May 24, 2012; Foxborough, MA USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (88) on the practice field during organized team activities at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

Morning Cup of Gronk

 

Two Bay State teams made the list of the world’s 50 most valuable sports teams: the New England Patriots [team stats], which tied for sixth place with the Los Angeles Dodgers with a net worth of $1.4 billion; and the Boston Red Sox [team stats], which ranked 24th with a net worth of $1 billion, according to Forbes.com.

 

 

After posing nude for ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue” and partying at events for the issue and the ESPYs (Gronkowski was up for two awards but was shut out), and co-hosting “Access Hollywood Live” in recent days — things that seem un-Patriot-like — don’t be surprised if he lays low for the next couple of weeks.

 

 

New England has one of the most dangerous and dynamic passing attacks in the NFL. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady still is playing at an elite level and has a bevy of weapons at receiver (Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney) and tight end (Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez). The status of Pro Bowl guards Logan Mankins (knee surgery) and Brian Waters (possible retirement) are up in the air for the start of the season, but the Patriots have depth up front and should be fine. The real question is the running backs. New England will rely on inexperienced second-year players Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen to carry the load, while veterans Joseph Addai and Danny Woodhead compete to provide support on third down.

 

 

There is a lot of Wes Welker follow-up in this week’s Patriots mailbag. The sides couldn’t reach a contract extension by Monday’s deadline for franchise-tagged players, and reaction is mixed.

 

 

Tackling free agency aggressively, then taking a defensive approach to the draft, the Patriots went about the task of improving themselves in the wake of a season in which, for the second time in five seasons, they were again just one Giant win away from a title.

We already love Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski for saying he’d bang Tim Tebow and for appearing naked on the cover of ESPN Magazine‘s “Body” issue. Now in an interview with OutSports, he announced he’d be down with a gay teammate.

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