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After week off, Blount 'ready to play'; 9/18 notes

News and notes from the Patriots locker room and practice field.

Blount is back.

LeGarrette Blount was forced to sit out the regular season opener while serving a one-game NFL suspension, but the running back is raring to go for Week 2's tilt in Buffalo this Sunday.

"I'm ready to play," he told reporters on Friday. "I've been working out, I've been preparing, waiting on the opportunity to get out there and play."

Blount said he watched the Steelers game at home last Thursday and admitted it was difficult to be a spectator.

"You get to be a cheerleader. You watch them do everything you knew they were going to be able to do. Just watch as they continue to have success. You always want to be out there and playing with your guys. It was tough. I just had to stay focused and get ready for this week."

While Blount was out last week, the Patriots relied mostly on diminutive veteran Dion Lewis to carry the football, but against Buffalo's massive defensive line, Blount's size and speed combination should be a welcome addition to the offense.

"They're good. They've got Marcel [Dareus], Kyle Williams, Mario [Williams]… they're a good defensive team," Blount said of the Bills. "They have one of the best fronts in the league with those guys. I'm just out here trying to prepare for guys like that."

Martin getting up to speed

Wide receiver Keshawn Martin stepped onto the Patriots practice field for the first time Friday, just 24 hours after arriving in Foxborough via trade from Houston.

The former Texan admitted he was unprepared for the news that he was being shipped north.

"I feel like anytime something like that happens, you're surprised. You don't really expect it. Yeah, I was surprised, but I just have to deal with it. I'm here now, I'm happy to be here, ready to help this team win games."

Martin has experience both as a pass catcher and a return man on kickoffs and punts, which might be where he has a chance to contribute initially. However, he already has somewhat of a head start on learning New England's playbook, as he ran virtually the same thing in Houston under Bill O'Brien, the former offensive coordinator in Foxborough.

"I feel like it's an easier transition, yeah," said Martin. "That's what it's been for me, just getting their terminology down. It's kind of similar, but still some different things.

The returning game, I feel you can pick that up. It's not as difficult as learning the offense… if I am [asked to return kicks], I'll be ready for it."

At the start of practice, Martin was seen shaking hands with several of his new teammates, none of whom he knew before arriving this week. They might have recognized him, though, from his appearances on HBO's "Hard Knocks" TV series this summer.

"It was okay," he chuckled when asked about that experience. "You don't really pay attention to the cameras, especially at practice. You don't really even know they're there."

Practice Report

Good news for Dominique Easley. The defensive lineman, who's been out since the first drive of the Pittsburgh game with a left hip injury, was back on the practice field Friday.

On the other end of the spectrum, o-lineman/co-captain Ryan Wendell, limited this week with an undisclosed illness, was not spotted at the start of Friday's workout. This puts his availability for Sunday's game in further doubt. He was inactive (a healthy scratch) for the opener.

Martin, meanwhile, was given jersey number 82, which has been available since the release of wide receiver Josh Boyce. And it appears the Patriots made a practice squad change Friday, dropping wide receiver Nathan Palmer and adding an unidentified defensive lineman wearing jersey number 65.

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