Bodden-less Patriots To Face The Ocho Show

FOXBORO -- After putting Leigh Bodden -- arguably the Patriots' best defensive back -- on I/R, New England's secondary is looking to right the ship. The team has one final tuneup to put their preseason struggles behind them before the regular season opener against Cincinnati. Chad Ochcinco has already begun his celebration plans.

Patriots DB Leigh Bodden had been battling a nagging knee injury during training camp that kept him out of the first two preseason games. Last Thursday Bodden returned to the lineup against the St. Louis Rams, playing through the majority of the game. He left with an injury which would later claim the rest of his season. Tuesday the team placed the veteran on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

During the week leading up to the Rams game, Bodden claimed the knee injury, which had sidelined him since August 5th, felt better. He also felt that his absence from live action seemed like eternity.

"It feels like months," Bodden told the Telegram. "It's always good to come out here and see how it feels and see where I left off at. It felt pretty good."

Last Thursday, Bodden was just one of the team's secondary who was victimized by Rams rookie QB Sam Bradford. Bradford appeared to connect at will to his targets, finishing by completing 15 of 22 passes for 189 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs and a sack. Bradford's quarterback rating of 125 in less than one half of play was impressive.

As one would expect, Bodden wasn't pleased with the results. The veteran DB who signed a four-year, $22 million deal during the offseason to remain in New England blamed the miscues which kept giving St. Louis new chances. "We had penalties that kept their drives going," Bodden said after the game.

But the savvy veteran knows that games like these are exactly why the preseason exists.

It's always a good thing to have this during the preseason so you can fix things and hopefully not get carried over into the regular season," Bodden told reporters immediately after the loss. "That's what today is for, and tomorrow we will get better."

Instead of Bodden rehabbing from just a knee injury and working to get better on the field, the veteran defender will now be trying to return from both a knee injury and a torn rotator cuff. Unfortunately for the Patriots, that return will not come until 2011 after the team placed their top defensive back on injured reserve Tuesday as part of their moved to comply with the league's 75-man roster limit.

Bodden didn't let the news of his season end get him down as he shared thanks for the kind words to his supporters on Twitter.

‘Overwhelmed with the love from every1!' Bodden wrote via twitter after the news broke. " Y'all kno imma bounce back.. I've been hitting bumps my whole career...& always seem to get past'm"

New England's opponent in Week One is the Cincinnati Bengals. Upon hearing the news that Bodden was done for the year,

Bengals wideout Chad Ochocinco had some kind words for the Patriots defender.

"bruh you in my prayers on a speedy recovery, you give me hell when we play and i was looking forward to next weeks game #1luv," he tweeted. Ochocinco went on to say "bruh that shh was gonna be #EPIC man, i said it before and i will say it again you give a [explicative] hell, get healthy"



Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson (85) fends off Cleveland Browns defensive back Leigh Bodden on a 16-yard pass reception in the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 16, 2007, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

When Bodden was with the Browns in Cleveland, Ochocinco (going by his given name Chad Johnson at the time) called Bodden one of the best defenders he had ever faced. Playing for division opponents, Bodden (Browns) and Johnson (Bengals) faced off twice a year providing plenty of opportunities for the two to lineup across from each other.

With Bodden out of the lineup now, it falls on second year pro Dariius Butler and rookie Devin McCourty to slow down Ochocinco and his counterpart in crime, Terrell Owens. Ochcinco had some words for Butler as well.

"big bruh you from the #305 so i already know how you get down on the field, lets have fun and give folks they moneys worth." Ochcinco wrote to Butler.

Then Ochcinco shared some fighting words for the Patriots secondary.

"#promisetweet I f i am able to score week 1 in New England i will be taking the minute men rifle and firing as they do when the PATS score"

Considering the way Sam Bradford was able to shred the Patriots' secondary in week three, the team must find a way to fix the problem in their final week of the preseason, or Ochcinco's promise may come true.

It's doubtful any minuteman will let Ochocinco anywhere near their rifle. Prop or not, expect Ochocinco to give the Patriots faithful fits. Without Bodden in the mix to slow him down, No. 85 could have plenty of opportunities to strut his stuff.


Jon Scott has covered the NFL the past ten seasons. A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Jon's articles have appeared on the pages of The OBR Magazine, Warpaint Illustrated, TFY Draft Preview, Scout.com and FoxSports.com's Fantasy Guides. He has also covered the league for TheInsiders, Scout.com, CSNNE.com and FOXSports.com You can follow Jon via twitter @JScottNFL.


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