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Quick Kicks: Carter interested in returning to Patriots

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INDIANAPOLIS - On Friday here at the Combine, many of the more influential agents for players are gathering in Indianapolis at a location away from Lucas Oil Stadium. Our friends and colleagues Shalise Manza Young of The Boston Globe and Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com just reported an interesting bit of news from one such player rep.

Carl Poston, the agent for Patriots defensive end Andre Carter, said his client, who underwent surgery in December to repair a torn quadriceps muscle in his left leg, is rehabilitating "ahead of schedule," and that he (Poston) has had discussion with Patriots brass about Carter possibly returning to the team in 2012.

Poston added that Carter was immensely pleased with his 2011 experience in New England. He signed with the Patriots last August after 10 previous NFL seasons in San Francisco and Washington. Carter was the 7th overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft and revealed during the middle of last season that he thought his pro career was over before New England called and offered him a job. Carter went on to tie for the team lead in sacks (10) in 2011, despite missing the final two-and-a-half games of the regular season with the quad injury he suffered at Denver.

Patriots placekicker Stephen Gostkowski suffered a similar injury the year before, in November of 2010, and was sufficiently healed by the start of training camp to reclaim his job. So, it's entirely possible for Carter to be ready to go for the start of next season, if not sooner. Poston cautioned, though, that it is still far too early in the process to say definitivelywhether or not Carter will be part of New England's 2012 plan.

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