–Head coach Bill Belichick might not show it, but players and those close to him insist the Patriots’ stoic head coach possesses a humorous side.
He was all business at Tuesday’s AFC coaches breakfast at the league meetings in Orlando when a reporter asked about the health of tight end Rob Gronkowski.
“Did you seriously ask me that?” he panned.
But when the subject matter shifted to his proposal to add cameras throughout stadiums to give officials additional vantage points to access for replay review purposes, Belichick beat back any idea that the plan would be dismissed because of cost concerns.
“We just spent, whatever it was, how many millions of dollars on the replay system,” Belichick said. “I mean, there’s a thousand cameras in every stadium, so that if somebody spills a beer on somebody, we have it on record, right? Maybe we could have a bake sale. Raise some money for the cameras. Do a car wash.”
Belichick and the Patriots made multiple proposals to be voted on this week, including raising the height of the goalposts or moving point-after touchdown tries to the 25-yard line to make placement kicks more challenging.
–After leaving the Patriots in free agency, two former players said the team doesn’t always tell the truth on the injury report during the season.
Linebacker Brandon Spikes was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury late in the season amid speculation he was iced for being late for practice.
After signing with the Bills, Spikes said, “I heard they put me on IR and stuff like that. That was just a false report. That’s just how things go there. Almost like what happened with Talib and his hip.”
That would be cornerback Aqib Talib, who left for Denver recently after a season in which he was often listed on the injury report with a hip problem.
Said Talib, “The Patriots have their way of reporting stuff, but I haven’t had a hip problem since Tampa. The injury I had was actually a quad injury. It was reported as a hip injury, but that’s how they do things.”
–LS Danny Aiken, a potential restricted free agent, re-signed with New England prior to the start of free agency. The three year veteran received a one-year deal worth a total of $725,000. It included a $55,000 signing bonus and $25,000 workout bonus to go with a salary of $645,000. Aiken has handled New England’s long snapping duties
–TE Michael Hoomanawanui reportedly reached a two-year deal to return to the Patriots March 10, a day before the backup was set to hit free agency. Hoomanawanui started 10 of the 13 games he played last season for the Patriots depleted tight end spot, catching 12 passes for 136 yards and one touchdown. He’s shown versatility to block and run routes in his year-plus in New England, but remains a limited option in the passing game and best suited as a third tight end.
–WR Aaron Dobson reportedly underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot March 10. The rookie had missed time on two different occasions during the season to the issue. Initially a plan of rest was put in place this offseason, but when that didn’t lead to proper healing surgery became necessary. Recovery from the procedure is expected to take two to three months. That would inhibit Dobson’s participation in the New England offseason program, but should have the 2013 second-round pick healthy in time for training camp.