Michael Felger’s WEEI.com mailbag this week has some interesting items.
Felger is bit more self-reflective this week, talking about some of the strained relationships he has in the Patriots locker room. He talks about the Report Card being a sure way to lose friends among the players, and cites a few examples. It’s an interesting “inside” look at the interaction between the media and players:
Being the author of the Herald report card is a sure-fire way to become, in the eyes of the players, the biggest douche in the media pack. Kevin Mannix got it for years, and it took me no time at all to assume the mantle. Some would say it came naturally to me. I get the sense my former colleague at the paper, John Tomase, wanted no part of it after I left this year, as he only did an abbreviated version the first three weeks. I assume new Herald hire Ron Borges will take it over now, which should be great. But it will also be interesting to see how he handles it. Ron has always billed himself as a “players guy,” and he has some close relationships in the locker room. I’m curious to see what he writes when one of those guys has an off day. I like to think I never hesitated criticizing a player, even if he was one of the rare ones who I had a decent relationship with. I’ve given Tom Brady more than his share of F’s. I’ve been hard on Rodney Harrison, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel and Ty Warren, all of whom have been very helpful to me over the years. I was so harsh on the offensive line at one point that Joe Andruzzi, who is truly one of the best people to ever play in the league and who I had a very good relationship with, called me out in front of his linemates one day and then refused to speak to me. In my opinion, the report card is useless if you aren’t being critical when warranted. So there’s no way to do it right and still be popular down there.
He also talks about Richard Seymour:
Of course, it’s too late for me with many players anyway. In the interest of full disclosure, I’d say the damage has been done with someone like Seymour, who I get the sense would like to smash my face in every time he sees me. In fact, he almost did just that a couple of years ago when I approached him as he sat facing his locker. When he didn’t respond to a couple of my questions, I asked if there was a problem. Mistake. It was at that point he got up from his chair, edged closer to me and slowly stretched to the length of his 6-foot-5, 310-pound frame. Picture a Transformer. Looking straight down at me, he asked, “Do you want there to be?” It was the easiest question I’ve ever been asked in my life. “Nope,” I said, walking away. That incident eventually passed, and Seymour and I did some interviews after that. But I think it was the next year (2006) that I wrote Ty Warren deserved to go to the Pro Bowl over him (something I stand by, even after Warren last season complained to me about the B+ I gave him in the playoffs….a B+!), and when I tried to ask Seymour a question at a press conference that day, he gave me the Drew Rosenhaus, “next question” treatment. I haven’t asked him a question since, although I still have to put a mike in his face from time to time as part of the media horde. I do it gingerly. If Tanguay is there, he gets the mike. As I wrote last week, Seymour is one of the most respected, professional and well-liked players among the media in that locker room. Leave it to me to be the guy he has a problem with.
He also cites Ellis Hobbs, Corey Dillon, Drew Bledsoe and Willie McGinest as guys that have had issues with him in the past.
Felger’s mailbag is quickly becoming one of the best features of the new WEEI.com.
Also on WEEI.com, new hire Paul Flannery (formerly also of Boston Magazine) has a piece on Rajon Rondo as he enters his third season with the Celtics. Adrian Wojnarowski has Doc Rivers finding new challenges for his team this season. Frank Dell’Apa has Doc Rivers getting an addition to his family. Charles P. Pierce has a good piece on Leon Powe in the Globe’s OT.
Alex Speier says that the Red Sox execution was the difference maker in the game one victory. Rob Bradford looks at Jon Lester’s dominant performance last night. Tony Massarotti looks at Jacoby Ellsbury huge night in game one.
Cold, Hard Football Facts says that the Patriots are a team in a statistical free fall. They add that a series of awful drafts haven’t helped their cause.