PHOTO: Linebacker Mike Maslowski #57 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on during an NFL preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks on August 23, 2003 at Seahawks Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Chiefs 42-31. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Patriots: Weekend News, Notes and Rumors
Patriots Insider Staff
The Patriots' in-flux secondary took another hit Wednesday as veteran cornerback Chad Scott (shoulder) was placed on season-ending injured reserve, joining strong safety Rodney Harrison. To fill Scott's spot, the team signed free-agent safety Arturo Freeman, a sixth-year pro. Freeman spent his first five seasons with the Dolphins before being released in February. He was with the Packers and Titans in training camp but did not hook on with either team.
Through five games, Scott and fellow free-agent cornerback Duane Starks hadn't provided the boost for the secondary that the Patriots were hoping for when they signed them in the offseason. Scott, who started 88 games for the Steelers from 1997-2004, was inactive for two games with the Patriots and made just two tackles. In his return to Pittsburgh in Week 3, he drew a fourth-down pass interference penalty at the Patriots' 4, setting up the Steelers' tying touchdown with 1:21 left in regulation.
The Patriots are now down to five cornerbacks. Two of them -- Tyrone Poole and Randall Gay -- have missed significant time with ankle injuries. The others are starter Asante Samuel, rookie Ellis Hobbs and Starks, who has been battling a thigh injury.
--The Patriots re-signed LB Wesly Mallard. Mallard, a former special teams standout for the Giants, signed as a free agent in the offseason. He was released on Sept. 27.
--The Patriots re-signed LB Eric Alexander to the practice squad.
--CB Duane Starks (thigh) was not on the field Wednesday during the first 30 minutes of practice that the media was allowed to watch. He was listed as probable on the injury report.
--QB Tom Brady was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Falcons. Brady completed 22 of 27 passes for 350 yards and three touchdowns. It was the seventh time Brady has won the award, and the first time since Week 17 of 2003.
--S Arturo Freeman, who signed with the Patriots on Wednesday, participated in his first two practices. Coach Bill Belichick said he would wait until the end of the week to decide whether Freeman would be active for Sunday's game in Denver.
--LB Monty Beisel (finger) was added to the injury report on Thursday. He is listed as questionable. Beisel is tied for second on the team in tackles with 33.
--WR Troy Brown was not on the field on Wednesday or Thursday during the time that the media was allowed to view practice. Brown, third on the team in catches (16) and yards (208), was listed as probable with a foot injury.
--DE Richard Seymour is "a lot better than he was last week," according to coach Bill Belichick. Seymour, who sat out last week's game in Atlanta with a knee injury, was not on the field on Wednesday or Thursday during the time that the media was allowed to view practice. He was listed as probable.
--RB Corey Dillon was not on the field on Wednesday or Thursday during the time that the media was allowed to view practice. Dillon suffered an ankle injury late in last week's game and missed the winning drive in the fourth quarter. Dillon posted his first 100-yard game of the season last week against Atlanta, but he sat out the winning drive. He was listed as probable on the injury report, as were 14 of his teammates.
--LB Willie McGinest was not on the field on Wednesday or Thursday during the time that the media was allowed to view practice. He reportedly broke a bone in his hand last week. He was listed as probable.
--CBs Tyrone Poole and Randall Gay each participated in practice Wednesday and Thursday, although they sat out at least a portion of both sessions. Both players have missed time with ankle injuries, although they are listed as probable.
Again with the rumors. Some media outlets have been scouring the waiver wire and free agent list to prognosticate which players their respective teams may be interested in. Last week it was Andre Davis for the Patriots and the Packers among others. This week it's a number of other players. The trade deadline and the PUP list expiration looms, so if there's going to be any action, it's going to happen soon.
-- LB Mike Maslowski is interested in returning to the Kansas City Chiefs. As a member of the Chiefs, Maslowski was the team's middle linebacker presence until a knee injury sidelined him. His preference, according to his agent, is to return to Kansas City. He was scheduled to have a tryout with the team this week.
Maslowski drew interest from the New England Patriots a couple years ago. The Patriots actually signed Maslowski to an offer sheet, which Kansas City matched. Should the Chiefs decide not to sign Maslowski, he has a tryout scheduled with the Super Bowl champs.
