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JANUARY 19, 2009 8:31AM

Pats Bid Water Boy Adieu, Put Franchise Tag on Ball Boy

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FOXBORO, Mass.  The New England Patriots announced today that water boy Jeffrey Pader has signed with the Minnesota Vikings for next year, the fourth member of the team’s front office or on-field staff to depart since the end of the season.

“We should have room under the salary cap for a new water boy, assuming we get the nickel deposit back on all our bottles.”

“Jimmy–I mean Jeffy–did a great job for us, always coming up with just the right mix of Gatorade and Aquafina,” said head coach Bill Belichick to reporters by conference call.  “On any successful football franchise people are going to move on, and we wish him well.”

Tools of the trade

The Pats have lost Josh McDaniels, Scott Pioli, Brad Seely, Dom Capers and the keys to the weight room since ending the season at 11-5, and concern about a ”brain drain” on the team persuaded Belichick to place the “franchise” tag on ball boy Peter Gardik, a twelve year-old who attends Edward G. “Buddy” LeRoux Middle School in Swansea, Mass.  The designation will allow the Pats’ to retain Gardik for an amount no less than the average of the top five ball boy salaries, or 120 percent of his sister’s baby-sitting earnings, whichever is greater.

E.G. “Buddy” LeRoux

“I think you’re going to see a lot of teams using the franchise tag on their ball boys after the season Larry Fitzgerald has had,” said Herm Losier of Pro Football Today, referring to the Arizona Cardinals’ All-Pro wide receiver, a former Vikings ball boy.  “Water boys are a dime a dozen, or $5.95 for the six-pack of Gatorade Orange.”

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