Quick-hit thoughts around the NFL and with the Patriots:
1. The Patriots had a high enough level of interest in free-agent center/guard Cory Procter to bring him to town for a visit last week. But barring a late change, the expectation is that Procter will instead wind up in Miami, where he’ll be reunited with Tony Sparano, his former offensive line coach in Dallas.
2. Patriots organized team activities begin on Monday, and if this year is similar to last year, the first week will be tailored toward players with limited experience in the team’s system. The idea is to try to get them caught up as much as possible for when the full team is together the following week in OTAs.
3. Broncos outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil, who led the NFL with 17 sacks last season, is a restricted free agent who would like a contract extension. But instead of staying away from voluntary workouts, he’s shown up and hopes that his conciliatory, team-first approach leads to a long-term commitment. Here’s hoping Josh McDaniels rewards that move.
4. The Patriots’ agreement to hold joint practices with the Falcons Aug. 17 reflects strongly on Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff, the former Patriots director of college scouting. Some leave the Patriots organization for new jobs and the relationship with the team is never the same. But not Dimitroff. The scheduled joint practices show that Bill Belichick's respect for Dimitroff has only grown.
5. The Indianapolis Colts traded a 2008 first-round draft choice to select offensive tackle Tony Ugoh in the 2007 second round, but Ugoh has been a disappointment. The Colts are now trying him at left guard, hoping it might spark his career and make that investment look a bit wiser.
6. NFL owners gather in Dallas early this week for the league’s spring meeting and the awarding of the 2014 Super Bowl is one of the big items on the agenda. It would be an upset if New York doesn’t get it. Patriots owner Robert Kraft is supporting the New York bid.
7. With owners and the players association negotiating on a new collective bargaining agreement over the next year, I’m interested to see how much momentum builds for Olympic-style blood testing for HGH. If owners and players truly want to ensure the game is free of players on HGH, this is a prime opportunity to make it happen.
8. After releasing veteran offensive lineman Alan Faneca, the Jets have rookie Vladimir Ducasse of UMass and second-year man Matt Slauson as their top options at left guard. Ducasse worked with the first unit at the team’s Thursday organized team activity.
9. When breaking down the Patriots’ outside linebacker position and how it seems to have more speed in 2010, the first player that Tully Banta-Cain mentioned was Shawn Crable. This is a big year for Crable, a 2008 third-round draft choice who has not played in a regular-season game.
10. Congratulations are in order for Scott Barboza and Tara Bertrand of the Patriots media relations department as they prepare to embark on new career challenges. Their behind-the-scenes work was invaluable to media members.