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Notes: Brady back at practice

After a two-day absence, Tom Brady was back on the Patriots' practice field Friday.

The QB has been dealing with a right knee injury this week, although he appeared to have first suffered the problem during the Seattle game in Week 10. Brady was not listed on last week's injury report, however, and took part in every practice session.

He appeared to limp off the field after being sacked in the second quarter against San Francisco this past Sunday, but continued to play. Brady also looked like he got up slowly after he took a knee (on his right knee) on the game's final play. On Wednesday, he was held out of practice and added to the injury report. He also sat out New England's Thanksgiving Day practice before rejoining his teammates earlier today.

Afterward, Brady answered about 15 minutes' worth of questions from reporters, who began with the obvious: Will he play Sunday against the Jets?

"We'll see," he smirked.

TB12 wouldn't confirm if the injury is in fact related to the hit he took from Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor two weeks ago.

"I don't want to get into it much… Everyone's dealing with something. I'm not the only one."

Brady did acknowledge that he much prefers to be on the practice field than sitting out, even when dealing with the common "bumps and bruises" of an NFL season, but wouldn't say how his two-day absence is affecting his preparation for the Jets.

"I'm not sure, because I haven't [missed this much practice] in a long time," he remarked. "We'll just see. Just trying to do the most I can to get out there [Sunday in New York]. If I get my shot on Sunday, I'll do the best I can do."  

Bennett bounces back

Also at Friday's practice, TE Martellus Bennett was back in action after sitting out Thanksgiving Day. He's been dealing with a right ankle injury since Week 5 at Cleveland that has limited his practice participation.

Bennett told reporters that his ailing ankle is "good."

[wysifield-embeddedaudio|eid="499551"|type="embeddedaudio"|view_mode="full"]"The best players are the ones that are available," he said of his growing reputation as a tough, dependable player for the Patriots offense. "You know, if you're not on the field, you're not really doing much for the team. I try to be dependable and durable."

Branch ready to go?

Meanwhile, DT Alan Branch also practiced. He is reportedly appealing a four-game NFL suspension that is due to begin this Sunday. However, Branch had a travel bag packed with his football equipment in front of his locker on Friday, an apparent indication that he'll be making the business trip to New York this weekend.

Branch did not make himself available for media interviews today.

Sheard steps up

For the first time since his demotion a week ago, when he was left off the travel party for New England's game at San Francisco, DE Jabaal Sheard addressed his situation publicly.

"That was Coach [Belichick]'s decision. I can only control what I can control," he began.

[wysifield-embeddedaudio|eid="499556"|type="embeddedaudio"|view_mode="full"]What Sheard can control is his effort at practice and in meeting rooms, which he acknowledged he's trying to do to get back in the lineup.

"Just do my job… practice hard, and when I get an opportunity, play hard."

Sheard went on to insist that he's handling his recent reduced role professionally and maintaining a positive attitude by putting last week behind him.

"We've been focused on the Jets all week," he observed. "There's great energy around here and things I have to work on to get better on the field. There's always room for improvement. That's what we have this week for."

Vollmer, Jackson done for '16

Two Patriots offensive lineman are out of commission for the remainder of this season. Neither right tackle Sebastian Vollmer nor guard Tre' Jackson has suited up all year. Both men were placed on the active physically unable to perform list (PUP) to start training camp and the reserve PUP to start the regular season because of various injuries from which they're still recovering.

This week was the final opportunity for both of them to begin practicing this season and possibly be activated to the 53-man roster. However, head coach Bill Belichick confirmed Friday that the deadline for both Vollmer and Jackson has passed and that they will not play in 2016.

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