Patriots add familiar faces at wide receiver
When the New England Patriots sought to add receivers through
free agency, the reinforcements they found looked very
That’s because both 11-year veteran Jabbar Gaffney and 10-year
veteran Donte’ Stallworth are doing their second tours in
Then came Brandon Lloyd, a 10-year veteran, who was immersed in
the Patriots offense when he played under Josh McDaniel in Denver
and St. Louis. He’s now been reunited with McDaniel, who returned
to the Patriots last season and is again the offensive
That means the learning curve has not been steep for the three
players who hope to provide depth behind All-Pro Wes Welker and a
host of other veterans at wide receiver.
Still, they don’t take anything for granted, considering how
many other veteran receivers couldn’t master the Patriots’ complex
Gaffney caught 85 passes for 1,039 yards and eight touchdowns
for the Patriots (No. 2 in the AP Pro32) in three seasons from
2006-2008 and left the team on good terms.
”In this league, you never know,” Gaffney said. ”Guys leave
and they return.”
Gaffney said he never really forgot the Pats’ system and it came
back to him rather quickly.
”It was just like putting my comfortable shoes back on,” he
In 2007, Stallworth caught 46 passes for 697 yards and three TDs
for the Patriots.
His life took a dark turn in June 2009, when he was found to be
driving drunk when he struck and killed a pedestrian in Florida in
March 2009. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail after the
conviction for manslaughter.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been impressed with what he
sees as a dramatic change since Stallworth’s first stint.
”I would say Donte’ has really matured a lot since he was here
in ’07. He’s been a very positive example and influence with what
he does on a daily basis but also some of the things that he’s done
with other players on the team,” he said.
Quarterback Tom Brady said it was fun to be reunited with the
”There is so much familiarity with what they’re capable of and
what they can do,” he said. ”It doesn’t seem like it’s taken long
for them to kind of get re-acclimated to what we do. Both of them
are making a lot of plays out there.”
Lloyd, wearing the No. 85 jersey most recently used by the
receiver then known as Chad Ochocinco, developed into a fan
favorite early in training camp, with several spectacular catches,
earning cheers rivaling those for tight end Rob Gronkowski.
”He knows what he’s doing out there,” Brady said. ”It’s not
like there’s a lot of studying the playbook. He’s been in the
offense now for a bunch of years.”
While Belichick was more cautious, Brady said having trusted
veterans is a shortcut to success.
”You have guys who you play with who you’ve won games with that
you really have a lot of trust in, then you can go out there early
and execute at a relatively high level,” Brady said.
There are 10 receivers in camp, and the Pats will likely keep
six or seven, with the edge for the last couple of spots expected
to go to players with multiple roles, such as special teams ace
Matthew Slater or kick returner/receiver Julian Edelman.
NOTES: Belichick said there is no update on the status of
veteran guard Brian Waters, who has yet to report to camp. . The
Patriots have been drawing record-breaking training camp crowds in
the first week, including one crowd of 13,654.
Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and