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Thinking Out Loud: Despite Jimmy Garoppolo’s impressive debut, let’s keep Tom Brady around 09.16.16 at 5:42 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … and wondering whatever happened to Craig James.

— For all of the angst over Tom Brady’s NFL suspension, most of it dissipated like squeezing air out of a balloon as Jimmy Garoppolo’s Arizona desert debut unfolded. Now I’m hearing fans say, “Trade Brady!” What is wrong with you people?

— I’ll pony up here: After watching Jimmy G. during camp this summer, it’s clear he’s learned while performing as TB12’s understudy. Plus, Josh McDaniels hasn’t given him anything he can’t handle — yet. He should do the same this week against Miami.

— Most impressive against the Cardinals was his ability to stand in the pocket. Haven’t really seen that yet from him, but the early returns are positive. And he still hasn’t played with Gronk opening up a defense for him.

— He could have handled TB12’s face staring over his shoulder from that banner at Gillette, too. Make no mistake about that. If you’re focused on a banner, then you aren’t focused on your job. Ridiculous. But a good call, nevertheless, by the Patriots for taking it down. We’re on to the next one.

— New England now is playing with house money. Did anyone really figure the Patriots would win at Arizona? You hoped, but you didn’t know. Anything short of 4-0 during the TB12-less portion of the schedule will be considered disappointing, right? Be careful with that one.

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Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Tom Brady,
Thinking Out Loud: Will NFL spy on Tom Brady during suspension? 09.02.16 at 5:30 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … and wondering if the Magic 8-Ball really knows all.

— As the Patriots roster now begins to take its shape for the upcoming season, keep this in mind: Injuries always play a factor. That’s why I find so-called roster projections from the media interesting. No one really knows what the coaches and front-office personnel ultimately will decide.

— Unless they’re like me, and they utilize their Magic 8-Ball, which always has been quick with a response in the past. I asked the 8-Ball what the Patriots roster was going to look like next week, and it replied, “My answer is no.” Makes perfect sense to me.

— So, any Tom Brady sightings in or around Gillette Stadium in the last 48 hours or so? Think the NFL might have some super-secret spies checking out the landscape to see if anyone is, um, taking liberties with the rules?

— Among the players already visited by “The Turk,” Terrance Knighton’s cut from the roster was a bit of a surprise from this corner. I do seem to recall, however, that when his signing appeared imminent, he wasn’t initially thrilled with becoming a “rotational player.”

— Knighton, according to the NFLPA and seconded by our friend and salary cap guru Miguel (his Twitter handle is @capspacev2), apparently did not earn any of his weight-based bonuses in his contract, either. Wonder if that came back to bite him, um, in the, um, you know?

— Barkevious Mingo brings badly needed depth to the linebacking corps, and if nothing else, also brings an automatic spellcheck every time I type his name.

— If you’re wondering about the guy who was flying around MetLife Stadium Thursday night against the New York Giants, Mingo’s story is a familiar refrain — underachieving, young veteran player looking for a clean start and new opportunity. This is how, more than just about anything else, the Patriots have built themselves into a dynastic franchise — identifying hungry players eager to make a name for themselves.

— Oh, and one more thing: They bring in players who also are in their final contractual years, as Mingo is. Make or break is a pretty good attitude to have on your side.

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Read More: Barkevious Mingo, Terrance Knighton, Tom Brady,
Thinking Out Loud: Invasion of visiting teams’ fans at Fenway a sign of times 08.05.16 at 5:50 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … and does anyone know where one-time Patriots linemen go after football?

— Has anyone else noticed the emergence of — gasp! – fans of other teams showing up at Fenway Park this season? This has long been a trademark of Red Sox fans at other stadiums across the country (right, Tampa? Baltimore? Toronto?), but for some reason, Sox rivals are returning the favor this year in surprising numbers.

— The recent San Francisco Giants series at Fenway was a perfect example of this phenomenon, with the stands crowded in Orange and Black jerseys and T-shirts. Even one fan sitting down from me wearing an orange wig, and I tolerated it, somehow. Now I ask you, if the Sox hadn’t been a last-place team the past two seasons, would any of this be happening?

