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Patriots notebook

This time, no one flakes out on arrival time

Aaron Hernandez (left) was with Alge Crumpler and his teammates at practice, but was limited by a hip injury. Aaron Hernandez (left) was with Alge Crumpler and his teammates at practice, but was limited by a hip injury. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / January 13, 2011

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FOXBOROUGH — Many of the Patriots didn’t want to risk it yesterday. With blizzard conditions, they stayed at local hotels near Gillette Stadium Tuesday night or hitched rides with teammates to make sure they arrived in time for meetings and practice yesterday.

They remember well that four players were sent home last season after arriving late the morning after a snowstorm.

Coach Bill Belichick declared, “They’re all here,’’ as he started his news conference yesterday. “We have some experienced Northeastern drivers on our team.’’

When asked if anyone was late, Belichick repeated, “We’re all here.’’

Tom Brady said, “It was kind of crazy driving in,’’ but he arrived without incident.

He added, “It was tough conditions for everyone. But everyone’s here, ready to work, and get ready for the biggest game of the year.’’

The Patriots were scheduled to practice outside, but the fields were not cleared in time. Instead, they practiced inside the Dana-Farber Field House.

Cunningham returns Linebacker Jermaine Cunningham returned to practice after missing several sessions because of a calf injury. The rookie was limited, along with Tully Banta-Cain (groin), Deion Branch (knee), Aaron Hernandez (hip), Eric Moore (hamstring), and Sebastian Vollmer (shin).

The only Patriot who did not practice was Myron Pryor (back), who is back on the injury report. The second-year defensive lineman missed seven games with the back injury before returning for the regular-season finale.

Kyle Arrington (elbow) and Brady (right shoulder, foot) also were listed on the injury report, but participated fully in practice.

Strength in numbers The Patriots have rotated players along the defensive line because of injuries, but that doesn’t mean Jets coach Rex Ryan can’t grasp the group’s individual talent.

Vince Wilfork has been a constant and Gerard Warren also has provided consistency, but the Patriots have had to place Ron Brace (elbow) and Mike Wright (concussion) on injured reserve, and Pryor is not 100 percent.

“I’m not worried about their injuries,’’ Ryan said. “We lost Kris Jenkins for the entire season, so I don’t know if they’ve lost a guy bigger than that.

“They’ve got good football players and they’re moving big Vince around a little bit. But they’re doing an excellent job. In fact, statistically they’ve improved since we played them last.

“I think they’ve got some big guys — you got Warren and Wilfork in there. They’re hard to move and those guys do a great job, especially in that two-gap style of play, they’re awfully hard to go up against.’’

Brady honored Brady has been named NFL Offensive Player of the Year by The Sporting News. Rookie cornerback Devin McCourty also was honored as a member of The Sporting News All-Pro Team. A combination of players, coaches, and executives vote for the awards . . . Eleven years ago last week, Belichick resigned as head coach of the Jets, but apparently the anniversary is not marked on his calendar. Belichick chuckled and said, “I haven’t thought much about it, no. I didn’t think it would work at the time, so that’s why I made that decision.’’

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

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