Fiammetta and the fullbacks

June, 29, 2012
6/29/12
12:00
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One topic that has been highlighted this offseason is how the fullback position might be re-integrated into the Patriots' offense. Bill Belichick touched on it at mandatory minicamp in mid-June, offering no assurances that any fullback will stick even though there are three players with the "FB" designation on the roster -- Spencer Larsen, Tony Fiammetta and Eric Kettani.

Of the group, Fiammetta has flown slightly under the radar over the last few months.

With the Frederick News Post shining its spotlight on him in a returning-to-his-high-school-alma-mater piece posted Friday, it provides a springboard to do the same here.

Wearing BenJarvus Green-Ellis' old No. 42 jersey, the 6-foot-, 250-pound Fiammetta took part in the offseason program and was on the field for all organized team activities and minicamp practices. Still, Fiammetta told the Frederick News Post that it was too early to tell how the fullback might be part of the team's attack.

"We haven't gotten into stuff too much," he said. "But I'm sure in July, when we start training camp, it's going to get pretty interesting."

That makes sense given the nature of the position, the lack of contact in offseason work, and what fullbacks are generally called upon to execute (scout's notebook).

As for landing in New England under Bill Belichick, Fiammetta is taking both a short- and long-range view.

"Obviously, he's done a great job over the years. It's just an honor to be in a situation where I can learn from such a great coach," he said. "I'm just looking forward to getting things that I can apply to my own life from him. It's going to be a lot of fun playing for him."

In terms of financial investment at fullback, the Patriots extended more for Larsen in terms of up-front money, but it's not such a big difference that finances would solely dictate a decision if it comes down to a Larsen vs. Fiammetta battle for a roster spot.

Meanwhile, Kettani, who is back after being placed on the reserve/military list, has a modest one-year deal with a $390,000 base salary.

This will be one of the many training camp competitions to watch closely, as it's been a while since the Patriots had multiple fullbacks competing for a potential spot.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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