Camp Notes: Welbourne Signs, Norwell Released

FOXBORO -- Tackle John Welbourne joined the Patriots on Monday, adding yet another big bodied offensive lineman to the roster. The Patriots released rookie Chris Norwell to make room...

-- OL John Welbourne was signed by the Patriots Monday. Welbourne spent nine seasons in the NFL playing for the Philadelphia Eagles (1999-2003) and the Kansas City Chiefs (2004-07).

-- DE Chris Norwell was released by the team on Monday to make room on the roster for Welbourne. Norwell was a standout defender at Illinois. He joined the Patriots as an undrafted rookie free agent.

--T Nick Kaczur became the second of 12 Patriots that opened camp on PUP to be activated and hit the practice field July 27.

--T Pete McMahon signed with New England July 27. The first-year player out of Iowa has spent time with the Raiders (drafted in the sixth round, 2005), Browns (practice squad, 2005), Jets (training camp, 2006) and Jaguars (training camp, 2007). He's never played in an NFL game.

--SS Rodney Harrison was activated from the PUP list July 29 and wasted no time throwing his body around the practice field with some very physical work in his first couple days of action.

--C Ryan Wendell, a rookie free agent, was activated and participated in his first NFL training-camp practice July 31.

--CB Ellis Hobbs, WR Wes Welker and rookie LB Bo Ruud were activated off of PUP and practiced for the first time Saturday. The transaction left New England with five players on PUP as of Saturday.

--T Anthony Clement was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury Saturday. New England immediately filled the roster spot by signing Barry Stokes, another veteran offensive lineman who has spent time with six teams, most recently Detroit. Stokes has started 44 of his 83 career games played.

Pollard Gets It

Tight end Marcus Pollard has a unique perspective on the two guys generally considered the best quarterbacks in the game today. The 14-year veteran spent 10 seasons with the Colts, the bulk of which included catching passes from Peyton Manning.

Now, the first-year Patriot is catching training-camp reps from reigning NFL MVP Tom Brady. And while he's just getting to know the two-time Super Bowl MVP, he feels like he has a handle on why the two passers have had such impressive success.

"Both are very smart, intelligent quarterbacks. Very knowledgeable about the game. Both are serious competitors, hate losing at all costs. Tall. Strong arms. I don't know Tom very well yet, but they seem like they're just great guys to be around every day.

"I think they are just two great quarterbacks. I think they found a way to be successful. It came with a lot of hard work and they paid a lot of the prices where a lot of guys would leave early and these guys stay and watch film and do the extra. In my opinion, they are where they are now because of the work that they do, not necessarily because it was given to them."

Goal Line Battles

One of the more interesting practice drills during training camp is live, goal-line work pitting the first units on both sides of the ball against each other. New England closed practice with such a drill on Thursday and both Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan had solid, second-effort touchdown runs in the action.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick joked of the double-edged nature of the drill afterward, "We win and we lose."

It's Official

Three of New England's practices last week took place under the watchful eyes of three officials on hand to help the team navigate through the latest rules changes and points of emphasis in place for the 2008 season. While most of the alterations are minor, Bill Belichick still felt it was good to operate with stricter constraints than the normal training-camp setting provides.

"We have the officials here so we will have them officiate the different aspects of practice through (July 31) as we try to tighten up our techniques in pass coverage, offensive holding, offensive line, play alignments and stuff like that," Belichick said at the start of his press conference. "It will be good to work with them for the next couple of days."

Davis Mad At Jordan

There was an interesting item in the July 28 San Francisco Chronicle, citing two league sources, that indicated Al Davis was upset that RB LaMont Jordan signed with New England. The report claimed that Davis released Jordan under the provision that he not sign with the Patriots or Broncos.

"One thing I know about the media, a lot of times they have no idea what they're talking about," Jordan said. "I'm quite sure that if my release was contingent on that, it wouldn't have just been heard in the Bay Area. It would have been heard all over. Everybody wants to take a shot at the Patriots, so I'm quite sure the media would have taken a great opportunity. From my understanding, my release wasn't based on that. My release was based on the fact the Raiders no longer wanted me out there. I think that's what it comes down to."

Rodney Is The Unquestioned Leader

"I'm not bossing them around. That's Hot Rod. Can't nobody boss the leader around." -- Second-year safety Brandon Meriweather, when told that Rodney Harrison and other veterans have commented on the sophomore's more vocal, take-charge practice-field demeanor.

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