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Patriots.com News Blitz 3/17/05

More information has come to light regarding the health of Patriots Pro-Bowl linebacker Tedy Bruschi. Yesterday it was suggested that Bruschi has a small hole in his heart, a condition that could likely have triggered the minor stroke he suffered last month. Though the Bruschi family has yet to release any details of Tedy's condition, a number of doctors have spoken out regarding the supposed ailment. The consensus seems to be that such a hole in the heart is a relatively common occurrence, affecting up to one in four people. Stephen Smithof The Boston Globe writes: "all developing fetuses have the hole, which allows blood to bypass the still-forming lungs. Once the child is born, though, there's no longer any need for the tiny tunnel and in most infants it closes by itself within a few months. " Smith goes on to explain that, while the hole can be present in nearly a quarter of adults, it generally does not make its presence known as it has with Bruschi. Michael O'Connorof The Boston Herald and Ian Clarkof The Union Leader have more on the Bruschi situation.

In other news, the NFL announced the upcoming exhibition schedule for August. The Patriots four games will be against the Cincinnati Bengals, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, and New York Giants. The Patriots will travel to Cincinnati and Green Bay. Last pre-season, the Patriots traveled to Cincinnati, and were thoroughly thumped 31-3, before rebounding for a 35-28 regular season win. Jerome Solomonof the Globe and John Altavillaof The Hartford Courant have the story.

Kevin Mannix of the Herald updates the topic of Adam Vinatieri's franchise-player contract. As Mannix reported in yesterday's paper, Wednesday was the deadline for the Patriots to reach a long-term agreement with the kicker and still be allowed to use the franchise tag on another player. As they did not reach such an agreement before yesterday's 4PM deadline, the team must now wait until July 15th to strike a long-term deal, or else they will lose the right to franchise for the duration of Vinatieri's deal.

Tom Curran of The Providence Journal points out Patriots head coach Bill Belichick will be without a traditionally useful resource when the NFL draft rolls around next month. For the last several years, Belichick has received considerable scouting information from his protégé Nick Saban who, until recently, was head football coach at LSU. Over the last few years, the Patriots have drafted some of Saban's players, including Jarvis Green and Rohan Davey. It was also Saban's scouting report that motivated Belichick to roll the dice on undrafted rookie free agent cornerback Randall Gay. This year, however, Belichick will not have such a luxury, as Saban now assumes the role of division rival, as the new head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

Finally, the Globe and The Portland Press Herald* *are reporting the Patriots will be bringing the Super Bowl trophy to Portland, Maine at the beginning of April.

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