Clint's Corner Archive

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The source for back issues of Clint's Corner. Forget a trade? Were Clint's predictions correct? Here's every edition, verbatim.

For 5/8/96

During what has been a very busy past 5 weeks for the home team, my column was M.I.A. due to some unforeseen Web Provider problems. Thanks to Mike, we are now back on line at his (our?) new Web sight. So much has happened. New free agents, the draft, Parcells rumors, and of course the Christian Peter fiasco. With better luck, this column will resume being a weekly release.

The Draft

With the 7th overall selection in this year's annual NFL draft, the Pats grabbed speedy wideout Terry Glenn from Ohio State. In what has proved to be somewhat of a controversial pick, the fact remains that Terry Glenn is now the most talented wideout on the Patriots roster. At 5'10", 185 pounds, Glenn runs a sub 4.4 40. When he puts on the pads, he appears even faster. Glenn seems to have another gear after the catch. How many DB's caught Glenn from behind last year? Granted that was college ball, but Glenn played against some of the toughest competition the NCAA had to offer.

The same can not be said for Keyshawn Johnson's Trojans, who barely edged Northwestern in the Rose Bowl. Bobby Grier even extended himself by saying that Glenn was rated higher than Johnson on their draftboard. We'll see the two of them on the same field twice this year when the Pats play the Jets. Let's hope Mr. Grier doesn't eat his words. By the way, Bobby, save the praise until after the bloodsucking agents have signed the contract. Rumor has it Johnson's camp wants a 10 Million dollar signing bonus. Don't be surprised if Terry and Keyshawn start the season at home, still waiting to break the bank.

Power Struggle?

The controversy surrounding the pick does not concern Glenn's ability, but as to who made the decision to draft him. Will McDonough of the Globe reported that he saw an "dejected" Parcells emerge from a closed door meeting the Tuna had with Grier and Kraft while the Pats were on the clock with the the pick. After selecting Glenn, McDonough declared a "changing of the guard", and that Parcells had been stripped of his authority. Rumor has it that Bill wanted defense, while Grier and Kraft wanted Glenn.

Unless there is a secret audio tape circulating, my feeling is that any speculation as to what went on in that room is foolish. Let us remember Parcell's relationship with the Press. It is no secret he doesn't like them. What better way for the Press to get back at the Tuna than with "His Royal Highness is Dethroned" headlines. Will McDonough? The man is a Raiders fan, and would have helped load the truck three years ago before Kraft bought this team to keep it in New England.

Here is something to chew on... another rumor is that New Orleans wanted to trade up from the 11th spot to the 7th to draft Tim Biakabatuka. Perhaps the "big pow wow" was over this trade. Maybe Parcells thought Glenn would still be there at #11, and the trade was worth making. The Pats would still land Glenn, and would also have an additional pick in the draft (2nd round maybe?). Perhaps Grier and Kraft decided that Glenn could go before #11, and the risk was not worth taking. Stop the Presses! Three men in organization don't agree! Big deal. Headlines sell papers, even if they are unfounded. Let's keep that in mind. At a press conference following the selection, Kraft, Parcells and Grier referred to the pick as an "organizational decision". Parcells went on to add that Glenn's speed will add a dimension to the Pats offense which was sorely absent last year.

The Later Rounds

In the second round, the Pats added Lawyer Milloy, a hard hitting safety from Washington. At 6'2", 202 lbs., Milloy will take your head off, and is especially effective in run support. His one-on-one coverage skills are a question mark. Look for Lawyer to be a starter on opening day. The Pats grabbed Division 1A's all-time sack leader in the third round. Tedy Bruschi had 52 sacks while playing end in Arizona's "Desert Swarm" defense. Remember what they did to the high scoring Hurricane's in the '95 Fiesta Bowl? That was some defense. At 6', 249 lbs., Bruschi is too small to play end in the NFL. The Pats hope to play him at Inside Linebacker. This appears to be a risky pick. Bruschi was an NCAA overachiever, but continuing that level of play in the pros while learning a new position will be tough. With the 86th overall pick, the Pats had better have a great player in Mr. Bruschi. His former coach at Arizona certainly thinks so, calling Bruschi a "steal" in the third round.

New England rounded out their draft with two defensive ends, two fullbacks, two tight ends, and two offensive lineman. Of those eight, I look for 4th round OL Heath Irwin to challenge for a starting spot. Of the remaining 7, my guess is that only FB Kantroy Barber (also 4th round) will see significant playing time this season. The others are wait-and-see'ers.

Your Dog ate your Homework?

In the 5th round, the Patriots selected DE Christian Peter of Nebraska, then released him two days later. These are the same Patriots who took Lawrence Phillips off of their draft board, citing his off the field behavioral problems. Next to Christian Peter, Lawrence Phillips is someone you would let take your daughter to the prom.

