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August 20, 2007
Patriots journal by Robert Lee: Testaverde is back
BY ROBERT LEE
Journal Sports Writer
FOXBORO -- Vinny Testaverde spoke today for the first time inside the Patriots locker room about re-signing with New England.
He said that he was very excited that coach Bill Belichick wanted him back this season, his 21st in the NFL.
''He expressed interested in wanting me back and it was just a matter of me getting through the offseason and feeling mentally and physically like I wanted to come back,'' Testaverde said. ''Until I felt like I did, I didn’t want to tell him yes and then for some reason change my mind later. I didn’t want to leave him in a bad situation. Things seemed to work out and I’m excited to be back.''
The 43-year-old quarterback played in three regular-season games with the Patriots last season, including the finale in which he extended his streak to 20 seasons with at least one touchdown pass.
''I feel good in the fact that I’m playing for [Belichick],'' Testaverde said. " ...This organization, [owner Robert Kraft] is first class all the way and I want to be a part of that. I want to be a part of a team that is trying to win games and win championships. There is no better place to be then right here in New England.''
Testaverde provides an experienced backup to Tom Brady. The Patriots’ other quarterback, Matt Cassel, has thrown just 32 passes in two seasons with the team after playing sparingly as a backup at Southern California.
Brady is thrilled to have Testaverde back.
''He adds depth and he adds quality and experience and leadership and attitude and all those things you look for in a New England Patriot. He’s a perfect fit,'' Brady said.
Testaverde was out of the NFL last season when Belichick, who had only two quarterbacks on the roster, asked if he wanted to be an insurance policy.
''Vinny can still play that position at a good level,'' Belichick said. ''He brings us depth and experience at that spot … Based on last year, he’s still able to do the things that a quarterback needs to do to be productive in this league.''
Both Belichick and Testaverde said that they don’t know how much playing time Testaverde will get on Friday at Carolina.
''I’m just trying to learn the new plays that we got in right now,'' Testaverde said. ''I haven’t talked to anyone about playing. Whatever it’s going to be, it’ll be, and I’ll try and be as prepared as I can be.''
''He’ll play some,'' Belichick said. ''We haven’t really set playing time this week but I think he’ll definitely play some. We haven’t even talked about it, really.''
Testaverde, the top overall pick in the 1987 draft by Tampa Bay after winning the Heisman Trophy at Miami, also has played for Cleveland, Baltimore, the New York Jets and Dallas. Testaverde has started 208 of his 226 NFL games and is in the top 10 on the career lists for yards passing, attempts, completions and touchdown passes.
He said he never thought of retiring after last season.
''You just hear of a lot of guys who retire and a year later his body is starting to feel better and they say, 'Boy, I wish I could come back,' '' Testaverde said. ''They want to come back and it’s too late because they have been out of the game a year. It’s hard to get back in once you do that so I just kind of put my time in and hit the weight room and did the conditioning. If I do that and get through the offseason and I don’t want to play, then I’ll call it quits. I still have that hunger, that taste that I still want to go out and get a little bit more and thats why I do it.''
Maroney, Alexander in contact
Laurence Maroney and Eric Alexander shed their red, non-contact practice jerseys and were in full pads.
Maroney has stated all preseason long that he has been willing and ready for full contact since day one, but Belichick and the rest of the coaching staff held him back to keep him from getting injured and to save his legs from excessive wear and tear.
''He’s made steady progress,'' Belichick said.
Belichick said he expects Maroney to play in his first preseason game Friday night.
Offensive lineman Billy Yates returned to the field for the first time in more than a week today. However, wide receivers Jabar Gaffney and Randy Moss , safety Rashad Baker , defensive back Larry Anam , outside linebacker Russ Hochstein , tight end Kyle Brady , defensive end Ty Warren and linebacker Mike Wright did not practice. Nor did the usual PUPers, or holdout Asante Samuel.
