Troy Brown back with Pats for another go

By: By Tom Curran NBCSports.com
By: By Tom Curran NBCSports.com

Posted: Mar.29, 2007, 10:41 am EDT

It looks as if Brown and Brady will be back together next year.Troy Brown is in the Patriots' 2007 plans despite recent surgery to repair a ruptured patella tendon.

"I expect Troy to have a role with us this year as far as I'm concerned," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told NBCSports.com on Wednesday. "He is part of the plan for next season."

Meanwhile, Brown told the Associated Press Wednesday night, "My intention is to play. That's what the deal is. We'll see what happens. I'm not writing anything in stone but my intentions are to play.

Brown, taken in the eighth round of the 1993 draft by the Patriots, went under the knife after New England's AFC Championship loss to the Colts, according to The Boston Herald.

Currently a free agent, Brown is the Patriots' longest tenured player. He's got icon status in New England, where he's viewed as the embodiment of the gritty resourcefulness that helped the Pats win three Super Bowls and four AFC Championship appearances in the past six seasons.

The Patriots have been on a wideout binge during free agency, signing Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth and Kelley Washington to join a group that last year included Brown, Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney as its principal targets.

But Brown's value as a slot receiver, returner and pinch DB keeps him relevant even as he approaches his 36th birthday this July.

Last season, Brown caught 43 passes and became the Patriots all-time leading receiver in receptions (557).

Top QBs since 1997

Since 1997, 34 quarterbacks have been selected in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft. Ten are out of the league and 15 are starting comfortably. The rest could be best described as scuffling. The 34 men have accounted for a grand total of two Super Bowl wins.

1997
26. Jim Druckenmiller, San Francisco: Out of the NFL
42. Jake Plummer, Arizona: Out of the NFL

1998
1. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis: Super Bowl champ
2. Ryan Leaf, San Diego: Out of the NFL
60. Charlie Batch, Detroit: Backup in Pittsburgh

1999
1. Tim Couch, Cleveland: Out of the NFL
2. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia: Veteran Pro Bowler
3. Akili Smith, Cincinnati: Out of the NFL
11. Daunte Culpepper, Minnesota: Vying for job in Miami
12. Cade McNown, Chicago: Out of the NFL
50. Shaun King, Tampa Bay: Out of the NFL

2000
18. Chad Pennington, NY Jets: Secure as Jets starter

2001
1. Michael Vick, Atlanta: Falcons starter, potential unrealized
32. Drew Brees, San Diego: Last year's passing leader
53. Quincy Carter, Dallas: Out of the NFL
59. Marques Tuiasosopo, Oakland: Recently signed with Jets

2002
1. David Carr, Houston: Cut by Houston
3. Joey Harrington, Detroit: Cut by Miami
32. Patrick Ramsey, Washington: Hanging on in Denver

2003
1. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati: Pro Bowler for Bengals
7. Byron Leftwich, Jacksonville: Holding on as Jags starter
19. Kyle Boller, Baltimore: Backup for the Ravens

2004
1. Eli Manning, NY Giants: Inconsistent starter in New York
3. Philip Rivers, San Diego: Pro Bowler in 2006 for Chargers
11. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh: Won Super Bowl in 2005
22. J.P. Losman, Buffalo: On the rise for the Bills

2005
1. Alex Smith, San Francisco: Promising 2006 for Niners
24. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay: Stuck behind Brett Favre
25. Jason Campbell, Washington: Will be starter this year

2006
3. Vince Young, Tennessee: Scintillating rookie season
10. Matt Leinart, Arizona: Looks like the goods for Cards
11. Jay Cutler, Denver: Not enough evidence; will start in '07
49. Kellen Clemens, NY Jets: Backup to Pennington
64. Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota: Will get his shot this year

Carr stalled

The only noise around former No. 1 overall pick David Carr right now? Crickets.

The Dolphins confirmed mild interest this week but have put way more time into swinging a deal for Chiefs quarterback Trent Green. And the Seahawks might be interested in bringing the former Texan in for a visit where he'd presumably be offered a chance to compete with Seneca Wallace for the backup's job. The Panthers, according to the Charlotte Observer, will see if he's a suitable clipboard holder. The Vikings aren't interested.

On the surface, it's mystifying. Wouldn't Carr have more value to a QB-needy team like the Raiders than, say, JaMarcus Russell, the LSU leviathan who would probably have a three-year learning curve to get where Carr is? Sign Carr, draft Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson No. 1 and pair him with Randy Moss and you have a mighty scary twosome to send at secondaries.

Carr's only 28 and coming off a season where he completed 68.3 percent of his passes. So what gives?

Talking to a few sources around the league, the feeling is that Carr lacks pocket awareness. Given the choice between scanning for receivers or watching the pass rush, his eyes go to the pass rush. Despite his athleticism, he doesn't possess the innate ability to simply feel pressure and slide away from it. The pounding he took with the Texans -- 249 sacks in five seasons -- was as much his fault as it was the fault of his protection. And, after five seasons of showing that style, teams remain dubious that he can change his stripes.

In the past 10 drafts, 34 quarterbacks have been selected in the first two rounds. Including Carr and Joey Harrington (selected third in the 2002 draft), 10 are currently out of the NFL. Only 15 of them are the unquestioned starters for their teams and nine of them came into the league in the past four drafts. Only two of the 34 quarterbacks drafted in the past 10 years won Super Bowls (Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger).

Unless he bucks the odds, Carr could be headed to the same scrap heap that claimed Tim Couch.

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