Things You May Not Know About the Patriots


Jul 29, 2009

Things You May Not Know About the Patriots Being the most successful NFL franchise of the decade and playing in one of the most sports-hungry markets in the country, the Patriots rarely have any aspect of their organization left uncovered.

Whether it's what happens to Tom Brady's stolen pots, Adalius Thomas' affinity for barbecue or even what Bill Belichick's son does before lacrosse championships, if someone wants to know something, chances are they can find it (unless, of course, they want information on an injury).

That said, some people do have things to do other than follow the intricacies of the Patriots. So while the return of Brady, the arrival of Fred Taylor, the battle at tight end and the contract situation of Vince Wilfork are all well known throughout the region, here are some nuggets of info that you might not know as training camp opens.

Jim Nance will become a member of the Patriots Hall of Fame.
The Patriots will induct the first running back into the team's hall of fame in Jim Nance (no, not Nantz).

Nance led the AFL in rushing for the Boston Patriots in the 1966 and 1967 seasons, earning the league's MVP award in 1966. His 45 rushing touchdowns still stand as the franchise record, putting him two ahead of Sam Cunningham.

Nance passed away in 1992, but his induction ceremony will be held during the weekend of the Patriots' preseason home opener on Aug. 20.

Rookie O-lineman Rich Ohrnberger could play multiple positions and can probably make you laugh.
Football is not always a funny game. With all the bruising, bleeding and bone breaking, the only time someone usually ends up in stitches involves a doctor and some catgut.

That's not the case when Penn State alum Rich Ohrnberger's involved. The 23-year-old was the funniest member of the Nittany Lions.

"I always like to keep things a little lighter than maybe the situation permitted at the time because I feel like my teammates and I would play a little bit better when there was a higher level of relaxation, as opposed to getting tense and worked up,” Ohrnberger said after the Pats drafted him. “It was just something I did to break the tension, and it worked. It worked for us. … It wasn’t just me, but I seem to get pegged as a comedian."

Where he'll get pegged in the depth chart isn't yet known, as the guard also worked out as a center for the Patriots. But where he ended up wasn’t a concern after the Pats came calling.

"Honestly, when I get to New England, I will do whatever they tell me," he said.

Foxborough could put local retirement homes out of business.
More and more, football is becoming a young man's game, but that doesn't stop the old fellas from wanting another paycheck.

Former Patriot linebackers Willie McGinest and Junior Seau have both expressed a desire to return to the Patriots this season. McGinest, 37, won three Super Bowls with the Pats while Seau, 40, filled a hole at linebacker late last season.

Nobody can question the careers that both players have had, but if either ends up in a Patriots uniform this year, you can bet that the career prospects of Pierre Woods won't look too good.

Tom Brady is coming off major knee surgery.

Oh, you already heard that one?

Rookie D-lineman Darryl Richard is pretty well-rounded.

Darryl Richard stands 6-feet-4 and weighs 290 pounds, but don't think a big man can't be smart. The Georgia Tech alum completed his degree in management in just three years and began working on his MBA, which he completed last December. He collected accolade after accolade for his accomplishments in the classroom, all while collecting 98 tackles and 12.5 sacks in his playing career.

Richard, 23, won't be catching any passes, but he does possess some skilled hands, as evidenced by his ability to play the piano.

There will be some fresh faces in the coaches' meetings.
Scott Pioli and Josh McDaniels were the high-profile departures of the offseason, but they weren't the only ones to go. The result is a number of new coaches and executives either joining the Patriots or assuming a new position. Here's a quick snapshot:

Nick Caserio, director of player personnel
Floyd Reese, senior football advisor
Bill O'Brien, quarterbacks coach (is also expected to have a hand in the offensive play calling)
Scott O'Brien, special teams coach
Josh Boyer, defensive backs coach
Shane Waldron, tight ends coach
Chad O'Shea, wide receivers coach

Sebastian Vollmer is humongous.
A native of Germany, rookie offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer is 6-foot-8, 315 pounds.

As they say in Deutschland, Das ist ein grosser Junge.

You might see an interception or two.
With a recovering Tom Brady getting himself reacquainted with the speed of the NFL and a revamped Patriots secondary, you might see a few interceptions more than you're used to seeing at Gillette. That's not to say Brady will become Brett Favre from Week 17 or Chad Pennington from wild-card weekend, nor is it to say that Asante Samuel is back at corner. But it is safe to expect a misfire or two from Brady and some savvy picks from the new veterans in the defensive backfield.

Rodney Harrison will be the most entertaining man on television.
Aside from being a premier NFL safety, Rodney Harrison proved to be talented at speaking his mind while still staying within the Patriots' guidelines for speaking publicly.

Now, Harrison will have a microphone and no restraints as he works for NBC. He's already stated that no player is safe, which is nothing but good news for the viewers at home.

Who's hot?
Bill Belichick

The Sporting News named Belichick to its list of the 50 greatest coaches of all time. Belichick was ranked at No. 20 and was the 11th football coach on the list, behind Vince Lombardi (No. 2), Bear Bryant (No. 3), Don Shula (No. 5), Knute Rockne (No. 10), Paul Brown (No. 12), Joe Paterno (No. 13), George Halas (No. 14), Chuck Noll (No. 15), Joe Gibbs (No. 17) and Tom Landry (No. 18).

Patrick Chung
The team's top pick in this year's draft finally agreed to a contract with the Patriots. The deal is reportedly for four years, according to the Boston Globe's Mike Reiss.

Who's not?

Jermail Porter
The former collegiate wrestler won't be able to make the transition to pro football in New England. The 6-foot-5, 310-pounder was released by the Pats on Tuesday.

Quote of the week

"If Michael Vick plays for the Patriots, doesn't that untarnish his image a little, like it did for Randy Moss? Given the Patriots' success, not even their fans would blink twice if they signed Vick."
— NFL Network analyst Solomon Wilcots, to USA Today, perhaps assuming a bit much of Patriots fans

What to watch for
Finally, it's time for football. Granted, it's double sessions in 100-degree heat, but the mere sight of seeing the full team running plays and making hits is the first sign that the regular season is just around the corner.

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