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New injury surfaces for Brady

By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / December 11, 2009

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FOXBOROUGH - Amid a dubious week in which the Patriots blew a fourth-quarter lead in Miami Sunday, and sent four players home for being tardy for an 8 a.m. meeting Wednesday, another crack in the armor appeared, this one to Tom Brady.

The quarterback, already listed with right shoulder (as usual) and finger problems, had a rib injury added to the injury report yesterday.

Brady, who was in the locker room but sat out practice for the second consecutive day, left Sunday’s game and went to the locker room after throwing a 58-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss on the Patriots’ first possession.

Brady was crunched after releasing the pass. He returned and did not miss a snap, but a CBS camera showed him adjusting the equipment near his ribs.

As far as practice went yesterday, defensive lineman Myron Pryor was the only player not to participate.

Randy Moss, Adalius Thomas, Gary Guyton, and Derrick Burgess were back at practice, a day after being sent home for arriving late.

Players who had limited participation in practice yesterday included Sam Aiken (shoulder), Tully Banta-Cain (shoulder), Julian Edelman (forearm), Jarvis Green (knee), Nick Kaczur (ankle), Stephen Neal (ankle), Rob Ninkovich (knee), Fred Taylor (knee), Ty Warren (ankle), and Vince Wilfork (not injury-related).

Award for Welker
Wide receiver Wes Welker used to catch tennis balls between games for Texas Tech. When it comes to perfecting the fundamentals, Welker is open to all types of drills.

After six years in the NFL, Welker has developed a reputation as a quick, nimble receiver and leads the league with 95 catches. Yesterday, Welker was honored as one of 26 players on the inaugural USA Football/NFLPA “All-Fundamentals’’ Team. Hall of Famer and former Patriot Andre Tippett presented Welker with a pewter-dipped helmet trophy.

Welker was selected for “proper catching with hands.’’ Welker said coach Bill Belichick frequently reminds him to catch the ball away from his body with his hands, but he is not opposed to doing whatever it takes.

Welker has 95 receptions for 1,053 yards and four touchdowns this season. It his third consecutive season reaching 1,000 yards. Last season, Welker was selected to his first Pro Bowl after making 111 catches for 1,165 yards.

During the offseason, Welker said he catches footballs launched from a machine in his backyard in Oklahoma City. After practices during the season, he said he tries to get in an extra 25 to 30 catches “just to make sure I’m staying on top of it and catching those balls with your hands.’’

“The more you do it, the easier it becomes,’’ said Welker. “I remember when I first got in the league, Marty Schottenheimer told me you don’t catch the ball with your hands, you catch the ball with your eyes, which I thought was very interesting, and it works.’’

The NFL players selected to the team are considered the game’s most fundamentally sound, while also committing “themselves to service in their communities.’’ Some of the other players honored include Saints quarterback Drew Brees for “throwing mechanics’’ and Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel for “shedding blocks.’’

A six-person selection committee that included former NFL coaches and players picked the team.

By being honored, Welker will be able to select a youth or high school program to receive a $1,500 equipment grant. Welker said there is a league in Oklahoma to which he hopes to donate the grant.

“This is definitely going to come in very handy for those kids, and I look forward to getting that to them,’’ Welker said.

Adams is active
Defensive tackle Titus Adams has been patient in waiting for his opportunity. He was part of the Patriots’ practice squad since last season, until coaches alerted him that he would be moved to the active roster this week.

Adams, who is 6 feet 4 inches and 305 pounds, was drafted out of Nebraska in the seventh round by the Jets in 2006.

“You just go out and prepare and practice hard every day and just hope you’re going to get your chance, and if you get your chance you make the most of your ability,’’ he said.

Much appreciated
Linebacker Jerod Mayo said Brady’s presence Wednesday, hours after the birth of his son, was important, especially for a team that is struggling.

“Having a guy like him lead by example is huge,’’ said Mayo. “A guy like me, I don’t have any [family] up here, so I’m good. I can come up here whenever.’’

The idea, Mayo said, is to breathe new life into the team by extending the season into the playoffs. Players need to go that extra mile to make it happen, but Mayo was careful to choose his words.

“There always could be more dedication during the week,’’ he said. “At the same time, guys on this team have families, and things like that, so it’s kind of understandable. But it’s a one-game playoff [this week] and we have to get it done now.’’

Albert R. Breer of the Globe staff contributed to this report; Monique Walker can be reached at mwalker@globe.com.

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