by Scott Benson

After a no-pads walk-through on Friday, Bill Belichick and his coaching staff released their captives, otherwise known as the New England Patriots, for a 48 hour respite from the rigors of training camp.

The team will return for a 5:00 pm practice on Sunday evening. At least, that was the story they were giving as they raced to their cars on Friday. Don’t you think electronic bracelets or computer chips would have been a good idea, though?

I’ve never participated in a pro football training camp (I know, shocker) but I’d venture a guess that it probably sucks. I’m factoring in the whole oppressive heat/yelling coaches/violent collision thing here. Even 200 miles away, I’m already driven to distraction, and all I’m doing is typing on a laptop about four feet from an air conditioner.

Well, let’s hope for the best.

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels spoke to the media yesterday, and naturally, this caused a few to reflect on how infrequently offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (or any Patriots coach besides Belichick) speaks to the media. After reading though the 31 year old’s innocuous and completely predictable comments this morning (he has a good relationship with his quarterback, he’s excited about the new receivers, yada, yada), I wonder why anybody would care. Nick Cafardo will be happy to know that as soon as Josh wrapped up his session with the media yesterday, he immediately became the hottest young coaching commodity in the universe. Half the teams in the league strongly considered firing their own guy on the spot, just for the chance to woo McDaniels. He was THAT spellbinding.

Junior Seau also chatted up reporters. Junior reminded everybody that he was on a plane back to San Diego within minutes of breaking his arm against the Bears last season. Seau claims he was soaring off into the distance, heartbroken, even while the game carried on below. Wait. How do you even get a ticket that fast, much less get your broken arm set, your clothes changed (with a freshly broken arm, I might add), and yourself and your possessions to the airport? Is this like a fish story? “Yeah, I looked down, saw my arm was broken, so I ran to my waiting helicopter, which brought me to the Concorde. I was in Tokyo before the injury time out was up.” Junior’s like Phil Collins at Live Aid.

Median Age Watch: the Pats had 35 year old punter Mitch Berger in for a workout yesterday. Do I take this to mean the three punters they already have are lacking? Or is it contingency planning? My favorite new theory this morning is that Danny Baugher is winning the punting competition and the Patriots are assembling a list of veterans that could replace him later on if he freaks out and starts punting them backwards. Now that I’ve Thrown That Out There, I’m going to be watching that rumors page in hopes they pick it up. They seem to be attracted to ridiculous speculation.

A couple of youngsters get a little boost in the morning papers today, giving some hope that the Patriots will have at least few players in the locker room who don’t get AARP The Magazine. Is Oscar Lua going to make the club? Eric Alexander can’t practice, so Lua is getting first and second team reps in camp, where he seems to be holding his own. Coming out of camp with a semi-promising young linebacker would be a win for the Pats, and they have both Lua and second year outside man Pierre Woods earning first week plaudits.

Brandon Meriweather is the subject of our feature link of the day, a story written by Albert Breer of the Herald. Breer has Wes Welker praising the rookie for his work as a slot corner thus far. I especially liked Welker saying, “He’s a ballplayer, he’s got a real good nose for the football.” Giddyup!

For more links, its the mighty, mighty PatriotsLinks machine. By the way, first Sunday Links of the season is due up tomorrow.

Proving that sometimes things work out exactly as they should, the brilliant Stanley Morgan was elected by fans to the Patriots Hall of Fame yesterday. I’m not sure how big a deal ‘the Patriots Hall of Fame’ really is, though I suspect that it will get a whole lot bigger when the current group matriculates into retirement. It is indeed fitting, then, that the great Morgan (the most explosive player in Patriots history) will be waiting for them when they arrive.

Go ahead. Pat yourself on the back for casting all those votes for Stanley. Drop a comment here.