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PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK

Scott ready to start over again

Injury-plagued safety re-signs

Guss Scott could develop into a nice player if he can stay healthy in 2006. Yesterday, the Patriots signed the third-year safety to a one-year deal.

Scott injured his knee in training camp of his rookie season in '04 and missed the entire season. Last season, he suffered another season-ending knee injury after appearing in five games, making two starts. In his last game, he started against Atlanta and finished the game with six solo tackles, including a drive-stopping hit on tight end Alge Crumpler in the third quarter of the Patriots' 31-28 victory. Scott was placed on injured reserve Oct. 19.

The Patriots also have safety James Sanders, 22, in the defensive backfield to go along with veterans Rodney Harrison, Eugene Wilson, Artrell Hawkins, and Chad Scott, who can play safety and corner.

Harrison appears to be progressing from major knee surgery, and there are veterans available to provide depth in case he can not return to start the season. One is Tebucky Jones, the Patriots' first-round pick (22d overall) in 1998. Jones, an unrestricted free agent after getting cut by Miami, has been cleared to go all out after suffering a season-ending chest muscle injury in October against Kansas City. Jones, 31, said he's been in Connecticut rehabilitating, and is waiting to hear from teams.

''The important thing is that I'm healthy and ready to go," Jones said.

Time tested
Adam Schefter, reporter for the NFL Network makes a valid point, confirmed by the league office: the Patriots will not be able to consummate a new deal with Richard Seymour until August at the earliest. Under the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement, a player can't have his contract redone twice in the same 12-month period. Seymour ended his holdout with an adjustment to his contract last August. The Patriots have to leave space for what would likely be a very large cap hit if Seymour's deal could be done. The Patriots also appear to be trying to get a deal done with Deion Branch, which could eat up significant room if Branch lands something close to what David Givens got in Tennessee (five years, $24 million with $8 million in guaranteed bonus money) . . . The Patriots' four-game exhibition slate includes the first game broadcast on NFL Network -- Saturday, Aug. 19 -- vs. Arizona at Gillette Stadium at 8 p.m. The Patriots open their exhibition schedule Friday, Aug. 11 against the Falcons in Atlanta on Channel 4 at 8 p.m. The Patriots are also on the road against the Giants, and host the Redskins.

Kicking game
There's been a lot of confusion about Adam Vinateri's legal representation after he hired Gary Uberstine, who worked out a deal for the kicker with the Indianapolis Colts. NFL Players Association general counsel Richard Berthelsen said, to his knowledge, Vinatieri never officially signed with agent Jonathan Hurst, who works for suspended agent Neil Cornrich. At least there was no official data. Once Cornrich had been suspended by the NFLPA, Vinatieri was free to choose a different agent. Vinatieri allowed Hurst to negotiate on his behalf, and, in fact, he began talks with the Green Bay Packers and Patriots. When talks weren't going well, Vinatieri decided to bring Uberstine into the picture. Because Vinatieri never officially signed with Hurst, the five-day waiting period players are required to adhere between firing an agent and hiring a new one was not applicable . . . Green Bay Packers wide receiver Javon Walker has expressed a desire to be traded, which could interest the Patriots . . . Mum's the word from kicker Paul Edinger's agent, Ken Harris. Edinger visited Foxborough the same day Vinatieri signed with the Colts . . . Former Patriots cornerback Ty Law will visit Tennessee and Seattle next week. The Chiefs are also interested . . . The Patriots have not called agent Carl Poston regarding clients Law, Charles Woodson, or LaVar Arrington.

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