— Of course not. True Sox fans would snap these tickets up in a, well, in a New York minute. Let this be a lesson, Mr. Henry and Mr. Werner, whenever you decide to go “on the cheap” in your hiring and firing. Spend it, to make it. Just sayin’.

— Like everyone else, there was mild disappointment in not being able to swing a trade deadline deal for Chris Sale, but I’ll wager the discussion over bringing him to Boston picks up again in the offseason. As for the one deadline deal done, hard to say right now that it wasn’t Abad one. Thank you, I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.

— Andrew Benintendi got his anticipated call-up, becoming the first player in the history of the High-A Salem (Va.) Red Sox (Carolina League) to advance to the majors in the same year he started in Salem. Of course, Salem only started playing ball in 2009, but hey, it’s still a significant move up.

— He’s also the first Red Sox player to get the call up straight from Double-A (Portland Sea Dogs) to the big leagues since Boston did that with Josh Reddick in ’09.

— But will he be a good major league player? How often do young players make a two-class jump and succeed right away? Like, never? Dealer Dave Dombrowski said early last month that Benintendi probably could handle fielding and baserunning in the bigs, but that his offense wasn’t quite major league ready — although Benintendi picked up his first two hits Wednesday night. Major league pitching will continue to be an awakening for him, only a little more than a year removed from facing collegiate pitching.

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Read More: Andrew Benintendi, David Price, Tom Brady,
Thinking Out Loud: Linebackers Patriots’ strongest position — for now 07.29.16 at 5:45 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Antowain Smith.

— Happy New Year! Well, it’s what we’ve been waiting for since, oh, last January, right? Football is back, but with a few twists and turns along the way to always keep things interesting.

— Attendance on opening day of Patriots training camp: 12,393. More than Tampa Bay can draw for most Rays baseball games. Twenty states and at least four foreign countries represented among the fandom. Nope, nothing to see here.

— There’s the always-alarming physically unable to perform (PUP) list, which really means guys like Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola will be OK — but the team is taking little chance to get them injured before playing in games that actually mean something. Injuries kept NE from a possible fifth Lombardi Trophy more than anything else last winter.

— And for the first time in 15 years, New England will head into a regular season preparing to start someone at quarterback not named Tom Brady. Brady’s falling on the sword in taking the four-game suspension from the NFL means Jimmy Garoppolo gets the spotlight, the attention and a lot of reps over the next month. It’s his chance to shine and to set himself up — if not in New England, certainly somewhere else — for a solid career.

— Evaluating the Pats’ strongest position heading into camp, there’s a lot of depth along the defensive front. Even with Chandler Jones’ departure for Arizona, there’s size in the middle and potentially more speed on the ends.

— But for pure talent? I’ll take the linebacking one-two punch of Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower. Both can be free agents after this year, so expect new contracts to be part of their storylines until deals get done. Or not. Collins wasn’t present for opening day Thursday, but CSNNE’s Tom Curran says it wasn’t contract-related. Bill Belichick says he was excused.

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Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Tom Brady,
Thinking Out Loud: Tom Brady leaves Patriots fans feeling deflated 07.15.16 at 9:12 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering if Pikachu, Squirtle or Charizard might be lurking around the corner.

— Well, then. That’s it? What do we have to complain about now?

— Eighteen months after the torturous tale began, Tom Brady has decided not to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, effectively ending Deflategate. And my initial reaction is a deflated one, like the way I felt after watching “The Sopranos” finale. That’s it?

— All along, the smarter Kool-Aid drinkers (and I’m still one of them) believed TB12’s best chance at playing in September was through a stay granted by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg, if we are to believe in her precedents, generally has sided with labor over management in labor-related causes.

— However, the burden of proof was on Brady’s team to show this case traveled well beyond a simple football spat between a player and a commissioner. Ultimately, based on case precedent, the odds weren’t on TB12’s side. And we know how he loves to win. So let’s strike up the band and climb aboard the Jimmy Garoppolo bandwagon.

