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'Better' Harrison back at Gillette

After serving a four-game suspension, safety Rodney Harrison talks to the media on his first day back with the Patriots. Plus, news and notes from Wednesday's practice.

For the first time in a month, S Rodney Harrison is back with the Patriots.

His four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy now complete, Harrison was at his locker this morning to address reporters.

"It seemed like a long four weeks," he began, "but I have the kids and playing with the kids, spending time with my wife and watching a lot of football.

"I've been working out twice a day. I pretty much did everything from on-the-field work, to the weight room, to my usual yoga and Pilates, doing a lot of different things I do in order to stay in shape for training camp. I'm ready to go. It's just a matter of getting out there and really getting that experience again."

He was asked if he thinks he'll play this Sunday versus Cleveland.

"Whatever [head coach Bill Belichick] decides," Harrison replied. "If he wants me out there, I'll be ready. If he doesn't, that's on him. I'm always ready to play football."

Belichick is taking the wait-and-see approach at this point.

"We'll take it day-to-day," he said during his Wednesday press conference.

"We'll do some stuff with him and see how it looks and evaluate it and go at it tomorrow. We'll take it one day at a time."

Harrison spoke as if he expects to be on the Gillette Stadium turf when the Browns come to town this weekend.

"Today is a day I'm focusing really on Cleveland and all the weapons and doing the things I need to do to get caught up with the game plan and things of that sort.

"I'm facing Cleveland, I have Kellen Winslow, Jr. we have to deal with, as well as Braylon Edwards and Jamal Lewis. That's really what I'm focusing on. I don't want to keep dwelling on the past."

However, when asked to elaborate on his decision to use a substance that's frowned upon by the league, Harrison admitted it was a "bad decision," but also looked for a silver lining.

"I'm a better man because of it. I'm a better person. Hopefully, I'll be a better football player.

"It's just up to me to learn from it, and to try to be an example, and tell young people, 'Don't make bad decisions. If you make a bad decision, it will have long-term effects on you.' I think that's the important message to get across, and not make similar mistakes like that again."

Wednesday Practice Notebook

C Dan Koppen and TE David Thomas were missing from Wednesday's helmets-shoulder pads-and-shorts practice.

Koppen, who was seen during the Cincinnati game having his left leg worked on, played the entire game Monday night and was in the locker room briefly today. Thomas, meantime, had recently worked his way back from a broken foot suffered in the offseason. He left the Bengals game with what was described as a leg injury and did not return.

TE Marcellus Rivers was back in a Patriots uniform Wednesday. Rivers, who spent part of training camp with New England, was once again wearing jersey number 82.

Black jerseys were awarded again this week to players who had an outstanding performance in recent practices. The hard-working recipients were practice squad players WR C.J. Jones and CB Antwain Spann.

One last note on the Bengals game: there was a change to the final stats. The Carson Palmer sack in the first quarter is being split by LB Adalius Thomas and DL Jarvis Green. Each player now gets credit for 0.5 sacks for the game.

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