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Big Kat will start opener

The New England defensive unit got good news Friday, as rookie middle linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer was pronounced ready to play in Sunday's season-opener at the Meadowlands against the New York Jets.

Head Coach Pete Carroll made the announcement of Katzenmoyer's health Friday morning, saying that the rookie had practiced well Thursday.

"I'm happy to tell you he'll be taken off the injury list," Carroll said. "We'll expect him to be able to go full-speed in this ballgame."

Katzenmoyer suffered an ankle sprain in the final preseason game, a 23-20 loss to Carolina. Both he and fellow middle linebacker Marty Moore, who also had a preseason injury, should go full speed Sunday.

The same can't be said for rookie safety Tony George. George has practiced on his injured knee, but Carroll was not as certain he would be available.

"Tony George will still be listed as questionable," Carroll said. "He's trying to show us in practice that he's ready to go. We'll determine that either [Friday] or possibly at game time."

Carroll also wasn't sure how much action recent acquisition Ferric Collons would see. Collons played the last four seasons with New England, but he returned after spending training camp with Oakland, not this year's Patriots.

"We're going to make decisions on [Collons] at game time. We haven't had much time with him, obviously, because he's only been here for one day of practice.

Regarding an early Friday morning accident involving tight end Rod Rutledge, the Patriots issued the following statement:

New England Patriots second-year tight end Rod Rutledge was involved in an automobile accident at 12:30 a.m. Friday in Attleboro, Mass. on Interstate 95. Rutledge sustained minor injuries. No other injuries were reported.

Team officials have met with Rutledge to discuss the matter, which is considered conduct detrimental to the team. The Patriots expressed their disappointment with behavior which endangered him and others who were near the scene of the accident. Rutledge has been informed that internal disciplinary measures, which are imposed for conduct detrimental to the team, will be taken as a result of his actions.

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