— Perhaps the recent public display of “dislike” for presidential candidate Donald Trump could have caused a problem with Justice Ginsburg’s consideration of TB12’s case – especially with Brady as a Trump “friend”? You’d like to think not. You’d like to think our Supreme Court justices can be impartial, even though they are human. But impartial enough to keep TB12 in the fight? Nope. You have to think his legal team suggested as much.

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Read More: Deflategate, Tom Brady,
Thinking Out Loud: Patriots deserve Deflategate appeal to break judges’ tie 04.29.16 at 5:33 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while conjuring my inner Cecil B. DeMille.

— Patriots fans feel persecuted. I get it. Point your fingers in a lot of directions, if you must. But the court decision this week had nothing to do with air pressure in footballs, or even Tom Brady’s cell phone destruction. It had everything to do with legal process, and the fact that the NFL players signed away their rights to fair hearings with the NFL in the last collective bargaining agreement.

— So, in effect, as an NFL player Brady is guilty of screwing himself. That might seem a little harsh, but it’s reality.

— “You can’t handle the truth!” A classic movie line that seems appropriate, from “A Few Good Men.” Which the NFL does not seem to possess, btw.

— Here is where a problem exists with Deflategate droning on ad nauseam — legally speaking, we have a tie. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King was the first to point this out this week — and he’s spot-on correct. Judge Berman originally sided with TB12. Judges Parker and Chin ruled for the NFL’s right (and Roger Goodell’s contractual right, thanks to the CBA) to become judge, jury and executioner in this case. Judge Katzmann, the Chief of the entire Second Circuit, dissented, siding with Brady.

— By my scorekeeping, that’s a legal, New England Revolution-like 2-2 tie. We need (and TB12 deserves) a tiebreaker. We need extended overtime. This screams for a Brady appeal — which he and his side undoubtedly will pursue — and ultimately will subject us all to another several weeks and months of Deflategate drivel.

— Conceivably, any appeals process also would allow Brady a stay of his punishment. Which would mean the current hand-wringing over Jimmy Garoppolo’s readiness or bringing in another QB is rendered moot. Until the courts un-moot it again.

— Unfortunately (or not, depending on your point of view), the process is going to win out over facts here. How the law is meted out wins over what the truth might actually entail.

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Read More: Blackie Sherrod, Deflategate, Roger Goodell, Tom Brady
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Media, legal scholars call for NFL attorney Paul Clement to admit untruths to court in Deflategate hearing 03.09.16 at 8:01 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Grizzlies at Celtics, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Clippers at Thunder, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Patriot League final, Holy Cross at Lehigh, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: ACC Tournament, Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh, noon (ESPN)
College basketball: ACC Tournament, N.C. State vs. Duke, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Big Ten Tournament, Minnesota vs. Illinois, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: ACC Tournament, Georgia Tech vs. Clemson, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Big East Tournament, DePaul vs. Georgetown, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Big Ten Tournament, Rutgers vs. Nebraska, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Big 12 Tournament, Oklahoma State vs. Kansas State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: ACC Tournament, Florida State vs. Virginia Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Big 12 Tournament, TCU vs. Texas Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Big East Tournament, St. John’s vs. Marquette, 9:30 p.m. (FS1)
NHL: Blackhawks at Blues, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Champions League, SL Benfica at Zenit St. Petersburg, noon (FS1)
Soccer: Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain at Chelsea, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— NFL attorney Paul Clement was widely lauded for his performance before the Second Circuit appeals panel last Thursday, as he argued that Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his alleged role in Deflategate should be reinstated.

However, it soon became clear that Clement played fast and loose with the truth, and calls are growing louder for him to rectify the situation.

In Tuesday’s Washington Post, longtime columnist Sally Jenkins took Clement and the league to task for their dishonest behavior and suggested Clement should rectify the situation by sending a letter of correction to the court. She has backing from some legal scholars, including New York Law School professor Robert Blecker, who filed an amicus brief.

