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PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK

Has Law turned corner?

Is Ty Law close to returning?

The Patriots' All-Pro cornerback, recovering from a broken right foot, was upgraded on the injury report yesterday to doubtful. More realistic is a return Dec. 26 against the Jets or Jan. 2 in the regular-season finale against the 49ers.

The Patriots got cornerback Tyrone Poole back in last Sunday's 35-28 win over the Bengals. Poole, who had knee surgery, appeared in only a handful of plays, but feels he can keep building toward full-time duty over the next couple of weeks. The Patriots have been giving up a lot of yards with their makeshift defensive backfield, which has required Troy Brown to be used often as a slot corner.

Also listed on the injury report as doubtful was safety Dexter Reid (shoulder). Cornerback Randall Gay (arm), cornerback Asante Samuel (shoulder), wide receiver David Givens (who was a late scratch last Sunday with an ankle injury), tight end Daniel Graham (ribs), linebacker Roman Phifer (calf), and linebacker Matt Chatham (hamstring) were questionable. Despite being nicked up, the Patriots haven't been working out any players this week.

Weis begins process
Charlie Weis has made his first move as Notre Dame's new head man, naming University of Virginia defensive coordinator Al Golden to fill that role with the Irish.

Golden, 35, was a major recruiter for Joe Paterno at Penn State and also served with Tom O'Brien as a linebackers coach at Boston College from 1997-99.

In addition, Weis is considering former Ole Miss coach David Cutcliffe, let go by the Rebels earlier this month after a 4-7 campaign, as offensive coordinator. An official announcement on any hirings is delayed pending the filling out of job applications and required drug tests.

Mark Blaudschun of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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