Felger Opens Up About Pats Locker Room

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.

Check out some notes from the TBS telecasts yesterday from SportsMediaNews.com. King Kaufman enjoyed the TBS coverage, dubbing it the “Anti-FOX.”

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.

  • will

    Sorry Felger, but the reason players hate you is because you are a douche. It’s not the report card; it’s you. Your claim to fame in recent years is to act like Baby Borges and snipe at the Pats for the sole reason of getting people to talk about you (although the way in which they spoke of you is hardly flattering). Way to go asswipe, first the Bruins, now the Pats…

  • will

    Felger’s just an assclown…

  • Scott

    Seems to me the whole point of this “reflective” piece was to remind himself and us how important he really is. Pass.

  • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

    I’m not a fan of Joe Morgan or the Buck/McCarver team but I don’t understand why people can’t enjoy a bad broadcast on it’s own (dubious merits). For example, John Madden is so far gone right now it’s hilarious. Jack Edwards’ insane use of hyperbole in Bruin’s broadcasts can be quite comical as just like the Rem Dog’s attempts to sell me things (Tommy Heinhsohn would be funnier is he wasn’t right. NBA officials ARE awful).
    But the best are the Golden Gopher hockey broadcasts where Doug Woog babbles incoherently. God, I love those. They allow me to turn any sports broadcast into Mystery Science Theatre 3000!

  • Chris

    If Felger spent as much time improving his professional skill set as he does blow-drying his hair, he’d be respected. But I do have to say that the more onerous and abrasive a columnist or writer gets, the less ‘primary’ input he’ll get from his subjects. Then you turn into a Dan Shaughnessy or a Jay Marriotti and never actually speak to meaningful sports professionals…you just sit up on some high perch and what you THINK about them instead. Then, you become JUST LIKE US while behaving all high-and-mighty.

  • Angry Old Bastard

    …….The “Report Card”??…much ado about NOTHING…who gives a Rat’s ass about a “Report Card” written by these self-important ass clowns?. Do people really think Felger, Borges, Tomase etc, etc.. went to some special “Football School” to become “Football Professors”….LMAO…They don’t know anymore about football than you and me….That’s why the players get pissed I guess, having somebody who doesn’t know what the hell their talking about grading their performance……personally, I quit wasting my time reading these “Reports cards” YEARS AGO…..

    Loved this line from Felger >> “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”……..HEY FELGER, here’s a newsflash for ya, your report card is USELESS to begin with…..like I said, these guys are self-important morons, he really thinks his “report card” carries alot of weight.

  • Eric

    Thanks for linking to King Kaufman. Consistently one of the better reads out there.

  • Big Fat O

    Felgers biggest problem is he doesn’t take injuries too seriously. All last year he was on Seymour for not being his old self when it was obvious he wasn’t healthy, same with Dillon.

    Felger expects players to be play at their pre-injury level when they are only at 75% but want to help the team. If Seymour or Dillon were 100% and sucked then he has a point but most of the time he’s trying to be the “contraian” and it bites him in the ass.