Patriots notebook

Strength coach Woicik in talks to return to Cowboys

By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / February 10, 2011

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Dealing with changes in the Patriots coaching staff is nothing new for Bill Belichick, but this offseason he may be dealing with the departure of one of the first coaches he hired when he came to New England in 2000.

Highly respected head strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik is in talks to return to Dallas, where he held the same position for the Cowboys from 1990-96.

The move makes sense; new Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has a history with Woicik. Garrett was a backup quarterback in Dallas during Woicik’s initial time with the team. Garrett confidants Troy Aikman and Daryl Johnston hold Woicik in high regard as well.

Garrett is looking to toughen up a Dallas team that has underperformed in recent years, and hiring an old-school, hard-nosed coach like the 54-year old Woicik could be a step toward that goal.

According to ESPNBoston and ESPNDallas, Woicik’s contract ended after the 2010 season.

Woicik is the only man, player or coach, with six Super Bowl rings, with the first three coming with Dallas and the others with the Patriots. He is a Massachusetts native, having attended Westwood High and Boston College.

Harold Nash, the Patriots’ assistant strength and conditioning coach, will likely be promoted if Woicik leaves. Nash joined the team in 2005 after his playing career in the Canadian Football League ended. He also runs the team’s player-development program, which was recognized as the best in the NFL last year.

Brown is out Corwin Brown, the former Patriots safety who joined the defensive coaching staff before the season, will not be retained. The 40-year-old Brown coached the secondary with Josh Boyer, focusing on the safeties.

Though Brown took part in the rookie training-camp mud-sliding event, diving on the soaked grass with the first-year players, he was not popular among his charges. Veterans in particular did not like his insistence that they sit through meetings in their entirety. Under previous defensive coaches, veterans could leave early without much repercussion.

Brown also gave players a hard time about taking bathroom breaks during meetings.

Before being hired by the Patriots last year, Brown spent three years under Charlie Weis as defensive coordinator at Notre Dame.

Handling it well A month after his flubbed fake punt attempt in the Patriots’ playoff loss to New York, safety Patrick Chung isn’t looking back.

“It’s behind me,’’ the safety said. “Since the day I cleared it up. That play is over. I’m looking forward.’’

Chung watched the Super Bowl, but when he was reminded that New England beat both the Packers and Steelers last season, he said only, “It is what it is.’’

Chung is spending much of his time with his infant son Taj (whom he affectionately calls “Young Chung’’) but said he is also focused on getting “bigger, faster, stronger, smarter’’ this offseason, whether there is a formal workout program or players have to go it alone because of a lockout.

“It’s up to yourself,’’ he said. “You have to work hard on your own, set aside time to work hard and stay focused.’’

Shalise Manza Young can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.

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