Posted by Art Martone at 4:11 PM | Permalink
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Brady Talks on Fatherhood; Passing Game
Tom Brady spoke in the Patriot's locker room a few minutes ago and addressed everything from the big hits he took in Friday's night's game against Tennessee, practicing without Randy Moss and the pending birth of his first child.
Brady wouldn't let on when his former girlfriend, Bridget Moynahan, is due but she is resting in California and the date is clearly soon. Asked if he knew when the baby is due, Brady answered shyly, ''I wish I did. That’s God’s decision. I think everybody’s anxious, put it that way.''
Pressed on if the baby is due before the regular season begins, he said, ''I haven't really spoken about that. That’s stuff that’s very private to me. You all know it won’t be hard to figure out when it happens.''
Brady said he'd like to be with Moynahan when the baby is born and perhaps take a few days away from the team but he admitted that the team's schedule will play a part in his planning. ''We’ll see when it happens. It’s up to Bill (Belichick). Bill has a lot to say so we’ll deal with it when it happens.''
Standing a few feet away from Brady was veteran QB Vinny Testaverde, a 21-year NFL pro who is helping ease Brady's throwing strain both in camp and during the season. Brady is thrilled that Vinny is back once again.
''He adds depth and he adds quality and experience and leadership and attitude and all those things you look for in a New England Patriot. He’s a perfect fit,'' he said.
As for the Pats, Brady said the next two weeks will go a long way toward finding the improvement the team clearly needs heading into the opener against the Jets.
''I’m always excited about our potential but the potential and the reality is something that’s very different. I’ve heard over the last six months the expectations for this team that we can just go out there and throw the ball wherever we want and run it and gain 450 yards a game. But it takes a lot. It takes guys coming together and finding a role and playing with toughness and effort. We haven’t played any games yet. We have two very valuable weeks coming up in order to get ready for our opener. The potential of the team, that’s one thing. But it’s really going out and accomplishing things in Week One that’s important.''
More on Brady, Testaverde and the Pats in Tuesday's Journal.
-- KEVIN McNAMARA
Posted by Kevin at 1:02 PM | Permalink
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Locker room look
Hey all --
The locker room has been cleared of us riff-raff for the day, and Tom Brady did address the media in front of his locker (Kevin McNamara will have the details of that chat for you shortly), and Vinny Testaverde was welcomed back by the recorder-and-camera set as well.
It was quite sad to walk around the room and notice Marquise Hill's locker. Though we were in the locker room Friday night, there wasn't time to wander around. Today, we stood in front of the number 91 stall, which has Hill's practice jersey hanging on the rod, his pants on a hook, and his helmet on a hook on the opposite side. The yellow-and-purple shoulder pads of LSU, which he continued to wear, were on the top shelf, and a post-card sized photo of him was tacked up as well. We noticed the same photo in Kevin Faulk's locker.
Adalius Thomas is in Don Davis' old locker on Linebacker Row, and with final cutdowns still a few days away, the portable lockers the rookies use clog up the middle of the room.
We had a nice chat with Le Kevin Smith, whose lips look much better than they did on Friday. He bit through both lips after his mouthpiece came out on one play, and needed stitches for both lips. We also talked about his unique skill -- being able to do multiple backflips -- and its origins. Smith said it was something the kids in his neighborhood did growing up, and he was the champ despite being the biggest kid around.
We're planning on getting a story out about him sometime this week.
Posted by Shalise Manza Young at 12:39 PM | Permalink
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Hey all -
The good news first: Laurence Maroney and.Eric Alexander have shed their red no-touchy jerseys and were in full pads like the rest of their teammates.
Offensive lineman Billy Yates returned to the field for the first time in more than a week.
But here are the missing:
WR Jabar Gaffney
S Rashad Baker
DB Larry Anam
OL Russ Hochstein
WR Randy Moss
TE Kyle Brady
DE Ty Warren
DL Mike Wright
As well as the PUPers and Asante Samuel.
Bill Belichick takes the podium shortly and we'll post again after that.
Posted by Shalise Manza Young at 10:09 AM | Permalink
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