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#15 Tommy Devito IN THE NEWS

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Dec 13, 2023 at 09:02 AM

Michael Eisen Senior Writer/Editor


New England Patriots’ Jonathan Jones Gives an Inside Look Into His Super Bowl Week Rituals

New England Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones already has one Super Bowl ring. When he takes the field in Super Bowl LIII, his focus will be on bringing home a second.

But keeping his focus laser-sharp during this jam-packed week has been a challenge for the Carrollton, Georgia, native who is enjoying being back home near friends and family, including his adorable 3-year-old daughter, Skylar.

“Just seeing her face and seeing her joy of getting to experience this with me truly makes it more special,” says Jones, 25. “It is an amazing experience.”

NFL agent Sean Stellato, who reps Jones and several of his teammates, says Jones is a major source of pride for his mom, dad and entire family. “Jonathan is a first class guy on and off the field. He has been an underdog his whole life and is a special young man, who walks in humility.”

In this exclusive interview with, Jones talks about Super Bowl Week with his family, advice and community support that helped him get to the NFL and his favorite game day snack.

Are there special events you can take your daughter and your parents to?

Oh, yes. There are so many things right in the downtown area; the NFL experience, the aquarium and the children’s museum. It’s a great city for hosting this because there is so much for the kids and adults to do; it’s been a great week for all of us.

What is your daughter saying about all of this?

She is excited. She is beginning to understand more. Any time she sees anything involving the Patriots she just gets super excited.

This is your third Super Bowl, does that feel surreal?

It’s really a blessing. You know; there are guys who play so long and never get a chance to experience one. So, to be able to experience three, three years in a row has been such a major blessing.

Is there anyone special who gave you the confidence to succeed in football and in life? Someone who reassured that you could do this no matter what you got hit with in life?

I would attribute that to a combination of a lot of things. It certainly started with my parents and the community. I had a lot of people who supported me and gave me good advice.

What kind of advice did you get?

Just to stay focused. People kept pointing me in the right direction so I didn’t end up being a statistic and unsuccessful. They told me, “look out for yourself and make sure that you’re doing the things you need to do.”


How do you prepare physically, mentally and emotionally for the Big Game?

For this game in particular. You just treat it like any other game. It’s about trying to stick to my normal routine, obviously there are other distractions throughout the week, since it is the Big Game, but you have to maintain and stay focused and definitely try to stick to your same routine and don’t get too high or too low, just keep it an even keel.

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Obi Melifonwu: 'It feels like a blessing' to join Patriots

The Patriots need some help covering tight ends, and they might have found a solution. Obi Melifonwu is joining the team’s safeties club with Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung and Duron Harmon.

The former UConn product and Grafton native, reached Monday, couldn’t be more thrilled to be a Patriot.


“It feels like a blessing, honestly. I’m just glad to be back home with my friends and family. It’s a team that I’ve grown up watching,” said Melifonwu, the former second-round pick of the Raiders. “They’re such a great organization. I’m just so proud to be a part of it.”

Melifonwu, who agreed to terms on a contract with the Patriots, according to his agent, Sean Stellato, could be a potential answer to coverage issues they’ve been having with tight ends. The 6-foot-3, 224-pounder is a freakish athlete.

Melifonwu played in just five games with the Raiders. Injuries severely hampered him during his time in Oakland. He had knee and hip problems. He was waived off injured reserve earlier this year, making him a free agent. He had visits with a couple of other teams, the Cowboys being one, but in his heart, “being a Patriot was the best thing for me.”

The former UConn star indicated he was healthy now, and could jump right into practice, and play this weekend against the Titans if needed.

 “It won’t be my decision whether or not I play right away,” he said. “I just know the Patriots will have my best interests at heart. I’m definitely going to be ready for the opportunity, but I know for me, I need to make sure I get accustomed to the playbook and the organization and the way they run things.”

Melifonwu said he could see himself in a lot of different roles, but did feel marking tight ends could be in his future, along with playing special teams.

 “I think now in the NFL, there’s a lot of tight ends that are more athletic, bigger, stronger, faster,” he said. “One of the key roles is covering tight ends, and being matchup for them, and helping the team that way.”

 Melifonwu was at the Patriots-Packers game Sunday night. He enjoyed that along with the pregame celebration honoring the world champion Red Sox.

