When the Patriots open the season Sept. 9 against the New York Jets, they will do so without their all-time leader in receptions, Troy Brown.
The Patriots placed the veteran receiver, who has not practiced after undergoing offseason knee surgery, on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list for the start of the season.
That means Brown, who signed a one-year deal last month to return for a 15th season, will have to sit out the first six weeks of the regular season before he can begin practicing with the team. Brown, who has 557 career catches, was joined on the reserve/PUP list by receiver Chad Jackson, who tore his ACL in the AFC Championship game, and cornerback Eddie Jackson, who tore an ACL last year while with the Miami Dolphins.
The moves were made as the Patriots adjusted their roster to be in line with the league's 75-man limit -- actually 76 for the Patriots, who had an exemption for Asante Samuel's spot -- which took effect yesterday at 4 p.m. All teams must be down to 53 players by Saturday.
The trio was part of a group of five players who had been on active PUP since the start of training camp. The other members of that group are defensive end Richard Seymour (knee) and tight end David Thomas, who is recovering from a broken foot. Neither player has practiced yet, but the Patriots must retain hope that they can start the season.
Chad Jackson, who had an injury-plagued rookie season and missed four games, said last week he was feeling "pretty good" but was prepared to start the season on the PUP list.
"Yeah, I'm prepared for anything right now," he said. "Whatever happens happens. Everything happens for a reason, so I'm willing to take that."
He added, "I would love to be out there. Who wouldn't? All I'm doing right now is staying in the playbook and watching film, and it's frustrating just watching them, but that's all I can do right now."
Putting Brown and Jackson on PUP still leaves the Patriots with 10 wide receivers.
Richardson on IR
To get down to the roster limit the Patriots released offensive lineman Chris Patrick
and placed rookie cornerback Mike Richardson
on injured reserve, ending his season.
Richardson had his left arm in a sling and a wrap on his thumb following the Patriots' 24-7 victory over the Panthers last Friday. The sixth-round pick out of Notre Dame had been one of the pleasant surprises of camp, pushing Brandon Meriweather for playing time as the slot corner in the team's nickel and dime packages.
Richardson got the nod in that role against Carolina and broke up a third-down pass intended for Pro Bowler Steve Smith. He was also victimized on a 48-yard touchdown reception.
Putting it together
Tight end Kyle Brady
hadn't taken part in back-to-back full-pads practice since the first two days of camp, but he turned the double play the last two days. Brady's work had been limited by an undisclosed injury, and he missed all three preseason games. Yet prior to yesterday's practice, he felt he had turned a corner. "I feel real good," said the 6-foot-6-inch, 280-pound Brady, a 13-year veteran. "That was one of the things, to see how it responded to a good hard day of work, and it responded fine. So we'll continue to move forward." Brady doesn't feel he's fallen too far behind on the work he put in during the team's offseason program. "It was just a matter of missing some of the physical repetitions," he said, "but the key there is just to stay involved, stay attentive mentally, on top of what's going on and what's being put in. And when you get back in there, acclimating yourself to the physical strain."
Who goes there?
Coach Bill Belichick
offered some insight into the subterfuge that sometimes goes into setting an NFL roster. He said that trying to figure out which players you can stash on the practice squad who won't get put on the roster of another team is a "guesstimate." He also said there are players that are cut that other teams have expressed interest in via trade, and then when they're cut, they're not picked up at all. "It's a very inexact science," he said. "I think, in the end, you have to do what's best for your football team. Now sometimes there's a little strategy involved in personnel moves, kind of like there is in the draft. Sometimes you can maneuver a little bit if you want to do a little bit of a draft strategy on who might be available, who might slide, who might not, that type of thing. I think there's a little bit of that, but I think in the end, the best decision is to make decisions that we feel are best for our football team."
It's 27 days and counting since Randy Moss
practiced. The explosive wide receiver sat out again with a left hamstring injury. Belichick had said on the radio Monday that Moss was close. When asked yesterday what that means -- close to practicing or close to being ready for Week 1 -- Belichick said Moss is "day to day" . . . Starting safeties Rodney Harrison
and Eugene Wilson
were absent from the media portion of practice. It marked the second straight day for Wilson. Also absent were safety Rashad Baker
, offensive lineman Russ Hochstein
, and defensive linemen Kareem Brown
and Mike Wright
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