The good news for Fred Tayloris that he's been practicing with his Patriots teammates the past few weeks.
The bad is that he has yet to return to game action since injuring his ankle in early October.
Sitting at his locker after practice, the veteran running back talked to reporters curious about his potential return this weekend at Buffalo.
"This team has four healthy backs," he reasoned. "Strategically, the coaches are going to put us in the best situation. It's not like when I was the man. There was a greater sense of urgency to get back. Trust me, I want to be back more than anyone. What's the smart thing to do? To make sure I'm healthy when I do get back so there aren't any setbacks."
Throughout his 12-year NFL career, Taylor has fought through numerous injuries that have limited his playing time. Yet, there's always been a motivating factor for Taylor to return.
"Injuries are part of this game. From that standpoint, I always used to ask, 'Why?' but realizing that's part of the game.
"Just the improvement is motivating," he explained. "Being out there one day, seeing how it feels, then rest it, make sure it doesn't flare up. Whatever results you get from there, try to do a little bit more the next day. That's just the process."
When Taylor underwent surgery on his right ankle, head coach Bill Belichickhad to decide whether or not to end the ball carrier's season by placing him on injured reserve. Belichick chose to be patient and give Taylor the opportunity to contribute more this season.
"I'm grateful for not being on IR," said Taylor. "My window isn't getting bigger at this point in my career, it's shrinking."
This past Sunday against Carolina, the veteran running back worked out on the Gillette Stadium game field for quite some time before kickoff, but was eventually deactivated for the win over the Panthers.
"It didn't work out, obviously," Taylor lamented, "but the good thing is, we got the 'w,' which is more important."
Little did Titus Adamsknow how much of a role he would play in his NFL debut. Against the Panthers, the first-year defensive lineman from Nebraska was elevated from the New England practice squad and wound up seeing significant minutes when starting nose tackle Vince Wilfork'sday ended early with a foot injury.
Adams was asked today what was going through his mind at the time.
"Just, 'My turn to play,' really," he replied. "Just do my job and not over-think it. Just try to play."
Originally drafted by the New York Jets in 2006, Adams also spent time with the Giants, Chargers, and Bengals before being signed by New England in the summer of 2008. He spent that entire season and most of this on the practice squad before getting his opportunity last weekend.
Through it all, Adams insists he's tried to stay optimistic that he'd get a chance to play eventually.
"You've got to come in here and do your job to help the team the best way possible. So, you have to come in with the same attitude all the time. I just try to keep a level head and give it all I've got."
Friday practice notes
Both Ty Warrenand Wilfork missed every day of practice this week, raising doubts about their availability this Sunday in Buffalo. They two defensive linemen were the only two players not in attendance for today's practice.
The rest of the Patriots wore shells and sweat pants for their Friday workout, which took place outside on the Gillette Stadium game field, once again in seasonably frigid, but sunny conditions.