Ryan Wendell's undisclosed illness has kept him out of a fourth consecutive practice. It's a virtual guarantee, therefore, that the interior o-lineman and co-captain will be inactive this Sunday against Jacksonville. He has yet to appear in a regular season game this season and he was out of commission for most of training camp and the preseason with another medical issue that is believed to be unrelated to his current situation.
Wendell has, though, been conspicuous in the Patriots locker room, and on Friday, he paused briefly to answer a few questions from curious reporters. He appeared in good spirits despite his condition, which he wouldn't comment on in detail.
"You know I can't answer that," he smiled. "Personal medical issues. Any day I get to be in here with the guys is a good day. Any day I get to be on the field is a better day. Hopefully, we'll get that soon."
While stating that playing football again is always on his mind, Wendell refused to offer a timetable for his return to full strength.
"Yeah, it's one day at a time. That's the timetable," he said with a wink, before adding, "The staff we have, especially with the relationship we have with all the doctors from Mass General Hospital, I think we get top-of-the-line health care. So, I'm so blessed and grateful to be in a place where I can get the kind of treatment that's most effective. I have great confidence in our trainers and medical staff to help me get back as soon as possible."
Meanwhile at practice, Wendell continues to be the only player on the 53-man active roster and the 10-man practice squad who is unable to dress and take part at least on a limited basis.
It looked today as if the Patriots had re-signed veteran defensive lineman Joe Vellano to the practice squad. He was released during the summer after suffering an early training camp injury. Vellano was wearing his customary jersey number 72. To make room for him, the team appears to have parted ways yet again with veteran linebacker Eric Martin, who was not on the practice field Friday.
Brady's award helps Red Cross
Tom Brady was awarded the FedEx NFL Air Player of the Week honor Friday, in recognition of his performance against the Buffalo Bills last Sunday in Orchard Park. Brady threw for 466 yards and three touchdowns in New England's 40-32 victory.
Brady's honor is also a win for Boston's chapter of the American Red Cross. The organization will receive a $2,000 donation in Brady's name.