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Patriots.com News Blitz - 12/22/05

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe and Michael Felger of the Boston Herald report that quarterback Tom Brady and defensive lineman Richard Seymour have been selected to represent the Patriots and the AFC at the 2006 Pro Bowl in Honolulu on Feb. 12. "After being selected four times in a row, I just count my blessings all the time," said Seymour. "It's just awesome to be recognized by your peers and by the other coaches in the league for what you do on the football field. It's a great honor and I look forward to representing the AFC."

Tom Curran of the Providence Journal writes that Deion Branch and David Givens -- the Patriots' potent pair of fourth-year wide receivers -- are among the league's most productive wideout tandems. Despite Givens having missed three games this season, they are the NFL's fifth-most-productive wide receiver duo with 128 catches (Branch has 72) this year. On Sunday, Givens had six catches for 137 yards and a touchdown. In the six games before that, Branch made five catches in each one. Both have reached their career highs in catches this season. Branch (910 yards) seems a lock to have his first 1,000-yard season.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe offers a story on safety Artrell Hawkins. Hawkins, a corner for seven-plus seasons has solidified the strong safety spot in the absence of Rodney Harrison. Hawkins is starting alongside free safety Eugene Wilson, a former corner, and with cornerbacks Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs, a rookie. "If it gets me on the field in any capacity, I'm willing to do it," said Hawkins. "Early in your career you think of yourself as a tailback or a corner or a receiver, but then you realize it's all about what's best for the team. You look at what Troy Brown's done as a defensive back and if they ask you to play safety and that's what the team needs, that's what you do." Michael Felger of the Boston Herald offers a similar report on Hawkins.

Michael Felger of the Boston Herald writes that Adam Vinatieri is just one of two kickers in NFL history (Denver's Jason Elam is the other) to record over 100 points in each of his first nine seasons in the league. Elam already notched his 10th straight, but Vinatieri currently stands at 86 points with two games left. Given the weather, the venues (Giants Stadium and Gillette Stadium) and the short timeframe, Vinatieri may come up short. "Of course. They put it in all the media guides and stuff, so you know it's out there," said Vinatieri, who became the Pats' all-time leading scorer earlier this season. "It'd be something that'd be nice to reach. But the only goal I'm really concerned about is helping our team win games. And if that means we're scoring four or five touchdowns and no field goals, I'm cool with that, too. "So if we don't get it, I'd be minorly disappointed. But as long as we're winning games, that's the only important thing."

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is reporting that left tackle Matt Light was placed on injured reserve after weeks of trying to come back from a broken right fibula. It is unknown whether the Patriots will fill Light's roster spot. They worked out linebacker/special teamer Tommy Hendricks, a former Dolphin and Jaguar, Monday.

Tom Curran of the Providence Journal writes that the only Patriot listed on this week's injury report is quarterback Tom Brady (probable, right shoulder). Left tackle Matt Light , a fixture on the injury report for weeks because of an ankle injury, last night was placed on injured reserve and is done for the season.

Eric McHugh of the Patriot Ledger writes that with 31 points (four TDs and a field goal) to show for their 14 opening drives this season, the Patriots are well behind their pace from last year, when they generated 50 first-drive points (five TDs, five field goals).

Glen Farley of The Enterprise offers a story on Patriots offensive lineman Ross Tucker. The 26-year-old Tucker may be listed at the end of the depth chart on Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's line, but he is no longer standing in the unemployment line. "Very frustrating, very frustrating," Tucker said, speaking of the time he spent out of football following his release from the Buffalo Bills during the final preseason cuts more than 31/2 months ago. "It was especially disappointing because last year was my best year in the league. To have the back surgery that I had (in April) and get released by Buffalo, it was tough to go from starting 13 games for a team that was doing pretty well. We went 9-4 while I was playing. By all accounts,things were going really well, and then (you're at) the other end of the stick and looking for a job. It's tough," said Tucker. "It's not an enviable position, that's for sure."

Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes. Reiss also offers his latest mailbag where he answers your questions.

Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.

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