Friday, March 7, 2014
(Continued from page 1)
Losing Wes Welker is one of many blows the New England Patriots have suffered this offseason, along with the loss of Danny Woodhead, Aaron Hernandez's off-field issues and Rob Gronkowski's injury situation.
Aaron Hernandez's link to a homicide investigation in Massachusetts is one of the many negative stories swirling around the New England Patriots this offseason. Nonetheless, Maine fans are still optimistic.
2013 STATUS: Injured, might not play
WHY HE WILL BE MISSED: Gronkowski set an NFL record in 2011 for the most touchdowns (17) by a tight end.
2013 STATUS: Signed with San Diego
WHY HE WILL BE MISSED: A fan favorite for his short stature at 5-foot-8, Woodhead is a dual threat running and catching.
2013 STATUS: Signed with Denver
WHY HE WILL BE MISSED: The receiver has made five straight Pro Bowls and has led the NFL in receptions three times.
2013 STATUS: May not play due to possible legal problems
WHY HE WILL BE MISSED: The tight end made the last two Pro Bowls.
Chris Sedenka, host of the PM Jab, a sports talk radio show on WJJB in Portland, said the Patriots will be a playoff team as long as Brady is its quarterback. The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, and Brady is among the best, even though he will be 36 by the time the 2013 season begins.
"I think the atmosphere has changed. People are weary of how this has played out with Hernandez, and (the Patriots) have brought in some other guys of questionable character," Sedenka said. "But if you're winning, that can cure all."
The Boston Red Sox remade their team this year after suffering through their worst season since 1965 last year. This year's team is considered much more likeable, and it's winning. The Sox have been in first place for most of the season.
The Patriots "don't need a makeover," Walsh said. "They have worked hard to fill in roster spots. But their fortune is tied more to one person (Brady) than most teams."
The team will report to mini-camp in late July. Tebow likely will make as many headlines as Brady. Gronkowski, when he's not in a bar, will be on the sidelines nursing his five surgeries. Belichick will be surly and tight-lipped with the media. Who knows where Hernandez will be?
And who knows what else might happen before opening day?
Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:
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Losing Wes Welker is one of many blows the New England Patriots have suffered this offseason, along with the loss of Danny Woodhead, Aaron Hernandez's off-field issues and Rob Gronkowski's injury situation. Above, Gronkowski catches a pass in 2012.