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Patriots notebook

Gaffney eyes a go-route

Jabar Gaffney was limited in practice by a shoulder injury, but still reached for this pass. Jabar Gaffney was limited in practice by a shoulder injury, but still reached for this pass. (Stephan Savoia/Associated Press)
Email|Print| Text size + By Christopher L. Gasper
Globe Staff / February 1, 2008

PHOENIX - For the second straight day, wide receiver Jabar Gaffney had limited participation in practice because of a shoulder injury.

Unlike Tom Brady's innocuous right shoulder injury, which has him on the injury report alongside his wide receiver, Gaffney's shoulder could be an issue. Gaffney, who hasn't missed a game this season, said he injured his shoulder during practice this week.

"I just kind of came down on it and banged it up a little bit, but I got treatment pretty much all day [Wednesday]," said Gaffney. "I woke up [yesterday] morning and got some too. Hopefully, I'll be ready to go."

Gaffney has made seven starts this season. He finished the regular season with 36 catches for 449 yards and five touchdowns, with four TDs coming in the last six games of the regular season.

During the postseason, Gaffney has four catches for 38 yards and a touchdown, which came in the Patriots' 21-12 AFC Championship game win over the Chargers.

Not sweating details

On Jan. 18, former NFL defensive lineman Dana Stubblefield pleaded guilty to making false statements to federal investigators in the BALCO steroid distribution investigation in 2003, a crime punishable by prison. Patriots special teams captain Larry Izzo also testified before the grand jury in the BALCO case in 2003 and said yesterday he was aware of Stubblefield's situation, but he didn't think there was any connection to him.

"It was a long time ago and it's in the past," Izzo said. "I testified and said what I needed to say so there's no reason to worry about it. I know what my situation is. I really don't want to get into the details of that; it's grand jury testimony and it's sealed. I went out there and told the truth. That's all I need to say about it. I really don't know what his situation was. I know what I said and obviously it's in the past. It's a closed book. I'm not worried about it."

Since his release from prison BALCO founder Victor Conte has opened a business called SNAC (Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning). Izzo said he has not spoken with Conte and does not have any relationship with him.

Warm-up act

According to the pool report, the Patriots had a "crisp" practice at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. Coach Bill Belichick had the team in pads a day after a less-than-stellar practice session. According to the pool report, Belichick was more pleased yesterday. "These guys care. They want to practice well," Belichick told pool reporter Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune. "When we make mistakes we've got to correct them. They want to get it right the next time." . . . Belichick was asked if he was offended by the recent accusations that the Patriots play a dirty brand of football. Both defensive end Richard Seymour and left tackle Matt Light have been targeted by opponents. "Everybody is entitled to their own opinion," said Belichick. "I've looked at our team play and we've moved on from all of those situations. I think our players work hard, they play hard, and I support the way they play the game. Not that we don't make mistakes along the way. Sometimes we do, and we've been penalized for them. That's part of football. I think our players play hard. They play clean and I support the way they play the game." . . . Linebacker Mike Vrabel took a good-natured shot a quarterback Tom Brady when apprised that a pair of Super Bowl tickets was going for $77,000 on eBay. Vrabel was asked if he'd pay that much to attend the game. He quipped, "I wouldn't pay that much to watch Tom and Gisele[Bundchen] play." . . . The Patriots, as has been their custom in previous Super Bowls under Belichick, left the team hotel in Scottsdale for new digs as the game nears.

Joe Sullivan of the Globe staff contributed to this report

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