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Patriots hit the links

A day after receiving their Super Bowl rings as a team, the Patriots had their jewels on display at the Belmont Country Club, where the players and coaches participated in the annual New England Patriots Charitable Foundation golf outing.

Most of the players were wearing the rings before the shotgun start to the event, but the rings came off before any clubs were swung.

"I had never seen it, and when you open the box, it's just like, 'Wow,'" said quarterback Tom Brady, still excited over the previous night's happenings. "Even now I have it locked up, and when you open it up, it just doesn't seem real. I don't think you could swing a golf club with that thing on your finger. It's a huge ring."

The golf tournament, presented by Lighthouse Computer Services, Inc., raised more than $300,000 that will be used to support non-profit charities throughout New England. Among those on hand besides the current players were former Patriots Pete Brock, Gino Cappelletti, Steve Grogan, Andre Tippett, Tim Fox and Tom Yewcic. Head Coach Bill Belichick got to play in the same group as one of his idols, former Navy Heisman winner and Boston Patriot Joe Bellino.

The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation is the vehicle through which the team donates to philanthropic organizations throughout the region. Through direct financial contributions and donations of merchandise, raffle and auction prizes, the Foundation helps support a variety of non-profit organizations.

The Foundation's mission is "to assist a variety of programs that foster cultural diversity, education, family and health. The Foundation uses its resources to serve the youth of New England, by encouraging their growth, creativity, development of character and education and to help provide a better quality way of life to the communities the Foundation serves."

For Brady and his mates, the day presented another way for the players to come together.

"It's another team event for all of the guys," Brady said. "There are a lot of great sponsors out here, and it's nice to raise money for the foundation."

The Patriots offseason workout program is coming to a close, and players will wind down between now and the end of this month. With the one full-team mini-camp finished, Brady had reason for excitement for the upcoming season.

I think we'll be able to do more things this year," Brady said. "When we line up four guys, we'll have four eligible receivers. Normally when you'd drop back – and this is not to take anything away from the guys last year – you'd look to see where Troy [Brown] was. When people doubled Troy, those were the teams that gave us problems. Buffalo did that twice.

"Now you've got Dan [Graham], Donald [Hayes], David [Patten] or Christian [Fauria] there. We'll have a lot of speed getting down the middle at tight end in our regular sets. There is just more weaponry."

Asked who made a strong first impression at the camp, Brady pointed to three new acquisitions.

"I'll tell you, Deion [Branch] is going to be quite a player," Brady said. "He's got great quickness and speed. Dan is going to be good, and Christian made a lot of great catches. We're going to have a lot of weapons this year. There is more margin of error."

Tuitele earns title shot

New England-allocated linebacker Maugaula Tuitele and the Rhein Fire earned a spot in the NFL Europe World Bowl in what can only be described as a defensive battle. Tuitele recorded four tackles to help to Fire blank Frankfurt 3-0, with all the scoring coming on a 21-yard field goal by Manfred Burgsmuller.

Frankfurt, which played the game in front of an NFL Europe-record 58,572 fans, can earn a rematch in the World Bowl with either a win or loss by four points or less to Berlin in Week 10. If Berlin beats the Galaxy by more than four points, the defending champion Thunder will get the chance for a second straight World Bowl title.

Patriots wide receiver Scott McCready and defensive end Radell Lockhart - both playing for the Scottish Claymores - had their World Bowl hopes ended with a 24-23 loss to Berlin in Week Nine. Lockhart started and contribute a tackle and one pass defensed, while McCready was blanked in the passing game.

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