With the initial frenzy of free agency slowing down and the draft still a few weeks away, I thought it might be fun to look back on the major stories that took place in the 2011 season. Taking the NFL lockout into consideration there was still a whole lot that went on last year. Here is part one of the 2011 Patriots year in review, with all the major headlines of the 2011 off-season for the New England Patriots.



Feb 21: Aaron Hernandez has hip surgery
Feb 24: Rex Ryan guarantees another Super Bowl victory at the NFL scouting combine
Feb 24: Logan Mankins’ agent Frank Bauer says “it’s a travesty what they’ve done with this player”, referring to the Patriots treatment of Mankins
Feb 25: Pats sign safety Josh Barrett to a two-year extension
Feb 25: Former Pats OC Charlie Weis receives a 3-year, $2.65 million deal to be the OC at the University of Florida
Feb 27: OL Nick Kaczur balks at being asked to take a ‘massive’ pay cut


Mar 1: Pats sign 32-year old former Bills and Jaguars Pro Bowl DE Marcus Stroud to a two-year contract, with a base salary of $1.2 million in 2011 and $1.7 million in 2012
Mar 2: Pats extend RFA tender at 2nd-round level to RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Mar 2: RG Stephen Neal retires
Mar 3: Tom Brady and Logan Mankins are among those that agree to serve as plaintiffs against the NFL when the players’ association decides to decertify
Mar 3: Pats extend tender to RFA Jarrad Page, and ERFA tender to Kyle Arrington
Mar 7: The media and opposing fans have a field day when a video emerges of Tom Brady dancing at Carnival in Rio de Janeiro
Mar 10: Reports emerge that Brandon Meriweather allegedly shot two people outside a house party in his hometown in Florida.
Mar 11: NFLPA decertifies

Mar 20: Matt Light says that he was disappointed that Robert Kraft was in Israel rather than present at the final hours of negotiations on the collective bargaining agreement, which broke down the previous week
Mar 21: Jonathan Kraft says “I’d like to think (Tom Brady) was conflicted” in being part of the NFLPA lawsuit against the NFL
Mar 22: Owners approved rule change to move kickoffs from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line
Mar 27: C Jon Morris named to Patriots Hall of Fame by the senior committee, which gets to consider one player every five years who has been retired for at least 25 years
Mar 28: RB Fred Taylor says he feels he has two more years left in the NFL
Mar 31: Pats announce Moses Cabrera will join the staff as the assistant strength and conditioning coach
Mar 31: Cincinnati Bengal WR Chad Ochocinco works out in Florida with some New England players, and refers on twitter to one photo as him “and my teammate Wes Welker
Mar 31: On Sirius radio Leigh Bodden says that his shoulder “feels good” and that his rehab has been “great”
Mar 31: Former Patriot RB Laurence Maroney charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession


Apr 1: Tom Brady photographed in California wearing a walking boot, after offseason foot surgery
Apr 4: Former Patriot LB Mike Vrabel was arrested for theft at the Beltera Casino in Florence, IN
Apr 11: Fred Taylor tells the Gainesville Sun that he is “basically retired” from football
Apr 12: Pats preseason schedule is announced: Jags, Bucs, Lions, and Giants
Apr 12: “The Brady 6” airs on ESPN
Apr 15: Team announces that the three finalists for the Patriots Hall of Fame are Drew Bledsoe, Bill Parcells and Houston Antwine

