Patriots

Dowling lands on IR; Faulk, Deaderick activated

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Dowling lands on IR; Faulk, Deaderick activated

PITTSBURGH - Batten down the cornerbacks. The Patriots are just heaving them overboard this week.

On Friday, came the surprise release of Leigh Bodden. Saturday afternoon, it's rookie Ras-I Dowling being placed on season-ending injured reserve with what the Boston Herald reports is a torn tendon in his leg.

The loss of Dowling, a second-round pick whose time at Virginia was marred by myriad injuries, leaves the Patriots with just four active cornerbacks heading into Sunday's game against the Steelers - Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Antwaun Molden and Phillip Adams.

Molden and Adams are players the Patriots signed after they were released by the Texans and Niners, respectively.

The Dowling move puts the release of Bodden in a different light. Even though Dowling has been injured, it figured he'd be good to go in the near future. Why else would they release Bodden with so little depth? But the fact Dowling's season ended a day later makes the Bodden release a standalone move.

Whatever was said in the Friday morning meeting Bodden had with Bill Belichick, it's clear the two sides believed they were better off without each other and - given Dowling's situation - the Patriots had apparently had it with Bodden.

Bodden was never a visible disruption in the locker room and, quite often, you can sense a player who's discontented by his actions.

The Patriots have two practice-squad corners they could elevate to the roster next week. Meanwhile, Asante Samuel has been voicing his discontent in Philadelphia with his role on the Eagles. A trade for their former Pro Bowler seems a stretch from a "locker room fit" perspective. Samuel, while a very good performer, isn't what you'd call a team-first guy and he left a sour taste in Foxboro.

As for the activations, it will be interesting to see what extent the Patriots rely on Kevin Faulk as the 35-year-old returns from last season's knee injury. Brandon Deaderick will help provide some depth on the defensive line, which is needed since Myron Pryor and Mike Wright have both been IR'd.

Patriots-Falcons injury report: Gilmore, Rowe out

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Patriots-Falcons injury report: Gilmore, Rowe out

As expected, after not practicing all week, Patriots cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore (concussion) and Eric Rowe (groin) have been ruled out for Sunday night’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

The full Patriots and Falcons injury report:

Tom Brady: Injuries like his, Gordon Hayward's 'big reality check for all of us'

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Tom Brady: Injuries like his, Gordon Hayward's 'big reality check for all of us'

FOXBORO — You’d have to go back to 2008 to find the last “you’ve got to be kidding me” injury to open a Boston season before Gordon Hayward. 

That injury, of course, was the torn ACL suffered by Brady on a hit to the left leg from Bernard Pollard with 7:27 left in the first quarter of Week 1. Brady missed the rest of the season and the Pats went on to miss the playoffs despite going 11-5 under Matt Cassel. 

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Brady, who reached out to Aaron Rodgers last Sunday after the Packers quarterback was lost for the season, said he felt for Hayward after the Celtics’ key free agent acquisition suffered a fracture-dislocation of his left ankle 5:15 into the season opener against the Cavaliers Tuesday.

“It’s just a big reality check for all of us because we all think we’re invincible to some degree, and then you go and you have this really tough injury that just happens,” Brady said. “It is tough and everyone probably goes through something a little different or it hits them at different times, and I feel bad for [Hayward and Rodgers], but I’m sure they’ll both come back stronger and better than ever. 

“That’s what you have to do as an athlete. You’re always faced with adversities and you’ve got to overcome them. Mental toughness is a big part of that. I know both those players have a lot of that.”