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McCourty won’t get free pass

Corner expects usual attention

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By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / September 16, 2011

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FOXBOROUGH - Cornerback Devin McCourty started his interception collection last season against the Chargers, a pick Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers also remembers.

McCourty registered the first interception of his career against the Chargers in Week 7, and finished the season with seven.

That first interception not only stood out to McCourty but to Rivers, who watched the rookie make an athletic grab after he tried to squeeze a pass to Patrick Crayton in the Chargers’ 23-20 loss.

“I wish I hadn’t thrown it, I do remember that,’’ Rivers said. “But he’s one of the guys that stands out, just his speed and ability to attack the football and great instincts.’’

McCourty and Rivers met at the Pro Bowl, and Rivers said he enjoyed chatting with the cornerback.

“It’s always fun getting to know guys over there that you otherwise wouldn’t know. He seems like a great guy and obviously a great player,’’ Rivers said.

While McCourty may have gotten the better of Rivers last season, he doesn’t expect an easy day on Sunday, when the Patriots host the Chargers. Rivers completed 33 of 48 passes for 335 yards and two touchdowns in San Diego’s 24-17 Week 1 win over Minnesota.

“I don’t think offenses or players look at what you’ve done before and say, ‘You know what, we’re going to leave that guy alone today,’ ’’ McCourty said. “As a corner, I expect each week to go out there and be challenged, because this week we’re going out there and we’ve got Malcom Floyd and Vincent Jackson with Philip Rivers. I don’t think they’re going to look at me and say, ‘We’re not throwing over there.’ ’’

Not only is McCourty expecting to be challenged, he is prepared to be challenged deep.

“This year, with the guys we have up front, I mean, I’m only in my second year, and we got [Ras-I Dowling] out there with [Kyle Arrington] and [Leigh Bodden]. Teams are going to take their chances,’’ said McCourty. “They have good receivers. They believe in their receivers. So they’re always going to take those chances down the field.’’

Wright missing Defensive end Mike Wright missed his second consecutive practice because of a concussion.

The veteran also missed the last seven games of the 2010 season because of a concussion suffered against the Colts. Wright was injured in Monday night’s season opener against the Dolphins and didn’t return.

The only other player who did not practice yesterday was center Dan Koppen (fibula). Bodden (back), who did not practice on Wednesday, returned to the field on a limited basis.

Also limited in practice were: Josh Barrett (thumb), Dane Fletcher (thumb), Gary Guyton (hamstring), Taylor Price (hamstring), Sebastian Vollmer (back), and Ryan Wendell (calf). Myron Pryor (groin) had full participation.

An education Linebacker A.J. Edds missed his rookie season last year with a right knee injury, but considered the downtime a blessing.

Edds was drafted in the fourth round by the Dolphins but ended up on injured reserve after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament during training camp. Edds didn’t make Miami’s final cut this season, and the Patriots swooped in to claim him on waivers Sept. 7.

“It was tough, but again that’s part of the game. You play long enough, you’re going to get banged up,’’ Edds said. “That was my first real exposure to sitting out and not being able to contribute and be part of the game for an extended period of time, so that was definitely tough. I think it’s something that in the long run is going to be a blessing in disguise for me. I was able to learn a lot, had to step back and pick up a lot of things where I could and when I could from some of the experienced vets. You have to take a negative and turn it into a positive when you have that kind of stuff happen.’’

Edds said his first week with the Patriots was a blur, but he feels he played enough during the preseason to develop confidence in his knee.

“When I was still with Miami, some of those questions in my own mind were answered in terms of can I still do it at the level I need to, can I still make plays, can I hold up throughout the course of a game, those kind of things,’’ Edds said.

Welch re-signed Thomas Welch, who was released Wednesday when the team signed fellow offensive lineman Donald Thomas, was re-signed to the practice squad. Offensive lineman Nick McDonald was released from the practice squad . . . The Patriots will give away lapel pins with Myra Kraft’s initials, “MHK’’, to fans as they enter Gillette for the home opener.

Shalise Manza Young of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Monique Walker can be reached at mwalker@globe.com.

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