Players who'll be attending meetings and rehabbing, but not suiting up and banging heads while they are on the PUP include:
Rodney Harrison – The Patriots starting safety and team leader tore three ligaments in his knee in the third game of the regular season last year (at Pittsburgh). He was placed on injured reserve September 27th and the injury kept him out for the rest of the season.
Bills running back Willis McGahee suffered a similar injury in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl while playing for the Miami Hurricanes. The footage was disturbing to say the least. McGahee was 21 and sat out his whole rookie season as a result. Dolphins quarterback Daunte Culpepper, 28, also tore the same three ligaments on Halloween of 2005 against the Panthers. Harrison was 32 when he was placed on IR.
"I have all the respect in the world for Rodney Harrison," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said shortly after Harrison was injured. "I told him that when we brought him here, and he's made great contributions to this team. There's no question about it."
His age makes rehab time difficult to determine and no official statements have been made, but it has been said that his rehabilitation is ahead of schedule. Don't expect the team or Harrison to rush his return to the field. At Harrison's age, it would probably be better to be cautious than hurry him back. The veteran is in tremendous shape and his work ethic is legendary, so starting the season opener is not out of the question. However, the more likely scenario would be Harrison coming back around midseason and helping the team down the stretch and into the playoffs, much like Tedy Bruschi did last year.
Dan Koppen – A torn rotator cuff and dislocated shoulder (both occurring during the November 13th game against Miami) kept the Patriots starting center off the field for the rest of the season. Russ Hochstein filled in at center while Koppen was down. Koppen's offseason surgery reportedly went well, but rookie offensive lineman Dan Stevenson was seen playing center at mini-camp and may be asked to fill in if Koppen isn't ready. The Patriots signed undrafted free agent Brian Barthelmes, and Gene Mruczkowski is versatile enough to play guard and center as well.
Randall Gay – Corner back Randall Gay played through an ankle injury during the first part of last season. He was finally placed on IR November 15th, two days after recording two solo tackles at Miami. He did not return for the rest of the 2005 season, nor was he at mini-camp in June. His return is difficult to predict given the persistent nature of his injury, but he will hopefully be back to give Ellis Hobbs and Asante Samuel a breather by the start of the regular season.
Nick Kaczur – After Matt Light (reportedly healthy) went down last season, Kaczur started 11 games for the Patriots as a rookie offensive tackle. He hurt his shoulder in the December fourth game against the Jets and was inactive during the two following games. He returned to play three consecutive games, but did not play in the playoff game against Denver.
Patrick Pass – Pass was inactive for five campaigns last season, twice in consecutive games. The fullback injured his hamstring on Halloween of 2005 and it stayed with him all season. WithKevin Faulk healthy and Garrett Mills in the picture, Pass has not secured a spot on the roster for the season. He'll need to prove he's healthy in training camp if he wants to stick around.