Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald reports that linebacker Tedy Bruschi will be eligible to return to the practice field as early as Monday. Bruschi, who had suffered a mild stroke last February, has a three-week window in which to return to practice under the PUP rules. Once he starts practicing, the Patriots have 21 days to decide whether to put him on the active roster or injured reserve. Guregian cites sources saying that Robert Kraft had insisted Bruschi see a certain set of specialists this week and that the word from those doctors was positive. Bruschi may also face some legal hurdles if he does intend to play this year. "I think that he's gearing up to play, but I don't know if (owner) Robert Kraft is gearing up for him to play. I don't know if (Kraft Group lawyer) Richard Kareliez is gearing up for him to play,'' said the source. "Everyone is still waiting for that shoe to drop.'' Guregian adds that there figures to be considerable legal work in terms of waivers, liability and insurance issues before Bruschi can return. The status of those issues is not known. Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant also offers a similar report.
Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe offers a story on Patriots wide receiver Bethel Johnson. Could Johnson's 55-yard touchdown be more than a flash of his explosive talent? One may wonder if the play opened the curtains for the appearance of the Bethel Johnson many have longed to see since the Patriots drafted him in the second round in 2003. "He's so fast, I dropped back and I looked -- and, to tell you the truth, I didn't really even see him -- and I threw it as far as I could, and he ran under it," Brady said after the game. "He's that kind of player; he really can add a different dimension. It was good to get him the ball."
Eric McHugh of the Patriot Ledger makes the case for why Pats QB Tom Brady should be in consideration for MVP.
Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe and Tom Curran of the Providence Journal both offer a story on the newest member of the Patriots, safety Arturo Freeman. Freeman signed with the Patriots Wednesday after being out of the first five games of the season. Freeman started 29 games with the Miami Dolphins, but was released shortly after head coach Dave Wannstedt was fired. He had spent time in the Green Bay Packers training camp this summer, but asked to be released after he had found he had dropped on the depth chart. Freeman signed with the Titans and ran into a salary-cap squeeze and was released. ''You realize it's not about talent," Freeman said in the locker room yesterday at Gillette Stadium. "It's about the business side of it. Sometimes you find yourself outside looking in for whatever reason, but I'm blessed and fortunate to have done well enough to have this opportunity."
Jim McCabe of the Boston Globe previews this weeks NFL matchups.
Eric McHugh of the Patriot Ledger writes that for the first time since 1984 the Patriots have alternated wins and losses through the first five games of the season. Coming off a stellar 31-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons, the Patriots look to win back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes that Tom Brady's nack for producing in the clutch has inspired awe and respect from Broncos linebacker Al Wilson. During a conference call with the New England media on Wednesday Wilson commented, "Tom always seems to make the big play. We definitely don't want the ball in his hands at the end of the game."
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal writes that running back Corey Dillon eclipsed 10,000 career yards last week and is now 18th all-time on the NFL rushing ladder. The fact that only 18 running backs have accomplished this feat serves as a testament for Dillon's skill and durability. "His style of running is the way I think a running back should run," said Bruschi. "With power, hitting the holes and dragging people 5 extra yards. That's the type of running back I admire. When he came here I was happy about it. I know he's had some troubles in the past, but things are going right for him now and I'm happy to see him hit this milestone."
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.