Apr 19: Regular season schedule announced; Pats open at Miami on MNF
Apr 23: When asked if he is enjoying his time off due to the lockout, Wes Welker responds “It’s awesome because I’m on my own schedule. I don’t have to talk to anybody; I don’t have to see anybody. You see some of the same faces all the time. It’s kind of nice not to have to look at them anymore and see them. I’m kind of enjoying it.” With nothing else to talk about due to the lockout, the media dissects the words for hidden meaning and scolds Welker for his benign comment.
Apr 28: NFL Draft commences; Panthers select Auburn QB Cam Newton with the first overall pick
Apr 28: Pats select Colorado T Nate Solder 17th overall in the first round of the NFL Draft
Apr 28: Pats trade the 28th overall pick to the Saints in exchange for the Saints second round pick (56th overall) and New Orleans’ first round pick in 2012. With that pick the Saints select Alabama RB Mark Ingram, who had worked out with the Pats and many felt the Pats would draft
Apr 29: Pats draft Virginia CB Ras-I Dowling with the first pick of the 2nd round (33rd overall)
Apr 29: Pats draft Cal RB with the 24th pick of the 2nd round (56th overall)
Apr 29: Pats trade a 2nd round pick (#60 overall) to Houston in exchange for a 3rd-round pick (#73 overall) and a 5th-round pick (#138 overall); Pats fans wail in anger and media members nationwide second guess Belichick for having the audacity to trade down
Apr 29: Pats shock everyone by drafting another RB, Stevan Ridley from LSU, with the #73 pick
Apr 29: Pats really shock everyone by drafting Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett with the #74 pick
Apr 30: Pats draft Texas Christian OL Marcus Cannon in the 5th round with the #138 pick
Apr 30: Pats draft Marshall TE Lee Smith in the 5th round with the 159th pick
Apr 30: Pats draft Central Arkansas DE Markell Carter in the 6th round with the 194th pick
Apr 30: Pats draft TCU DB/ST Malcolm Williams


May 4: Bodog releases its odds for the 2011 season, and lists the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots as the two teams most likely to win the Super Bowl
May 5: Bug-eyed former Patriot Reche Caldwell arrested for possession of marijuana
May 6: Rex Ryan says that “Bill Belichick is the best coach I have ever seen
May 6: Tennessee GM Mike Reinfeldt says the Titans will not re-sign Randy Moss; thus begins speculation which would begin anew on a weekly basis for the next ten months that Moss would be returning to Foxboro
May 9: 62-year old Patriot legendary RB Mack Herron arrested in Chicago for possession of heroin
May 10: Forbes ranks Tom Brady as the second-most influential athlete in America

May 11: Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome tells the media how much he learned about scouting from Bill Belichick
May 16: Drew Bledsoe elected to Patriots Hall of Fame. While Bledsoe was without a doubt deserving, his induction could have waited one year. A future induction of Houston Antwine will be a case of ‘too little, too late’ now that he has passed on, just as it was with Jim Nance
May 18: Forbes wrote that Bill Belichick is the highest-paid coach in the four major professional sports, estimating his salary to be $7.5 million
May 19: Tedy Bruschi embarks on climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to bring awareness to the Wounded Warrior Project

May 23: Third Annual Joe Andruzzi Charity Golf Tournament in Bolton MA
May 23: Mediots and Pats haters have a field day when the paparazzi snaps a picture of Tom Brady going down a waterslide with his arms half raised
May 24: NFL cancels rookie symposium due to lockout
May 31: NFLPA announces they will have their own rookie symposium


June 2: Tom Brady leads the first of several 40-player workouts at Boston College
June 6: USA Today ranks Devin McCourty as the 7th best CB in the NFL
June 8: Bret Lockett becomes a household name when he appears in gossip magazines for having an affair with an at that time engaged Kim Kardashian
June 8: Pats announce single-game tickets will go on sale July 15

June 12: Tom Martinez reported to be gravely ill
June 12: Vince Wilfork ranked #35, Logan Mankins #39, Wes Welker #50 and Jerod Mayo #62 in NFL Network’s ‘Top 100’ series
June 13: Bill Belichick attends the 25th anniversary of the 1986 SB championship with the New York Giants; speculation commences that he will leave the Pats to return to New York
June 16: SI ranks Tom Brady as the 9th-highest paid American athlete

June 22: NFL negotiations take place on Nantasket Beach in Hull. Seriously. I did not make this up. Obviously it has changed since I lived there for one year while trying to save money to buy a house with cheap rent 25 years ago, but still … Hull?


