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Patriots.com News Blitz - 11/16/2006

Mike Reiss of The Boston Globe discusses the Patriots decision to replace the grass inside Gillette Stadium with FieldTurf. "Our plan going into last weekend was to be on natural turf the rest of the year," explained team president Jonathan Kraft. However, the rain soaked field was destroyed during the Pats-Jets game last weekend. "We knew we'd have at least three more home games this year and we needed to have a playing surface that's suitable for NFL football," said Kraft, noting the Patriots are the 10th NFL team to install FieldTurf. "It literally was a decision that was made and mobilized in 24 hours." The installation should be complete before the Nov. 26 game against the Bears.

The Boston Herald's Karen Guregian reports on the mid-season change of playing surfaces from grass to artificial turf, something that's never happened in the history of the NFL. "We're disappointed," Kraft said during a session with the media yesterday. "We spent millions of dollars and devised a system that we felt would give us as good of a chance as anybody in the Northeast, in a very busy building, to maintain natural grass. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked." It should be noted that Brady is 19-1 on artificial turf, with 39 touchdown passes and a 97.9 career passer rating.

Joe McDonald of The Providence Journal offers an interview with MLB center fielder and Rhode Island native Rocco Baldelli, who has played on FieldTurf since 2000. Baldelli compares older FieldTurf to the new stuff, which the Patriots will play on.

Howard Ulman of The Boston Globe offers an Associated Press piece on Vinny Testaverde, who had his first day as a Patriot yesterday. The Pats are his sixth team in a 20 year career, and he just turned 43 a few days ago. "A lot of my friends and family asked me why am I still doing this," Testaverde said. "The simple reason is because I still think I can go out on a field and be productive." According to coach Belichick, Testaverde will be an emergency backup to Tom Brady and Matt Cassel. Although Brady has been probable on every injury report last season and this, he said Wednesday, "I'm not hurt at all."

Mike Reiss of The Boston Globe reports that Testaverde attended his first Patriots practice yesterday, and Brady liked what he saw. "He's a very impressive guy, in great shape," Brady said. "I hope I look like that when I'm 43. I'll probably be in a wheelchair." Belichick's background with Testaverde dates to 1993, when he signed him with the Cleveland Browns.

John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports that Testaverde has pretty much seen it all. He won the Heisman. He's been to the Pro Bowl (twice). And he's climbed into the all-time top 10 of just about every passing category. One prize has eluded him, however. "A Super Bowl ring would be great," the newest member of the Patriots said yesterday. "And there's no better place to have an opportunity for that than right here in New England with the Patriots, a first-class organization."

The Providence Journal's Joe McDonald reports that Testaverde will be seen and not heard as a Patriot. "I hope he doesn't play at all, but if something happens, at least we have some insurance," said Belichick yesterday.

Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant reports that Testaverde is added insurance to the Patriots. The Patriots had Testaverde in for a workout in late September. Belichick said he was thinking about signing him before that, but didn't because having depth at tight end and defensive back was a higher priority.

John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports on Packers quarterback Brett Favre. After posting one of the worst seasons of his career last year, there was much debate over whether the 37-year-old quarterback should return to the field this season. The Packers started out 1-4, but have won three of the next four games. They could pull to .500 if they beat the Pats this weekend, and Favre's game has returned a bit this season.

The Boston Globe's Mike Reiss reports on Favre. When Brady thinks of Favre, one image stands out. "When they beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl, you always had that vision of him after he threw his first touchdown with his helmet up in the air," said Brady, who was 19 and a redshirt freshman at Michigan when Favre led the Packers to a 35-21 victory in Super Bowl XXXI. "He's one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play. When you see him out there, he still does a great job."

The Boston Herald's Karen Guregian likens Brady to former Patriot Drew Bledsoe. "Obviously," writes Guregian. "as we discovered five years ago, Brady and Bledsoe are not in the same league when it comes to doing what it takes to win the big games." Guregian says that opponents haven't pounded the competitiveness and feistiness out of Brady yet.

Rich Garven of the Telegram & Gazette reports that the Patriots had little to say about the change in field type. "I'm not supposed to say anything about it," punter Josh Miller said. "There really is nothing to comment about," linebacker Rosevelt Colvin said.

Eric McHugh of The Patriot Ledger offers his weekly Patriots report card on last weekend's Jets game. He previews Green Bay matchups for Sunday's game as well.

Don't forget to check out USA Today's Inside Slant on the Pats.

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