Following the selection, the media was all over the Pats, and Christian Peter. The specific and very graphic nature of Peter's past offenses were spelled out in the Boston Globe, leaving little to the imagination. (As a side note to the Globe, don't you realize that 10 year olds also read the paper?) The Patriots claimed that they were aware that Peter was an off-the-field problem, but were unaware of the extent and the specifics of his behavior until they were reported by the local media. Sports Illustrated had an article on Peter prior to the draft, and Pats' scouts interviewed Peter at the Indianapolis scouting combine.

Christian claims he was very honest and up front with the Patriots during that interview. He contends that the Pats knew everything about him when they made their 5th round selection, but then "wimped out" and did not stand by their player when the media (and Myra Kraft?) put the heat on. NFL security has admitted that their pre-draft report on Christian Peter given to the Patriots was incomplete. As a result of this, it appears likely that the Pats will be awarded an additional 5th round selection in next year's draft. Kraft had been petitioning the league for a 4th round selection.

Exactly what the Patriots knew and why they drafted Christian Peter will always remain a topic of debate. If in fact "all's well that ends well", then no harm was done, and the Patriots ultimately did the right thing. Christian Peter is now a free agent. He and his bloodsucking agent (whoever that may be) are free to petition the remaining 29 teams in the league for employment. As of today, there are still no takers.

Goodbye Ol' Friend

As I touched upon in one of my past columns, the Pats finally did what was expected and traded Pat Harlow. New England shipped Pat back home to California to play for the Raiders. In exchange, the Patriots received Oakland's second selection in the second round. This may seem a small price to pay for one of the games most intense and talented offensive tackles, but Harlow only had one year left on his contract. Pat has always wanted to play for the Raiders, and most certainly would have gone to them next year as a Free Agent. The Pats would have gotten back nothing in return.

A second round pick is better than nothing any day of the week. The move also freed up over $1.6 Million in salary cap money. Part of that was used to sign Larry Tharpe, a 6'4", 299 lbs. tackle who started all 16 games last year for Arizona. Buddy Ryan called him the Cardinal's best offensive lineman, but then again Arizona only won 4 games, and Buddy Ryan is no longer a coach. At the very least, Tharpe will serve as a solid and versatile backup to either Max Lane or Bruce Armstrong. Tharpe played on both sides of the line last year, and may even unseat Max Lane as a starter.

Pat Harlow was a great player, and a very popular player during his tenure in New England. His intensity and desire to win will be sorely missed. The Raiders got themselves one hell of a ballplayer.

Say it Aint So!

Bob Kraft confirmed rumors late last week that Bill Parcells had in fact requested to restructure his contract, due to expire at the end of the '97 season, to end instead at the conclusion of the upcoming 1996 campaign. This move had nothing to do with the draft, since this request was made and honored prior to the end of last season's disappointing 6-10 conclusion. "Sources" (Tuna just loves that word) have cited Parcells' distaste for the modern players' attitude, as well as last seasons many frustrations, for wanting to leave the coaching ranks a year early.

Today's players are more out for themselves and the money, rather than interested in competing as a team to win a Super Bowl. How else does one explain Alvin Harper signing with Tampa Bay, Neil O'Donnell signing with the Jets, or Cornelius Bennett signing with the Falcons? Money is all that matters to a lot of these guys. Winning seems secondary. That was not as much the case in 1986, when Parcells led the Giants to his first Super Bowl title over the Broncos. Just in case past allusions have not caught your attention, this problem is argely due to player agents, who could care less if a team goes bankrupt or is forced to relocate in order to pay the ridiculous salaries of the players they represent, but I digress.

If in fact Parcells leaves at the end of this year, it will be a far greater loss than Plunkett, Russ Francis, Kevin Turner, Tim Goad, and Irving Fryar combined. Just go down to your local library and browse some Sports section microfilm of Patriots' years past, particularly the more recent past. Parcells' arrival completely turned this franchise around, giving it instant respectability. Suddenly, 6-10 doesn't seem all that bad, does it? Don't be at all surprised to see this years squad go deep into the playoffs with the Tuna at the helm.

Maybe Big Bill is thinking about his finances. If this team goes 11-5, and plays in the AFC Championship game, or God willing the Super Bowl, how much would it take to resign the Tuna? Remember, even Tim Roberts made $1 Million last year, and JJ is making $3 Million to coach the Dolphins.

That's all for this week's rather elongated version of my corner of Patriots Nation. I had some catching up to do. Thank you all for being patient during our downtime! See you next week, and thanks for visiting. As always, GO PATS!!