 “The performance the Sox had against the Dodgers was unbelievable. Being from Massachusetts, how great New England sports are, it’s incredible,” said Melifonwu, “So being at Gillette (Sunday night) was extremely special to me. I’ve lived in Massachusetts my whole life, really. The Patriots have been my favorite team since I started watching football. I’ve always wanted to go to a game but never had the opportunity . . . to watch a game before I got to play there, especially seeing Rodgers vs. Brady, 12 vs. 12, that was incredibly special.”

 Stellato was thrilled to help make it happen for Melifonwu in New England:  “I think he has unique traits that can help them win. No one does a better job than the Patriots in this business of identifying those type of guys. I think it’s going to be a great fit for everybody.”

Source: Boston Globe

Stellato Sports client Obi Melifonwu signs with hometown Patriots

The Raiders had high hopes for 2017 second-round pick Obi Melifonwu, but the safety was hurt much of his time in Oakland and was released off injured reserve on Oct. 23.

Now, the Connecticut product is headed back to the Northeast, as he will sign a contract with the New England Patriots, agent Sean Stellato confirmed to NBC Sports California.

News of the deal was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The 24-year-old dealt with a hamstring injury during training camp last summer and when he returned, he got hurt again. Arthroscopic knee surgery landed him on IR at the end of the preseason. Once the Raiders designated him to return, he appeared in five games before hip surgery put an end to his rookie season. He finished with just six total tackles.

This year, with Jon Gruden in charge, Melifonwu was cleared for the offseason program, but he last practiced on Aug. 6 and was waived on Aug. 23.

The Raiders selected Melifonwu with the No. 56 overall pick last year.


When you’re in the National Football League, there’s no offseason. Once the season ends, players swiftly get back to work in the weight room to prepare for organized team activities, mandatory minicamp and the preseason. Keeping a busy schedule year round is a norm for those chasing the Lombardi Trophy.

New England Patriots outside linebacker Marquis Flowers knows what it’s like to maintain a busy agenda throughout the offseason. Driven by the Patriots 41-33 loss in Super Bowl 52 to the Philadelphia Eagles and hungry to build on his current role in New England, Flowers has dedicated himself to improving his craft since the season closed in February.

“At the end of the day you have to let it go,” Flowers said of the Super Bowl loss. “At the same time it gives you motivation. You got to the top but came up short. We play this game to be world champions. Me personally, I play parts of the game over in my head every time I work out. Every team is motivated. We’re back at the bottom and we have to climb all the way back up.”

Flowers, a Phoenix, Arizona native, was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The University of Arizona product spent three seasons with the Bengals, missing the entire 2015 campaign with an injury, before arriving in New England via trade in 2017.

Flowers saw an elevated role in New England’s defense due in part to injuries to fellow linebackers Dont’a Hightower, Shea McClellin and Kyle Van Noy. Flowers finished the regular season with 32 tackles, 3.5 sacks and one forced fumble. He tallied six tackles and one sack in three postseason games.

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Raiders make Stellato Sports client Andrew DePaola highest paid long snapper in NFL

Last month, the Raiders informed 11-year veteran long snapper Jon Condo that his career playing in Silver and Black had come to an end. The Raiders got ahead of it by signing Andrew East and Bradley Northnagel to compete for the job.

They will now have even more competition as the team officially signed former Bears’ long snapper Andrew DePaola on Friday to a four-year contact worth $4.27 million including $875 thousand guaranteed. The deal makes DePaola the highest paid long snapper in the league according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

DePaola ranked seventh in snap accuracy (97.7%) among 33 NFL long snappers that were graded by Pro Football Focus. For comparison, Condo in 2017 was ranked 28th (91.7%).

The four-year veteran spent his first three seasons in the league with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and then moved to the Windy City in 2017. But before he had a chance to play in the NFL, DePaola was just a man with a dream who spent four years working at Best Buy to make ends meet. Now, he can call himself the highest paid long snapper in football.

As the highest paid player at his position in the league, it is DaPaola’s job to lose. But he will still have to compete with East and Northnagel for a spot on the team. Having an effective long snapper is like having a kicker, you don’t realize how valuable they are until you need them the most. Certainly seems Jon Gruden and his staff recognize this and want to make sure they have a good one no matter the price.


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