In perhaps the most obvious incorrect statement, Clement repeated commissioner Roger Goodell’s assertion that Brady denied discussing the Deflategate accusations with assistant equipment manager John Jastremski the day after the AFC championship game. Goodell used this as an example of Brady’s obstruction. However, in Brady’s arbitration testimony he said he and Jastremski discussed “the allegations we were facing,” adding: “I think trying to figure out what happened was certainly my concern and trying to figure out, you know, what could be — possibly could have happened to those balls.”

Clement also claimed that Patriots locker room attendant Jim McNally repeatedly referred to himself as the “deflator” in text messages “throughout” the 2014 season, when in fact McNally only used the term in one text message, and it was in May of 2014, well before the season began.

Jenkins writes that the league’s untruths — and Clement’s decision to repeat them — “should serve as evidence to those judges that the Brady arbitration is dishonest and should be tossed.”

Writes Jenkins: Lawyers are officers of the court and cannot make false statements of fact, under pain of sanctions. Clement is one of the top appellate lawyers in the land, a former solicitor general, so he knows better than anyone that he owes the court candor. He is professionally obliged to admit that he was (surely unwittingly) sucked through the looking glass into the deceitful universe of Goodell’s NFL, in which the commissioner habitually makes up facts in disciplinary cases to suit himself and consolidate his powers.

Added Jenkins: Over and over again, other courts have found Goodell not credible in disciplinary cases, because he takes rash actions and then is too vain to admit a mistake. The Second Circuit should be aware that he’s not credible in this instance either. Clement is professionally obligated to correct the record on the misstatements Goodell led him into. He owes the court that candor.

— Adam Vinatieri’s record-setting career will continue in Indianapolis.

The 43-year-old, who has played 10 seasons with the Colts after spending his first 10 seasons with the Patriots, agreed to a deal on Tuesday night after some touch-and-go negotiations reportedly centered on Vinatieri’s desire for a multi-year deal.

“At the end of the day I made it crystal clear that I wanted to keep playing, and wanted to play here,” Vinatieri said (via the Indianapolis Star). “I want to finish my career off here.”

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Read More: adam vinatieri, Deflategate, Matt Hasselbeck, Paul Clement
Thinking Out Loud: NFL allows Patriots’ opponents to play by own set of rules 09.25.15 at 6:21 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering why we ever gave Miss America contestants the chance to speak?

— “You can observe a lot by watching.” One of my all-time favorite Yogi-isms. We’ll share a few here this week. RIP Yogi.

Yogi Berra certainly had a wonderful life. Yes, he was a New York Yankee, a three-time MVP and 15-year All-Star, but how could any Red Sox fan — any baseball fan — really “hate” him? Yes, good player. Yes, good teammate. Yes, funny guy, even if he didn’t really mean to be. Heaven got another good one this week, I think. He passed on the same date, Sept. 22, as his big league debut 69 years ago.

— Funny, though, that The Associated Press wire story that broke news of Berra’s passing actually said that “New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Bear has died.” Somewhere, Boo-Boo and Ranger Rick are very upset over this.

— But I loved this from the AP story: His wife once asked Berra where he wanted to be buried, in St. Louis, New York or Montclair, New Jersey. “I don’t know,” he said. “Why don’t you surprise me?”

— It’s becoming clearer by the minute, and certainly more so by the game: Teams losing at Gillette can blame whatever they wish, and teams losing at home to the Patriots can do whatever they want to the Patriots and get away with it. Like the Bills blaring of a horn on third downs well past the team breaking the huddle — a distinct rule violation.

— The Patriots have been threatened with fines previously for blaring a ship’s foghorn at opponents inside Gillette, and a memo came out as recently as a week ago saying teams could not play any audio once the play clock reaches 20 seconds. Guess Buffalo didn’t get the memo. Other teams probably won’t either. Get used to it.

— Yogi-ism II: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

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Read More: Tom Brady, Yogi Berra,
Thinking Out Loud: NFL’s feud with Patriots far from over 09.11.15 at 6:55 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to tennis dad/coach Richard Williams?

— OK, Roger. Good job. Call off the Code Red.

— Not for nuthin’, but no one is going to feel much like a winner in this back-and-forth between the Patriots and the NFL. Certainly the fans won’t. And we’re never going to get back the last eight months of our lives, mostly over ball deflation. So I’m crying “Uncle” here!

