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Bodden plots his return

Patriots CB claims he could play today

By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / February 5, 2011

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DALLAS — If the Patriots were playing in the Super Bowl tomorrow, cornerback Leigh Bodden said he would have pushed to play.

Five months after having surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder, Bodden said yesterday he is feeling great and is optimistic for the 2011 season. His focus these next few months is to complete his rehabilitation and try to improve on his 2009 performance, which helped him earn a four-year, $27 million contract.

“I’m going to be good,’’ Bodden said. “I’m rehabbing it good. I’m lifting on it. It’s been five months, so I have the most confidence in the world that I’m going to have my best season next year.’’

Bodden was placed on injured reserve Aug. 31 after being hurt on the second play of a preseason game against the Rams five days earlier at Gillette Stadium. Bodden said his arm was extended as he fell to the ground. He felt a twinge, but decided to play through it and may have done more harm than good.

“I figured in my head, I’ll just wear a sling after the [regular-season opener] and it will get better, but I think probably playing in the whole [exhibition] game and trying to do things that I really couldn’t do probably made it worse,’’ Bodden said.

Bodden, 29, had a team-best five interceptions in 2009 and made 14 starts. After playing five seasons with the Browns and one with the Lions, Bodden signed a one-year contract with the Patriots for 2009, and did enough to earn an extension.

But the injury prevented Bodden from leading a young group of cornerbacks. Instead, he became an off-field mentor, and encouraged them through some of the tougher points of the season.

“The confidence I saw them get every week was great,’’ Bodden said. “I think they played well, all of them.’’

The biggest struggle since the surgery, according to Bodden, has been regaining range of motion. But he now believes he is that much closer to getting back on the field.

“If I was playing in the Super Bowl and I had to play, I would play,’’ Bodden said.

Monique Walker can be reached at mwalker@globe.com.

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