The Patriots have not been pleased with their inability to contain the run. Having one of the better defenses against the run last year (6th overall), New England has seen a significant drop off in 2005 (20th overall). Newcomers Chad Brown and Monty Beisel have both underachieved, although head coach Bill Belichick notes that both are improving.
Sources tell PI that The Patriots are interested in upgrading their interior rush defense, and a healthy Maslowski would do that over their other options. According to those familiar with Maslowski from his time in Kansas City, the linebacker would start ahead of Beisel all things being equal. The latest on Maslowski is that he's still a ways away from returning to the field at 100%, but he's getting closer every day.
-- LB Tedy Bruschi, yes that Tedy, has been the subject of speculation the entire season as he recovers from a mild stroke he suffered in February. Bruschi is currently on the Patriots Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. This designation allows Bruschi to remain with the team, get paid, workout, but not practice or count as one of the 53-man roster limit. Bruschi has declined comment when asked about a possible return to the field in 2005. Prior to the season Bruschi issued a statement that indicated he intended to sit out the 2005 season for health reasons. Intended is not the same as actually sitting out. Reports continue to surface that Bruschi will indeed return to the field this season.
One of the benefits of being on the PUP list is that Bruschi can be paid according to the collective bargaining agreement. After redoing his own deal for less money when he was scheduled to become a free agent, Bruschi gave up a lot of upfront money. The team felt compelled to make right on the situation, and allowing Bruschi to remain on the PUP list is one way to pay him without getting in hot water over league rules.
The other benefit of being on the PUP list is that Bruschi can return to action this season. He must wait until after week six, but has to return within three weeks after he begins practicing. After that time, a roster move must be made to put him on the active roster, the injured reserve (I/R) list or release him. The Patriots obviously wouldn't release one of their team leaders, but putting him on I/R will end his season, and his paycheck. Putting him on the active roster requires the team to release one of their current players. The Patriots would want to be sure Bruschi could play before they make that decision.
Bruschi wants to return according to sources familiar with the situation. The team, however, is not so keen on his return unless he's completely cleared by the medical staff. Bruschi has received clearance by his own physician to return to the football field, but the organization has it's own set of experts it wants him to be approved by.
Should Bruschi be cleared to play, there's still a legal web of liability issues that both he and the team must content with. The insurance and legal staff will be sure to put extra protection into the paperwork for Bruschi, and that might be a bigger hurdle to his return than his physical limitations.
A Bruschi return at this point seems to be more than possible. Imagine what the home town fans will think if it turns out that Tedy is able to return in time for the Indianapolis Colts game, a Monday Night matchup at Gillette Stadium.
-- WR Andre Davis, former Cleveland Brown and New England Patriot will not be returning to New England says one source familiar with Davis' situation. Apparently the Patriots have confidence in speedy wideout Bethel Johnson and the rest of their receiving corp. that they won't be pursuing the talented Davis. There are too many other positions that need attention was the general feeling. According to Davis' agent, close to a dozen teams have expressed an interest in the receiver, although no specifics of which teams they might be are available.
The Patriots could still use a healthy Davis, one of the reasons they traded for him initially. He brings a bigger physical presence to a diminutive receiving corp. which includes 5-9 Deion Branch, 5-9 Troy Brown and 5-9 Tim Dwight. Fade routes and leaping for the ball over smaller DBs are trademark skills Davis could add to the team should they decide it is in their best interests to follow up with the former Virginia Tech product. There appears to be enough healthy bodies on offense to catch Tom Brady's passes, including the newly discovered tight end group. So look for the Patriots to go with more defensive players than another receiver at this time.
-- WR David Terrell, another larger talented receiver the Patriots had on their roster, continues to stay on the sidelines in Denver. Although Terrell is progressing his understanding of Mike Shanahan's offense, he has yet to see any action. It's unlikely to change this week against New England, meaning Tom Brady won't have to worry about his former Michigan teammate stealing the limelight. The Broncos appear set with Rod Smith, Ashley Lelie and Charlie Adams for now.
Patriots Insider Jon Scott contributed to this report.
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