1. New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski is well-known for his partying, and Gronk sure does go hard. He also manages to always “lose” his shirt, and he was found partying at a bar in Baton Rouge. You can view the picture here on NESN, and I bet you’ll quickly notice that he still has a cast on his left arm. It’s good to see that Gronkowski is still finding a way to enjoy the pre-Super Bowl festivities, and a cast can’t stop this guy from going hard in bars.
2. Now on to more serious stuff. Wes Welker is the most notable Patriots player set to hit free agency, but he is regarded as a second priority to right tackle Sebastian Vollmer. Either way, the Patriots would love to have him back, and that’s a message right from the top.
Owner Robert Kraft wants Welker to stay with the Pats and said, “He’s a great guy; like I said all along, it takes two sides to make a transaction, and then we have to manage the lawyers and the agents, that they don’t mess it up. I think Wes wants to be with us and we want him here. It’s just a matter of whether both sides can be intelligent.”
The consensus at this point is that the Pats want Welker to stay, but it all comes down to what Welker wants. If he is looking to get as much money as he can, then he won’t stay with the Pats. Let’s hope winning is his top priority, but Kraft is right that there are a lot of those football business factors affecting Welker’s chances of staying.
3. Teddy Bruschi has made a new All-Pro team of sorts called the “All-Bruschi Team”, and here is his first edition of the team on ESPN Boston. A few New England Patriots players made the team in running back Danny Woodhead, core special teamer and leader Matthew Slater, center Ryan Wendell, and defensive end Rob Ninkovich. You can view his criteria in the piece (he’s looking for hard-workers, under-appreciated guys etc. as evidenced by the list from the Pats side). All four of the guys from the Patriots are high character guys who clearly meet the criteria and are players every Pats fan loves.
4. Tony Santorsa is reviewing the New England Patriots picks in the 2012 NFL Draft, and he gave the selection of Nate Ebner a C-. I see Ebner as a decent enough backup safety who can contribute big-time on special teams, so I like this pick more than Tony does. Since Ebner was just a seventh-round pick, this was a solid C+ signing per the spot in the draft.
5. Rookie A.J. Jenkins was barely used at all for the San Francisco 49ers in what is being dubbed as a “learning” or “redshirt” year for the wide receiver, but he is viewed as a high-upside guy and a player of the future at the position for the 49ers. His offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach are both among the best at their respective coaching positions in the business, and they both offered up some heavy praise onto Jenkins’s shoulders (the Florida Times-Union has the story here).
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.