July 3: NFL Network’s ‘Top 100’ concludes, and NFL players rank Tom Brady as the number one player; Ray Lewis presents Brady on the telecast
July 11: Mike Vrabel retires from the NFL, and will become an assistant coach at Ohio State
July 13: Forbes ranks the Patriots as world’s 6th most valuable sports franchise
July 19: Yahoo reports that Logan Mankins and Vincent Jackson will hold up a labor deal between the NFL and NFLPA, demanding $10 million each as plaintiffs in the lawsuit between the two sides unless they are declared unrestricted free agents
July 19: While the media talks about Mankins and VJax, nobody seems to talk about plaintiff Peyton Manning wanting to be declared a free agent as well
July 20: Myra Kraft dies after a long battle with cancer
July 21: Mankins refutes Chris Mortensen’s claim that he was holding up CBA negotiations by seeking $10 million
July 21: NFL owners approve new CBA deal
July 24: It is reported that Pats 30-year old OLB Tully Banta-Cain underwent surgery for an abdominal tear

July 25: Lockout ends; players unanimously sign off on new CBA
July 26: Pats sign twelve undrafted free agents: OL Mike Berry (Auburn), LB/LS Ryan Coulson (Nevada), OL Kyle Hix (Texas), K Chris Koepplin (UMass), DE Aaron Lavarias (Idaho), LB Anthony Leonard (West Virginia), DE Clay Nurse (Illinois), WR Jeremy Ross (California), DE Alex Silvestro (Rutgers), LB Jeff Tarpinian (Iowa), OL Corey Woods (Akron) and TE Will Yeatman (Maryland)
July 26: Brady et al suit is dropped
July 26: Pats release DB Tony Carter and OLB Tully Banta-Cain
July 27: Randy Moss to the Jets rumors run rampant
July 27: Pats players unanimous in vote to recertify NFLPA
July 27: Pats sign 6th-round pick Markell Carter to 4-year contract
July 27: RB Sammy Morris signs one-year deal with Pats
July 27: Pats sign 5th-round pick Lee Smith to contract which includes a $171,480 signing bonus

July 28: Pats acquire 30-year old DT Albert Hayesworth from the Washington Redskins in a trade for the Pats 2013 5th-round draft pick
July 28: Pats release DT Marcus Stroud
July 28: Pats hold first training camp practice
July 28: Pats sign 3rd-round pick Stevan Ridley
July 28: Pats acquire WR Chad Ochocinco from the Cincinnati Bengals in a trade for 2012 and 2013 draft picks
July 28: Pats sign 3rd-round pick Ryan Mallett
July 28: Pats cut DL Ty Warren
July 28: Pats cut TE Alge Crumpler
July 28: Pats cut OL Nick Kaczur
July 28: Pats cut LB/LS Ryan Coulson
July 29: Ras-I Dowling was among those missing from the Pats second practice; this would not be the last time this would happen
July 30: Logan Mankins signs franchise tender
July 30: Kevin Faulk signs new contract
July 30: Kyle Arrington signs new contract
July 30: Pats cut LB Anthony Leonard
July 30: Pats re-sign S Brandon McGowan
July 30: Pats re-sign LB/ST Tracy White
July 31: Deion Branch advises Chad Ochocinco to ‘try not to learn too much’ for now. Maybe that wasn’t the best advice.
July 31: Pats re-sign LT Matt Light to a two-year contract


Aug 1: Randy Moss retires
Aug 1: Cris Carter claims that the Pats offered Randy Moss a one-year contract, but Moss did not accept because he wanted a multi-year deal
Aug 1: Pats cut QB Jonathan Crompton
Aug 2: Free agent S Jarrad Page signs with Philadelphia
Aug 2: Ty Warren signs with the Broncos
Aug 3: Pats cut RB Thomas Clayton
Aug 3: Pats cut OL Mike Berry
Aug 3: Pats sign RB Chris Morris
Aug 3: Pats re-sign RFA RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Aug 3: Pats sign OL Jonathan Compas
Aug 3: Pats sign RB Richard Medlin
Aug 3: Pats fans sing happy birthday to Tom Brady at training camp

Aug 4: Pats sign 1st-round pick Nate Solder
Aug 5: Ochocinco drops four balls in practice; Brady says ‘we all have good days and bad days’
Aug 7: Pats sign 34-year old former Jets DL Shaun Ellis; Rex Ryan proclaims “there’s no way I’m going to wish him well
Aug 8: Pats sign DE Andre Carter
Aug 8: Peter King reports on Randy Moss visiting Robert Kraft after Myra Kraft’s death; speculation zooms that the Pats will sign Moss
Aug 9: Ochocinco announces on twitter that he wants to move in and live with a Pats fan while he gets acclimated to the area
Aug 9: Pats re-sign DL Gerard Warren
Aug 9: Pats announce they will dedicate the season to Myra Kraft

