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Apples to Apples? Nope, not at all

Posted by Albert Breer  February 22, 2010 07:45 PM

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Mentioned earlier in the day how the Patriots' statement was gushing on Vince Wilfork compared to what you've seen in the past from the organization. And as I said, it was this quote (which wasn't attributed) that really got me:

“A long-term agreement with Vince Wilfork has been the team's top contractual priority for some time. Unfortunately, despite numerous conversations and proposals, the goal has not yet been realized. Vince is a tremendous player for our team and remains a significant part of our future plans. It is because of Vince's importance to this organization that we have assigned the franchise designation as we continue to work toward a long-term agreement. We are hopeful that Vince will remain a Patriot for many years to come."

Let's just say that's not par for the course. Here's the quote from the release announcing Matt Cassel's franchising last year, attributed to Bill Belichick:

"Matt has been a pleasure to coach his entire career and last season in particular, when his years of hard work and commitment resulted in a most impressive performance. We look forward to working with Matt again in 2009."

And here's the quote from Asante Samuel's tagging in 2007, also attributed to Belichick:

"Asante Samuel is an outstanding player who has been a consistent contributor for us for several years. We hope Asante remains a Patriot for many seasons to come."

This, to me, is pretty strong evidence that the Patriots are trying to set a different tone here. The comments on Samuel and Cassel are nice and all, but both left plenty of room to interpret that any agreement going forward could be a short-term one. The comment on Wilfork, on the other hand, leaves a lot less wiggle room on that.
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