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PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK

Faulk and Deaderick return, but Dowling placed on IR

By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / October 30, 2011

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PITTSBURGH - A little more than a year after suffering a season-ending knee injury, Kevin Faulk is back on the roster.

The Patriots added the running back and defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick to the 53-man roster yesterday, taking them off the physically unable to perform list.

While the news meant progress for Faulk and Deaderick, the Patriots had to place rookie cornerback Ras-I Dowling on injured reserve with a hip injury.

Faulk tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in a game against the Jets Sept. 19, 2010. He was put on injured reserve for the first time in his 13-year career.

A shoulder injury forced Deaderick to begin his second NFL season on PUP. During the bye week, Deaderick, Faulk, and Ron Brace practiced for the first time this season.

Rookie offensive lineman Marcus Cannon also practiced for the first time this season after being cleared to play months after being treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The Patriots will have three weeks to make a decision on the roster status of Brace and Cannon.

With Dowling out and veteran cornerback Leigh Bodden having been released Friday, the Patriots are left with Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Antwaun Molden, and Phillip Adams at cornerback.

Good after bye?

Since Bill Belichick began leading the Patriots in 2000, his teams are 9-2 after a bye. But this season the dynamics of the bye week changed as teams were forced to give players four consecutive days off per the new collective bargaining agreement. So far, 12 teams have played after a bye and gone 3-9. As they prepared for the Steelers, the Patriots squeezed in an extra day of practice Tuesday.

“I think it’s real important,’’ said receiver Wes Welker. “Guys have had more days off than usual during the bye week and it’s always good to come back and get ready and kind of get a good sweat in on that first day and really get back into action.’’ Belichick said, “I feel like overall our team came back with a good level of energy on Tuesday and Wednesday practices. I don’t have any complaints or any issues with what they’ve done.’’

Man in motion

Safety Ross Ventrone has been like a human chess piece. In the delicate art of mastering the 53-man roster and practice squad, Ventrone has been the versatile commodity used to make room or add depth. Since he was signed to the practice squad Sept. 5, Ventrone has been part of six transactions. “I just take it like every week like I’m getting ready to play, regardless of what’s happening with the roster,’’ said Ventrone, who has been on the 53-man roster for the last 11 days. Ventrone sees most of his time on special teams. He made his NFL debut against the Bills after spending the first two games on the practice squad. The opportunities keep coming for Ventrone, who has played in each of the last two games. Leading up to today’s game, Ventrone contributed at practices as part of the defensive scout team. His role: Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. While the 5-foot-8-inch Ventrone doesn’t compare in size, he has the long flowing locks of hair. “I’ve been running around,’’ Ventrone said. “I try to emulate him as best as I can and the hair helps a little bit.’’

Monique Walker can be reached at mwalker@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @monwalker.

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