Aug 10: Pats cut S Ross Ventrone – for trivia enthusiasts, this was the first time it happened in the 2011 season
Aug 10: Pats sign G Mark Wetterer off waivers from Cincinnati
Aug 10: Pats sign LG Logan Mankins to six-year contract extension
Aug 10: Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth restructure their contracts
Aug 11: Pats crush the Jaguars 47-12 in preseason opener, even with 17 players not dressing for game. Brian Hoyer goes 15/21 for 171 yards and a TD; WR Taylor Price has five catches for 105 yards; Aaron Hernandez gets an earful from Bill Belichick after fumbling the ball twice; WR Buddy Farnham gets snaps on defense and makes an interception playing safety; Dane Fletcher calls defensive plays at MLB; Mark Anderson has two hurries as the Pats defense prevents Jacksonville from converting on six consecutive third downs
Aug 13: Pats cut OL Chris Morris
Aug 13: Pats cut DL Steve Williams
Aug 13: Pats sign rookie FA DL Zack Roth from TCU
Aug 14: Pats sign veteran LB/ST Niko Koutouvides
Aug 14: Pats will reportedly work out WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and safeties Darren Sharper and Renaldo Hill

Aug 16: Vince Wilfork among those named in scandal alleging payments from booster Nevin Shapiro while at the University of Miami
Aug 17: Pats cut OL Mark LeVoir, and Pats fans cringe at the decision over the perceived lack of depth at tackle
Aug 18: Patriots jump out to a 21-0 1st quarter lead in Tampa and cruise to a 31-14 preseason win over the Bucs. Chad Ochocinco gets his first touchdown as a Patriot; Jerod Mayo has two sacks, three QB hits and five tackles; Ryan Mallett throws a pick six; Bret Lockett leaves with an injury, leaving the Pats with Meriweather, Chung and Sergio Brown at safety, so Buddy Farnham gets more playing time at the position; Danny Woodhead gets his bell rung making a 4th quarter special teams tackle
Aug 19: Prosecutors accuse Albert Haynesworth’s attorney of repeatedly attempting to buy off the alleged victim in a sexual assault case against him
Aug 19: Pats place LB Christian Cox on injured reserve with a neck injury
Aug 19: Pats sign S James Ihedigbo of UMass, who was with the Jets in 2010.
Aug 19: Pats work out RB Clinton Portis

Aug 20: Chad Ochocinco offers to pay fine the NFL imposed on Bucs’ Mason Foster for a hit he put on Ochocinco, but league spokesman Greg Aiello responded that the NFL does not allow for one player to pay another player’s fine. Remarkably, this becomes the biggest Pats story on sports talk radio for a week
Aug 20: Pats sign 5-year veteran LB Ricky Brown of BC, who was primarily a ST player with the Raiders
Aug 21: Pats release S Bret Lockett, who had spent all of 2010 on IR
Aug 21: Pats release OL Zach Roth
Aug 21: Pats sign TE Garrett Mills, who is most well known for being the player that the Vikings signed off waivers in 2007 with Brad Childress alleging that Bill Belichick had asked him not to do so – with Childress also saying that Belichick “didn’t really care for that … he was trying to leverage, but you always find out who is honest and straightforward.”
Aug 22: Albert Haynesworth pleads no contest to simple assault in Washington, thus avoiding a trial for sexual abuse
Aug 24: Pats re-sign OL Mike Berry

