Here are some afternoon columns for today:

Eric McHugh says that the Patriots are still in the running to keep David Givens. Mark Farinella says that last week showed that NFL owners “get it” while MLB owners are still in the dark. Glen Farley looks at Christian Fauria and Andre Davis heading out of Foxboro after signing with the Redskins and Bills respectively.

This article from Len Pasquarelli today just hurts to read. It sure sounds from this column that Willie McGinest might’ve played his last game as a Patriots. The Patriots also released Chad Brown and Ryan Krug today.

Ray Duckler looks at Tony Graffanino, who knows that his time in Boston is nearly over. Duckler also has an article on Jonathan Papelbon, who has very high expectations to live up to.

Win Bates looks at Paul Pierce scoring the Celtics final six points to lead them over Denver. Mike Fine also looks at Pierce displaying his midas touch once again for the Celtics. Fine’s notebook looks at the feud between Pierce and Denver coach George Karl calming down.

Here are some articles from the weekend in the local papers. There are some very strong articles in here, including some good work in the Globe notes columns.

Ron Borges looked back at the seminal moment in the NFL owners meeting this past week, when Jonathan Kraft agreed that the Patriots would “pledge their share of any future Internet deal so the league could borrow against it today, if necessary”. Albert Breer says that with a new CBA in place, the Patriots need to get to work on a new contract for Richard Seymour, whom he says is the best player and most unique talent on the Patriots roster, even above Tom Brady. Borges’ Football Notes have Paul Tagliabue dismissing reports of his impending retirement. Michael Felger wrote that Adam Vinatieri could very well be heading out of town, while Tom E Curran noted that Vinatieri would be better suited endorsements-wise by sticking around here in New England.

Mike Fine had a very good “thoughts” column which is devoted entirely to the Celtics. He makes a number of interesting points, including touching on the atmosphere around the club since trading Mark Blount, and the at time obnoxious game presentation at the Garden. Scott Souza wrote that making a playoff push could be critical to the development of the Celtics young players. Peter May led off his Basketball Notes with a look at Ryan Gomes, whom he feels has a shot at making the All-rookie first team this season, quite an accomplishment for a second round draft pick. Israel Gutierrez of the Miami Herald had an article over the weekend proclaiming that the Celtics could be poised to be an Eastern Conference power very soon.

Art Davidson in the MetroWest Daily News had a bit on Darryl Strawberry, who is in his second spring as an instructor in Mets spring training as he continues to try to put his life back together. He regrets ever leaving the Mets, and notes that he never took steroids, and though he made a lot of other mistakes, he can’t ever be accused of taking steroids. Gordon Edes’ Baseball Notes has a look at the life and death of Kirby Puckett and reports on a rough month for former Red Sox Casey Fossum. Tony Massarotti looked at the very different private and public persona’s of Barry Bonds and Puckett. He also looks at an impressive spring thus far for Andy Marte with Cleveland. Nick Cafardo took a look at Ken Griffey Jr, who he says is aging gracefully, in contrast to Barry Bonds. Ray Duckler had a look at NH native Brian Sabean, who as GM of the San Francisco Giants is taking some heat over the Barry Bonds scandal. Alex Speier looked at the Red Sox options for sorting out their gang of 7 (starters)

Kevin Paul Dupont had a look at the Bruins playoff goals slipping out of their reach. Stephen Harris said that all the Bruins moves since the start of the season “seem focused on only one flawed and shortsighted goal: try to sneak into the final playoff spot.” Dupont’s Hockey Notes called on Jeremy Jacobs to finally own up and make much needed front office changes.

Jim Donaldson had a Selection Sunday thoughts style column.

Media

Here are a few more sports media columns:

Michael Hiestand looks at the NCAA selection coverage and says that analysts said a whole lot, but added little. David Barron has Jim Nantz saying that RPI emphasis has gone “completely goofy”. Richard Sandomir imagines what it would be like if Fidel Castro called the Mike and the Mad Dog show on WFAN. Hiestand also writes that CBS will leave no stone unturned in their NCAA tournament coverage. Jim Williams has more on the NCAA coverage, and Sandomir looks at real-life altering the content of ESPN’s new reality show featuring Barry Bonds.

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