Wednesday, March 19, 2014
You can't blame LaFell for picking Patriots
By David Newton
Brandon LaFell gave the answer you would expect almost any wide receiver to say when asked why he chose the New England Patriots over the Carolina Panthers in free agency.
"The chance to get the ball more, to play for a winning organization," the former Carolina receiver said during a Wednesday conference call.
Reminded he left a winning organization in Carolina, which was 12-4 this past season with a Monday night victory over the Patriots, LaFell stuck to his guns.
"Because I had a chance to play with a Hall of Fame quarterback," he said of New England's Tom Brady. "One day Cam [Newton of Carolina] will be there, probably. I feel like it was a better chance to come up here and get more balls than there was with Carolina.
"Nothing against those guys. Those guys are going to win. [But] it's proven up here."
Many fans on Twitter took LaFell's comments as a slam on Newton, which it really wasn't. It reached a point where LaFell wrote he was taking a month off from the social media site.
You can't blame LaFell for picking the Patriots, particularly since Carolina let him go into free agency. Brady has won 148 games and thrown for 359 touchdowns. Newton has won 25 games and thrown for 64 touchdowns.
The Patriots also are more committed to the passing game than Carolina, which in 2014 won't have any of its top four wide receivers from last season with the release of Steve Smith and the loss of LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. (Cardinals) and Domenik Hixon (Bears) in free agency.
The Patriots also are consistent winners with 11 straight years with 10 or more victories and 13 straight with nine or more -- not to mention three Super Bowl wins and five Super Bowl appearances during that span.
Carolina hasn't had consecutive winning seasons since it began playing in 1995. Last season was the organization's first winning record since 2008.
Plus, LaFell seemed to have peaked at Carolina. He caught a career-best 49 passes last season, and he still wasn't deemed as a solid No. 2 receiver.
So when you look at it that way, this was LaFell's big chance to prove worthy of the hype he had coming out of LSU.
"I feel there is a better chance to get more balls," he said.