patriots assistant coaches and staffers on a flight to Indianapolis on Monday, per Giardi.

As Giardi noted, Scarnecchia also did some scouting when he first retired from the Patriots in 2013. New England coaxed him back in 2016, and he helped the team win two Super Bowl titles over the next four years.

It's possible Scarnecchia really is retired this time. But considering he's worked with the Patriots for 34 years -- he joined the team as a special teams and tight ends coach in 1982 -- and has been coaching nearly ever year of his life since 1970, he may have a hard time going cold turkey.

New England still hasn't found a replacement for Scarnecchia, so Bill Belichick likely appreciates the legendary offensive line coach doing some pro bono work.

On-field workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium begin Thursday and continue through Sunday.

NFL Rumors: Patriots exploring trade for Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst

NFL Rumors: Patriots exploring trade for Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst

The New England Patriots desperately need tight end depth, and they may turn to an AFC rival to acquire it.

The Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars both are "exploring" a trade for Baltimore Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst ahead of the NFL Draft, the Florida Times-Union’s Eugene Frenette reported Monday.

Hurst, the No. 25 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, caught 30 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns last season in Baltimore, which are decent stats considering he competed with Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle for targets at a crowded position.

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The 26-year-old also is a strong athlete, spending two seasons in the Pittsburgh Pirates' minor league organization out of high school before turning to football and attending South Carolina.

Hurst is under team control through 2021 and is set to make just over $3 million in 2020.

The Patriots have a wealth of 2020 draft picks in their arsenal, so a trade for Hurst certainly seems feasible if they don't covet any tight end prospects in the draft.

New England has incentive to get a deal done quickly, however, as Tom Brady becomes a free agent March 18.