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Running game still has holes

Belichick not sure help is available

FOXBOROUGH -- Enhancing the running back position between now and the start of the season appears to be a final piece of roster business for the Patriots, but coach Bill Belichick doesn't seem to think there will be much out there on the waiver wire.

One back to keep an eye on is Carolina's Lamar Smith, who may be cut. Cut yesterday was former Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam, a former No. 1 pick of the Chicago Bears. Salaam was in the 49ers camp but hasn't played in the NFL since 1999 (though he played in the defunct XFL in 2001).

A former Patriot, Walt Williams, was among 12 cuts made by the Saints yesterday.

Antwoine Womack's agents are exploring the possibility of an injury settlement from the Patriots after the Virginia running back was released Sunday. J.R. Redmond, also cut Sunday, is looking for a new employer. But one running back who seems to be staying put is former Boston College star Mike Cloud, who is coming off calf surgery but was walking pretty well in the locker room. Cloud also must serve a four-game suspension for testing positive for a banned supplement while with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Belichick said yesterday the team would likely keep Cloud on the 53-man roster, then put him on a suspended list to serve his penalty. Currently, Cloud is allowed to have treatment at the Patriots facility, but once his suspension starts, he will have to seek treatment elsewhere.

As for Womack, the settlement he's seeking does not pertain to the major ACL injury he incurred in a college all-star game but to the groin strain he battled throughout training camp.

Loss of a friend During the Red Sox-Yankees series at Fenway Park in late July, former Red Sox broadcaster Ken Coleman bumped into this reporter and said he'd been meaning to contact Belichick about coming to Foxborough to watch the team practice. Coleman was a former Cleveland Browns broadcaster, and his son, Casey, was the Browns' broadcaster during Belichick's years in Cleveland. "Bill was always very kind to my son Casey," Coleman said that night. "We got to know Bill and he was a good friend. He went through a lot in Cleveland, but he had many friends and there's no doubt our family was among them. Bill was always very misunderstood, but he has a heart of gold." Coleman, 78, never made it to Foxborough before his death late last week. Belichick altered his schedule to attend Coleman's funeral yesterday in Plymouth.

Keen on Kliff Rookie quarterback Kliff Kingsbury missed Friday's Philadelphia game with a sore arm/shoulder, but it appears he impressed the coaches prior to the injury . . . Veteran safety Rodney Harrison, on the players "on the bubble" for the next round of cuts, which must be made by 4 p.m. today: "For some of the younger guys that are on the bubble, there's a lot of nervousness. But any time I get a chance to talk to guys, I just tell them to put their best foot forward and go out there and work hard. I tell them that even if you don't make it here, this is not the end of the line. I tell them to go out there and keep working hard and keep working towards their dream." . . . Yarde Metals of Bristol, Conn., which had six season tickets revoked by the Patriots after an employee was arrested for using a sink as a urinal early last season, filed an injunction in Suffolk Superior Court to have its tickets reinstated . . . The Patriots kickoff gala drew about 1,000 at the Fidelity Investments Clubhouse East at Gillette Stadium last night. An emotional Joe Andruzzi received the first Ron Burton Award for the player who does the most charitable work. Matt Light and Mike Vrabel served as auctioneers. Among the more interesting items -- a trip for two to the Super Bowl went for $11,000 and 15 minutes of playing catch with Tom Brady went for $34,000.

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