FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Nick Caserio was throwing passes to Josh McDaniels at John Carroll University just a few years before both joined the staff of the Patriots first championship team.

From those Division III days, both got promotions this year — McDaniels to coach of the Denver Broncos and Caserio to the top of the personnel department of three-time Super Bowl champion New England.

But how much has Caserio’s role really changed since he moved up after Scott Pioli left to become general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs?

“I wouldn’t say that it’s changed all that much,” he said Thursday. “Maybe there’s a few more things that end up crossing my desk, but, in the end, I wouldn’t say there’s been a drastic change in terms of responsibilities.”

The Patriots hired Floyd Reese as senior football adviser and he deals with agents and contracts. Reese is entering his 33rd NFL season in player personnel or assistant coaching. Caserio is 33 years old.

“He’s kind of a Southern gentleman,” Caserio said. “He’s got a wealth of knowledge and it’s great for me to have somebody like Floyd there as a sounding board. Floyd’s a real easygoing guy. He’s a joy to be around, doesn’t seem like too much rattles him.”

The Patriots also lost offensive coordinator McDaniels, who was in Caserio’s wedding in June.

“Josh has been a great friend and I’ve learned quite a bit from Josh,” said Caserio, who beat out McDaniels for the John Carroll quarterback job in 1995, forcing McDaniels to wide receiver.

They played there through 1998 and joined the Patriots in 2001 – McDaniels as a personnel assistant and Caserio in the scouting department.

Caserio doesn’t have the same influence as Pioli, an architect of the Patriots three championships.

He’s even had time to work in training camp with wide receivers, a position he coached for the Patriots in 2007 before getting his current title in February 2008.

Coaching, he said, “is enjoyable, but, in the end, the whole goal, especially this time of the year, is try to get the players prepared to practice, make sure that they know what to do. So if I’m involved in that, great.”

He’s more involved with helping to evaluate and sign players.

One of the more immediate issues concerns Vince Wilfork, a Pro Bowl nose tackle after the 2007 season who wants an extension of his first pro contract, a six-year deal that ends after this season.

“We go back and forth with the agents. We have discussions internally and externally,” Caserio said. “We’re working every day. … Vince has been a good player for us in our system. He’s been productive. He’s had some success here. We want to have him around.”

Kennard McGuire, Wilfork’s agent, did not return a call seeking comment.

Wilfork has been at training camp since it began and said he won’t let his contract concerns affect his play. His 2009 salary is $800,000, but incentives could increase that to about $2.2 million.

Washington Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth signed a contract this year with $41 million in guaranteed money.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is close to signing a six-year contract extension with an average annual salary of $15.3 million, the highest in the NFL, even higher than Tom Brady’s.

“Whatever the Giants did with Eli, that’s their business,” Caserio said. “There’s a market out there (that’s been set for quarterbacks), but, in the end, we have to make the decisions that we feel are the best for us.”

He also said the Patriots have evaluated Michael Vick, among other players without NFL jobs. But when they wanted a backup quarterback this week, they signed former Oakland Raider Andrew Walter.

“We try to establish our … emergency list, street list” so the Patriots can be ready to sign players as circumstances change, Caserio said. “There’s a number of players that we evaluate here, not only Michael Vick, so I wouldn’t say that there’s anything that’s specific to him.”

He didn’t say if Vick was evaluated in person or is on the emergency list. Vick was conditionally reinstated last month by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after Vick completed a 23-month sentence for running a dogfighting ring.


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