Remember when some people thought the Pats should trade Brady? Ha! That was funny.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady congratulates Wes Welker after scoring a touchdown during 2nd half action, between the Miami Dolphins, and the New England Patriots September 12, 2011 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida.The New England Patriots beat the Miami Dolphins 38-24.. .. UPI Photo/Susan Knowles

Hey, I’m guilty of it. We’re all guilty of it. We see a player get seriously injured and one of the first statements out of someone’s mouth is, “This may be career-threatening.”

The latest example of this is Peyton Manning. He recently had his second neck surgery in less than five months and at least one clown in the media wrote last week about how the Colts may wind up with Andrew Luck in next year’s draft. We live in a world where present news is old news and everyone has a blog nowadays so getting a jump on a story often takes precedence. But the media (and fans too, because they’re just as guilty even though the media provides a nice patsy for them) could learn a thing or two about Manning’s situation from Tom Brady.

As I watched Brady carve up the Dolphins for 517 yards and four touchdowns on Monday night, I had to laugh thinking about Matt Cassel’s 2008 season. He was so good that year that some wondered if the Pats should trade Brady and go with the younger Cassel at quarterback.

The idea wasn’t that far-fetched either. At the time, there was no timetable set for Brady’s return after he had season-ending knee surgery earlier in the year. Nobody knew when he would return in ’09, or if he would return at all. Cassel was also set to become a free agent, which further complicated the situation. If the Pats traded him or allowed him to leave via free agency, they risked not having an experienced quarterback for 2009 if Brady couldn’t recover.

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2009 NFL Preview: #29 Kansas City Chiefs

Check out all of our 2009 NFL team previews.

Offseason Additions: Matt Cassel (QB); Mike Vrabel (LB); Mike Brown (S); Mike Goff (G); Bobby Engram (WR); Zach Thomas (LB); Eric Ghiaciuc (C); Rudy Niswanger (C), Ashley Lelie (WR); Ikechuku Ndukwe (G); Andy Alleman (G).

Offseason Losses: Tony Gonzalez (TE); Adrian Jones (G); Pat Thomas (LB).

Player to Watch: Matt Cassel, QB.
Following an offseason trade that brought him over from New England, all eyes will be on Cassel this season. He gets to run new head coach Todd Haley’s pass-happy offense and he should team up with young receiver Dwayne Bowe to form a nice duo. Unfortunately, Cassel suffered a MCL sprain in the Chiefs’ third preseason game and he’s expected to miss KC’s season opener. Once he’s healthy, it’ll be interesting to see how he fares outside of the Patriots’ offense.

Team Strength: The Chiefs have a nice offensive trio in Cassel, Bowe and running back Larry Johnson, who reportedly is leaner and in the best shape of his life. While questions remain about whether or not Cassel can succeed outside of the Patriots’ system, Bowe and Johnson should help take the pressure off him in his first year as a Chief. Bowe has a terrific blend of size and speed and has emerged as a legitimate deep threat in the passing game. Johnson is coming off a rough ’08 campaign, but is rejuvenated and ready to rebound. Also, with the offseason additions of Mike Goff and Ikechuku Ndukwe – as well as the continued development of 2008 first round pick Branden Albert – the offensive line should be improved this year.

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Tom Brady bouncing back from knee surgery

According to a report by The Sporting News, Tom Brady is showing no restrictions as he continues to recover from reconstructive knee surgery.

Brady was able to return his normal rehabilitation schedule within “10 days to two weeks” after the follow-up procedures, the source said. That means the quarterback is roughly six months into the rehab process.

“He’s full go,” the source said Tuesday. A second source confirmed that assessment.
Brady hasn’t been shy about taking part in the club’s offseason program, giving teammates a close-up look at his progress. Most Patriots players are apprehensive about shedding too much light on player injuries and rehabs, but indications have been uniformly positive.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick last month said Brady had been “doing his offseason work without any limitations.” Owner Robert Kraft has said Brady will wear a brace on the left knee, which is standard for players coming off this type of injury. Both Rivers and Palmer wore knee braces coming off their ailments.

