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Patriots notebook

Brady's three-year streak on injury report comes to an end

By Christopher L. Gasper
Globe Staff / September 6, 2008
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FOXBOROUGH - Whether or not he has a broken bone in his right foot, Tom Brady's streak of consecutive games played is likely to stay intact tomorrow when the Patriots open their season against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium.

Brady, who has played in 127 straight regular-season and playoff games, the third-longest streak in league history, was not on the team's injury report yesterday, which listed wide receiver Sam Aiken (out, knee); tight end Benjamin Watson (doubtful, knee); offensive lineman Dan Connolly (questionable, knee); center/guard Russ Hochstein (questionable, groin); and defensive lineman Le Kevin Smith, who returned to practice but is questionable with a knee injury.

It is the first time Brady was not on the injury report since the 2005 season opener.

Brady's presence on the report - he has always been listed as probable because of a right shoulder he separated in 2002 - has become something of a joke. However, the mysterious right foot injury that kept him from participating in the four preseason games is no laughing matter. It was serious enough that Brady's father refuted Internet reports earlier in the week that claimed Brady had a cracked bone in his right foot. Brady's father did acknowledge his son wore a protective boot on his foot - for a day.

The NFL has altered the format for the injury report, in part because of the Patriots. On Wednesday and Thursday, teams are required to list injuries and whether a player did not participate in practice, had limited participation, or had full participation. On Friday, the designations switch to the traditional out, doubtful, questionable, and probable.

Brady was on the participation report Wednesday, listed with the foot and shoulder, and as having full participation in practice. He was removed Thursday.

Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said he's preparing his team as if Brady will be the starter.

"You know the thing about pro players - they find a way to answer the bell," said Edwards. "If he's OK to go, and if it's not going to be harmful to him, I'm pretty sure he's going to go."

The Captains' room

The Patriots announced their captains for the 2008 season. Wide receiver Randy Moss was among the eight players elected by his peers. The other offensive captains are Brady and left tackle Matt Light, who was selected for the first time.

On defense, nose tackle Vince Wilfork also earned the honor for the first time. He is joined by linebackers Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel and safety Rodney Harrison, who was not a captain last year. Linebacker Larry Izzo will serve as special teams captain for the eighth straight season. Both Bruschi and Brady have been captains every season since 2002.

No forecasts

With Tropical Storm Hanna expected to reach Massachusetts today, coach Bill Belichick wanted no part of forecasting the weather, saying he's made the mistake of informing his team about bad weather in the past, only to look foolish.

"I've kind of gotten out of that business," said Belichick. "We've been out here at practice. We've practiced in rain. We've practiced in wind. We've practiced on hot days, and we'll practice on cold days before the season is over. Then, whatever we get as it gets closer to game time, we'll talk about it."

The players seemed unconcerned about the potential for adverse conditions. "I've played in the rain before, too. Football is football," said running back LaMont Jordan. "The hardest thing about playing running back in the rain is you are a lot more conscious of holding on to the ball, not trying so much to make a big run. The most important thing is that football." . . . Former Patriots wide receiver Chad Jackson worked out and took a physical for the Miami Dolphins yesterday. Jackson has also visited with the Oakland Raiders and the Cincinnati Bengals . . . Kicker Stephen Gostkowski returned to practice and was seen kicking off. Gostkowski sat out Thursday with what the team said was a non-injury-related issue.

Barbara Matson of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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