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Now healthy, Brady wants to play in Patriots' preseason opener

Tom Brady is hoping for a starring role. Bill Belichick might allow a cameo.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tom Brady is hoping for a starring role. Bill Belichick might allow a cameo.

Brady, the New England Patriots' quarterback, is eager to get back in the game -- any game -- after spending nearly a year recovering from a left knee injury that he sustained just 7:33 into the 2008 season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.

That means Brady has a little more than seven minutes of NFL playing time since the Patriots fell to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII in February of 2008.

No wonder Brady is excited about the Patriots' Thursday night preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"Yeah, I'm ready, I think everybody's ready," said Brady, who played himself in an episode of HBO's "Entourage" that aired this week. "We've had a good camp, guys have been working real hard trying to do what coach Belichick's asked. It will be nice to go out and play the Eagles. They really gave it to us last year (in the preseason)."

Brady said after Tuesday's practice that he hadn't spoken with Belichick about his playing time, but he said the entire team had been told to be ready to play.

"I'm expecting to play," Brady said. "There's no reason why I wouldn't. I've been out here and doing everything. It'll be nice to get out there and play some football."

Brady hasn't missed a practice during training camp, but Belichick remained noncommittal about how much action his superstar quarterback -- or any other Patriots starter -- would see in Thursday's game.

"I think it's important that every player play enough to be ready for the start of the season," Belichick said. "For each individual player, I could answer that in a lot of different ways. As we get closer, this afternoon, tomorrow, we'll talk about our playing rotation and what players need and how to balance that with some of the things I've already mentioned."

Asked whether Brady might not play at all Thursday, Belichick said, "We'll do what's best for the football team."

Brady, for his part, is pleased with what he has seen from his receiving corps in camp.

"Wes (Welker) and Randy (Moss) are as good as they've always been," Brady said. "They bring so much energy to this offense. Greg (Lewis) and Joey (Galloway) and the newcomers have picked things up."

Notes: The Patriots hosted veteran defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday for a workout Monday after bringing in veteran Kevin Carter last week. Belichick said player visits are likely to continue all season. "I'm sure we've had a couple dozen in here," he said. "It's part of the process of knowing what the next step is if we needed a player."

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