— It was petty. It was dumb. But it was poignant. Tom Brady was left out of an NFL tweet this past week picturing the league’s top QBs as part of the NFL’s celebration of 50 years of Super Bowls. The tweet was later deleted. But the point was made. League execs don’t like the Patriots, or TB12, or the fact that they’ve been made out to be the bad guys here.

— All of the new Spygate stuff released this week in exposes by ESPN and Sports Illustrated? Does anyone think the NFL, burned by its own incompetence in Deflategate, didn’t feed some additional information to ESPN The Magazine’s crew? If you don’t think this happened to some extent — that the NFL information machine intends to continue to spin things its way — then you haven’t been paying attention. Seems to me to be the league’s modus operandi — act stupidly, get burned, feed more trash to its “partners.”

— That ESPN.com’s editors decided to clip a couple of salient yet non-confrontational points from ESPNBoston reporter Mike Reiss’ opinion piece this week, concerning the ESPN and Sports Illustrated Spygate diatribe — is an absolute disgrace. Reiss questioned the Outside the Lines report alleging that Patriots underlings could sneak into a locker room and steal game plans. It’s preposterous, given the amount of security around the place. I know, I work there. But that bit of his opinion, based on fact and personal experience, was edited OUT of his original story. Smh.

— Hardly a week goes by when journalistic integrity doesn’t take a beating from the Bristol Spin Doctors. Do they even care how they’re perceived? It’s the height of arrogance.

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Read More: Deflategate, Roger Goodell, Tom Brady,
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Patriots fans taunt commissioner with chant of ‘Where is Roger?’ at 7:50 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Rays, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Blue Jays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
College football: Miami at Florida Atlantic, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College football: Utah State at Utah, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 3 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The NFL explained last week that commissioner Roger Goodell, fresh off his loss to Tom Brady and the NFL Players Association in federal court, would not attend Thursday night’s season-opening game at Gillette Stadium. As league spokesman Brian McCarthy told Fox Sports, “The focus should be on the game on the field and the festivities celebrating the Patriots’ Super Bowl championship.”

Patriots fans took note, and they made sure to rub it in the commissioner’s face as their team was marching to a 28-21 victory over the Steelers.

A chant of “Where is Roger?” broke out midway the fourth quarter, when the Patriots had a two-touchdown lead.

The league said Goodell would be watching the game on television, so it’s likely he was aware of the taunt, as NBC announcers Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth acknowledged it.

Said Collinsworth: “I tend to say I agree with them.”

Goodell is scheduled to attend Sunday’s Packers-Bears game in Chicago.

Meanwhile, according to Bob Costas, Brady denied a request to be interviewed by NBC after the game, in which he completed 25-of-32 passes for 288 yards and four touchdowns and set a team record with 19 consecutive completions. The network replaced him with Rob Gronkowski, who caught three of Brady’s TD tosses.

Brady did hold his usual postgame press conference, calling Thursday “a pretty special night” and insisting he holds no resentment toward the league for its aggressive stance against him in the Deflategate case.

“No, not at all,” Brady said. “And I think that would be just as harmful to me as it would be to anybody else. Carrying those feelings and emotions with me are very destructive. I understand everybody has a job to do and everyone is trying to do what they feel may be in the best interests of their own particular position, and I respect that.

“I may disagree with some things, but at the same time I understand they have a perspective on what their decision may be, also. So I don’t think I’m resentful at all.”

— New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton reached out to former tennis star James Blake on Thursday and apologized for his treatment a day earlier, when Blake was tackled and handcuffed in a case of mistaken identity.

“I spoke to Mr. Blake a short time ago and personally apologized for yesterday’s incident,” Bratton said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “Mr. Blake indicated he would be willing to meet with the Internal Affairs Bureau as our investigation continues. Additionally, he said he would be returning the Mayor’s earlier phone call to speak to him. Mr. Blake said he would like to meet with the Mayor [Bill de Blasio] and me at a future date, which we would be agreeable to.”

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Read More: Ikemefuna Enemkpali, James Blake, Roger Goodell, Tom Brady