Even if Brady’s rehab is complete, it’s hard to say he has come full circle.

There’s a significant mental mountain a player has to climb in returning to game action. Authorities in sports medicine say it takes roughly two months of live action for a player to fully learn to use his new knee.

Brady has a long way to go, but this is definitely an encouraging sign for him and the Patriots. Obviously New England wouldn’t have traded Matt Cassel to Kansas City in the offseason if they didn’t feel Brady would fully recover from his knee surgery in time for the start of the season.

If he’s fully recovered, there’s no reason to believe the Patriots won’t again be the team to beat in the AFC, as they were before Brady’s injury in Week 1 of last year.

Three free agent moves that made sense, three that didn’t and three that have yet to happen

Even though we’re not even a week into the NFL free agency period, there is still plenty to talk about. Below are three free agency moves that made sense, three that didn’t and three that have yet to happen.

Three moves that made sense:

1. The Giants beefing up their defense with the signings of Canty, Boley and Bernard.
Two years ago, New York befuddled a previously unbeaten Patriots team in Super Bowl XLIII with a constant barrage of pressure from its defensive front four. With that in mind, GM Jerry Reese decided to add more talent to his front seven this offseason with the signings of Chris Canty, Rocky Bernard and Michael Boley. Canty and Bernard will beef up the interior of the Giants’ defensive line by adding both size and strength, as well as hopefully boost the production of Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora on the outside. Not too many people have heard of Boley, but before he got lost in the shuffle last year in Atlanta, he was on his way to a promising career. Surrounded by the right talent and given the opportunity to play to his strengths in the right system, Boley could become a Pro Bowler someday and eventually excel in New York. They still have to figure out what to do with Plaxico Burress, but thanks to the signings of these three defensive players (coupled with the sensible deal the team signed running back Brandon Jacobs to), the Giants have had one of the best offseasons of any team in the league.


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Report: Patriots turned down 12th overall pick for Cassel

The Matt Cassel-to-Chiefs trade just got a little juicer.

According to ESPN.com, the Broncos offered the 12th overall pick to the Patriots in exchange for Matt Cassel. Denver would have then traded Jay Cutler to the Bucs in exchange for a first and third round pick.

So then why did the Pats turn down that offer and trade Cassel (along with linebacker Mike Vrabel) to the Chiefs in exchange for Kansas City’s second round pick?

ESPN.com’s Tim Graham tries to answer that question:

But Belichick never embraced a trade with the Broncos, even though it was a head-scratcher on the value part (second-rounder versus a first-rounder). It suggests two or three speculative thoughts:

1. Belichick has always valued second-round picks (he now has three) and didn’t want to be stuck at No. 12 financially for whatever reason;
2. Belichick had an agreement with Pioli all along and wouldn’t break his word;
3. Belichick isn’t about to help another former assistant.

The Broncos sensed resistance all along, which is why they held the Bucs, Lions, Vikings, etc., at arm’s length and allows McDaniels his plausible deniability on trading Cutler (and logic supports his denial).
However, despite intense efforts to keep this run at Cassel under wraps, enough damage has been done that Cutler may now be on the block.

The Broncos/Cutler aspect of the trade was reported by the Boston Globe. A Patriots’ leak? Why? To mess with McDaniels?

Several citizens of Patriot Nation have written into my AFC East mailbag and left notes in the comments section that Belichick didn’t want a first-round pick for Cassel, that a second-rounder is more financially palatable.

Ridiculous, I say. The Patriots had the No. 10 pick last year and were highly successful with it, selecting defensive rookie of the year Jerod Mayo, a franchise player who could anchor their defense for the next decade.

The No. 12 pick is a commodity. The Patriots might’ve traded it for additional picks, dangling it on draft day to a team that has the hots for, say, quarterback Mark Sanchez, and doesn’t want him to get away.

Now this is what NFL free agency is all about! Failed trade talks, espionage and lies!


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