Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New England Patriots [Print without images]

Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Cleaning out the Patriots notebook

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Cleaning out the Patriots notebook...

1. The line of the night at the Patriots Charitable Foundation Kickoff Gala on Tuesday was delivered by receiver Wes Welker. As one of six players brought up by Bill Belichick to address the crowd, the humorous Welker cracked, "Last time Coach let me speak in front of a mic it didn't go too well." Welker was referring to his foot-filled news conference before the playoff loss to the Jets. Perfect delivery, which had the crowd laughing.

2. One gets the sense that the Patriots are positioning safety Patrick Chung to assume more of a leadership role. Both Belichick and owner Robert Kraft lauded him Tuesday -- "Nobody outworks Chung," Belichick said -- then Chung was chosen as one of the six players to address the Kickoff Gala crowd (along with Tom Brady, Welker, Danny Woodhead, Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork).

3. Sounds like receiver Chad Ochocinco is calling off plans to live with a fan for the first few weeks of the season. "I don't know, boss. I don't want to create any problems," he said. "I'm going to leave that one alone."   

4. Rookie offensive lineman Marcus Cannon (5th round pick) remains on the active/non-football injury list, and is likely to land on the reserve/non-football injury list by the final roster cutdown Saturday. Asked for an update on his status, Belichick said, "He does have some limitations. When those limitations are lifted then we’ll be able to evaluate him like everybody else and see what he can do without any limitations. Right now, we’re just not at the point yet. But I think he’s doing well and we’re getting closer, but we're still not there yet."

5. The Patriots host the Giants this season (Nov. 6), and because of that, Bill Belichick said preparation for Thursday's preseason finale against the Giants has some added value. "I think we can get something out of our preparations for the game both as a coaching staff and individually for the players and the matchups and so forth, and just get familiar with the team. I think any time you play them a second time you just have a little bit of head start on that team," he said.

6. Former Patriots safety James Sanders agreed to a one-year deal with the Falcons on Tuesday, just 24 hours after the Patriots released him. Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has always been a Sanders fan; when Dimitroff was a Patriots scout he was one of Sanders' biggest boosters in the 2005 draft.