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After being released from the Cleveland Browns, Willie McGinest may be entering training camp with the New England Patriots this summer. His career is winding down and coming to a close and he is reported to having interest in signing with the Patriots:
“Yeah, I’ve talked to Tom, Seymour and some other guys there. Those guys are lifelong friends, and I’ve heard some people say that it’d be a good fit. Why wouldn’t you want to go to a really good team, which is always close to the Super Bowl, which was in one a couple years ago, was a game away from another one, which has great coaching and is a great organization with a well put-together roster? Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that? And with all the history I have, what we accomplished in the playoffs, that wouldn’t be a bad way to finish up.”
The veteran Linebacker was part of the Patriots team that beat the odds and won the Superbowl in 2002. He is the all-time postseason sack leader and third on the Patriots all-time sacks list. He was drafted out of USC to the Patriots and played for 12 seasons until he was traded to the Browns three years ago.
After his successful years of play in New England, the 37 year-old veteran struggled in his time at Cleveland, only recording 8 sacks in three years and just one all of last year (he did give Ben Roethlisberger a concussion though…not that I dislike Ben Roethlisberger I love Big Ben, I’m just saying Big Ben is a beast it’s hard to give him a severe concussion).
There are questions as to whether or not adding McGinest to the roster would help the team. At this point – in my mind at least – it seems like it would not hurt to bring him into camp and see how he does.
The Patriots are not stacked at outside linebacker so having an extra player on the depth spot can only help. As far as cap room, McGinest does not seem to be asking for much and his value has evidently gone down.
His scenario looks like it may turn into a Junior Seau type deal. It seems like every time the Patriots lose a linebacker to injury, Bill Belichick has a veteran Linebacker on call to play as an interim defender. Not bad considering players like McGinest who are so well respected and established can also work as assistant coaches right on the battlefield. I’m waiting for the time when a team brings back the coach/player like Bill Russell for the Celtics in 1966. With Linebackers like Jerod Mayo and Gary Guyton having shown potential entering their sophomore seasons, McGinest and Seau are exactly what the young players need to develop. Mayo won Defensive Rookie of the year last season and Belichick praises Guyton – calling him one of the fastest linebackers in the league. McGinest’s versatility is a huge plus as well. In the 3-4 scheme, he can move from pass rusher at OLB or defensive end like they used him against Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb in Super Bowl XXXIX.
McGinest said he has trained all off-season even though he was without a team. At this point, the consensus is that McGinest wants to make a deal with New England happen.
Go looking for your throwback jersey, 55 might be making his return.