Aug 25: Sidelined during training camp with a hamstring injury, James Sanders says he “can’t wait to play again for Bill Belichick
Aug 26: Heath Evans calls Bill Belichick “the funniest guy I’ve ever been around”; for some reason the national media don’t run with the story
Aug 27: Pats lose ugly to the Lions in their third preseason game. Matt Stafford started out 12/14 for 200 yards and 2 TD; Ndamukong Suh and Cliff Avril were constantly in the Pats offensive backfield; Dan Connolly was injured and Suh just abused his replacement, Rich Ohrnberger; Brady was hit six times, hurried four times, sacked once and intercepted once before being mercifully replaced; Wes Welker suffers a neck injury
Aug 29: A day before the deadline to get the roster down to 80 players the Pats cut DL Clay Nurse, WR Darnell Jenkins, WR Tyree Barnes, OL Mark Wetterer, K Chris Koepplin, DB Malcolm Williams, DL Kade Weston, and TE Garrett Mills
Aug 29: Pats cut LS Matt Katula, which sets off speculation that they will try to save a roster spot by using Rob Ninkovich as the LS
Aug 29: Pats cut CB Jonathan Wilhite
Aug 29: Pats cut S James Sanders
Aug 29: Pats sign WR Tiquan Underwood
Aug 29: Pats re-sign S Ross Ventrone, who had been cut 19 days earlier
Aug 29: NFL Films will air “Bill Belichick: A Football Life” on the NFL Network, premiering part one on Sept 15 and part two on Sept 22, which will be a documentary on Belichick’s 2009 season; the show is later commonly referred to as ‘porn for Pats fans’
Aug 30: Fans start to wonder about Chad Ochocinco, who has just two receptions in eight targets for 14 yards thus far, with one catch being his lone touchdown when he was wide open due to blown coverage
Aug 30: James Sanders signs with the Falcons
Aug 30: Jerod Mayo wins Patriots’ Ron Burton Community Service Award
Aug 30: Pats sign LS James Dearth
Aug 31: Pats place OL Marcus Cannon on reserve/non-football injury list
Aug 31: Pats claim Antwaun Molden off waivers from Houston


Sept 1: Pats lose the final preseason game to the Giants, 18-17. The first team did well, getting off to a 17-3 halftime lead; the offense scored three times and were forced to punt twice in the first half before the backups took over; Matthew Slater had a 64-yard reception and a great special teams tackle; the starting defense forced two turnovers
Sept 2: After not starting and then playing in the second half with backups, Brandon Meriweather says “I don’t know my situation”; some believe it is a sign he will be cut while others say there is no way that will happen with James Sanders having already been released
Sept 2: A day before they must get the roster down to 53 players the Pats cut WR Buddy Farnham, RB Richard Medlin, OL Jonathan Compas, LB Ricky Brown, DL Darryl Richard, TE Carson Butler, OL Mike Berry, and OL Corey Woods
Sept 3: Pats cut DL Markell Carter, DL Aaron Lavarlas, and DE Alex Silvestro
Sept 3: Pats cut DE Eric Moore
Sept 3: Pats cut WR Tiquan Underwood, DL Landon Cohen, RB Eric Kettani, LB/ST Niko Koutouvides, OL Thomas Austin, DB Ross Ventrone, TE Lee Smith and TE Will Yeatman
Sept 3: Pats cut RB Sammy Morris
Sept 3: Pats cut S Brandon Meriweather
Sept 3: Pats cut WR/KR Brandon Tate
Sept 3: Pats place DL Ron Brace, DL Brandon Deaderick and RB Kevin Faulk on the reserve physically unable to perform (PUP) list, and place OL Rich Ohrnberger on injured reserve

Sept 4: Brandon Meriweather signs with the Bears; Bengals claim Brandon Tate; Dolphins claim Will Yeatman; Bills claim Lee Smith
Sept 4: Pats sign OLB/DE Markell Carter, DE Alex Silvestro, DL Aaron Lavarlas and DB Ross Ventrone to the Practice Squad
Sept 4: Pats cut LS James Dearth and OL/TE Steve Maneri
Sept 4: Pats sign veteran RG Brian Waters
Sept 4: Pats claim LS Danny Aiken on waivers from Bills
Sept 6: Tom Brady tells WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan that he would welcome Randy Moss back “with open arms”, fueling another round of Moss-to-return-to-the-Pats speculation
Sept 6: Three days after making the initial roster, Pats cut CB Darius Butler; he is claimed on waivers by Carolina
Sept 6: Pats sign TE Dan Gronkowski
Sept 7: Pats claim LB A.J. Edds on waivers from Dolphins
Sept 8: Players vote Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Devin McCourty, Tom Brady, Logan Mankins and Matthew Slater to be team captains




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