… Sunshine, with a light blanket of overnight snow and temps in the upper 40s set the tone for Friday's Patriots practice. The team was in helmets, shorts, and shells for the workout on the Gillette Stadium game surface.
… Linebacker Dane Fletcher (thumb) and rookie cornerback Ras-I Dowling (hip), both of whom did not practice Thursday, were also absent Friday.
… In a stunning move, the Patriots apparently parted ways with veteran cornerback Leigh Bodden. Multiple media reports indicated the move earlier today, although head coach Bill Belichick would only say he didn't have any announcements at the time of his press conference. Bodden was not out at practice, but rookie cornerback Josh Victorian was seen in the locker room and back on the practice field wearing number 28, so, it seems he's taking Bodden's place on the roster. Still awaiting official word from the team.
… Rookie offensive lineman Marcus Cannon – pronouncing himself in full remission from cancer – spoke to reporters for several minutes at his locker prior to today's workout. A full report on him will appear later on patriots.com.
… I'll also update today's injury news and Sunday's game status info around 4 o'clock right here on the blog.
UPDATE … 4:00pm
Fletcher has been ruled OUT for Sunday at Pittsburgh; Dowling is DOUBTFUL (25-percent chance of playing). Neither took part at all in today's practice. Meanwhile, safety Josh Barrett (thumb), running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe), defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth (back), linebacker Jerod Mayo (left knee), and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back), all limited all week, are listed as QUESTIONABLE (50-percent chance). Bodden is no longer on the injury report, yet we still haven't received confirmation from the club that he's been let go altogether.
On the Steelers' side, their linebacking corps has taken a hit, with James Harrison (eye) and backup Jason Worilds (quadricep) OUT, while starter James Farrior (calf) is QUESTIONABLE. Wide receiver Hines Ward (ankle) did not practice all week, but is officially listed as QUESTIONABLE. Pittsburgh's banged-up offensive line will also be without guard Doug Legursky (toe), who also did not practice this week.
UPDATE … 4:30
Finally, the team announced that Bodden has been let go, as has rookie DB Malcolm Williams from the practice squad. Victorian has indeed returned to the eight-man practice squad. That means there's still one open spot on the 53-man roster, which could be used to promote one of the PUP players (Kevin Faulk, perhaps?).