FOXBORO, Mass. -- The New England Patriots announced that veteran wide receiver Reche Caldwell was…
Herron Recaps Wild Weeks
Herron spent the entire offseason with the Vikings after being signed as a rookie free agent following the draft. When the Vikings released him in the final roster cutdown to 53 players, he figured to come back on the team's practice squad.
But then a chain of event conspired to work against that happening.
The Vikings' final cuts left them with only two pure tight ends on the their roster – Visanthe Shiancoe and Jim Kleinsasser – and they had an opportunity to add a 2006 fourth-round draft pick to their stable when the New England Patriots released Garrett Mills.
Mills was being targeted to come back to New England's practice squad, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick even talked with Vikings coach Brad Childress about not putting in a waiver claim on Mills so Belichick could bring the tight end back on the Patriots' practice squad. Belichick even suggested that he'd sign one of the Vikings' waived rookies if Minnesota signed Mills. Childress went ahead and signed Mills, and Belichick held true to his word and signed Herron.
"I didn't know anything about that (coaching conversation)," Herron said. "I had heard something, but I just totally ignored it because I didn't think I had much to do with it – I probably did, but I just ignored it. I went along and just tried to clear the road for whichever team needed me to."
At the time, he thought that would be Patriots, who signed him to their active roster before he could clear waivers, thus eliminating the Vikings' chances to re-sign him to their practice squad.
"They had a little different scheme. They ran the 3-4 – three down linemen and four linebackers – and they wanted me to learn three spots. The first week was kind of rough," Herron said.
But there was one benefit at least. Besides playing for one of the more successful head coaches in the last decade – if only practicing on his team for a week – Herron got a nice bump in salary.
As a practice squad player, Herron receives $4,700 per week. The minimum rookie salary for an active-roster player is 285,000 00 – or $16,764 per paycheck over the 17-week NFL season.
"That's the good thing. It's a big difference. It puts a little more money in your pockets – that's an active roster check so that's a little bit better than a practice squad check," Herron said.
Herron said the Patriots didn't drill him for information on the Vikings, but many of the players asked about practices and the routines in Minnesota vs. New England.
"Similar," he said. "Both teams want to win. They take a business-type approach toward practices and while you're in the film room, it's all about business. Get that win on Sundays."
But Herron also had to put up with a short amount of the spotlight the Patriots were receiving because of accusations that they were filming the New York Jets' defensive signals during Sunday's game, which is prohibited by league rules. On Thursday, the league fined Belichick the maximum $500,000, the got a $250,000 fine and either a first-round draft pick or a second- and third-round pick will be stripped from the Patriots.
"I had no idea what was going on. … I didn't even know they had somebody to do stuff like that (film)," Herron said.
All in all, he said it's good to be back with the team and teammates he spent the offseason with, and he's looking forward to settling in after a very strange week, even by NFL rookie standards.
"It's been a pretty wild week mentally. I wouldn't say too much physically. I'm happy to be back here and happy to get settled in," he said. "It's probably tough for a rookie to take all that in in a week or two."
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