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PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK

Washington sizing up his opportunity

K. WASHINGTON 6 feet 3 inches K. WASHINGTON 6 feet 3 inches

At 6 feet 3 inches and 218 pounds, Kelley Washington already stands out in the Patriots' receiving corps. He hopes to put that size to good use.

"I think my biggest attribute is physical toughness," he said yesterday on a conference call after finalizing his contract. "I definitely feel I'm going to bring a physical presence on the football field being a bigger-style receiver."

Washington noted he can be versatile, playing in the slot or on the outside, as well as on special teams. He said his injured hamstring, which limited him to five games in 2006, is feeling fine and that he plans to participate in the Patriots' offseason program (which begins next week).

Washington, who said he's looking forward to competing with eight other receivers on the roster, credited his time as a minor league baseball player for helping him on the football field.

"I don't believe there is anything like minor league baseball," he said. "I always think about what it took to get to the NFL and what it takes every single day to maintain your body and everything that it takes to be a professional, I think I learned there, the humility, the maturity -- mentally and physically."

Hurricane watch
The Patriots worked out three players from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.: linebacker Jon Beason, safety Brandon Meriweather, and defensive lineman Kareem Brown. Beason said he was worked out one-on-one by coach Bill Belichick before watching tape with him. "It was 10-15 minutes of random game tape," said Beason, "and he was asking what type of coverage was being played, what checks were made, who made mistakes on plays, and what fronts were used. The rumor was that he'd put you up on the [chalk] board and try to trick you, seeing how smart you were. But it was real reserved compared to the other teams I've talked with." Vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli also was present at the workout.

No flag on the play
Carl Francis, director of communications for the NFL Players Association, clarified a published report that indicated the association was requesting a review of the trade that sent receiver Wes Welker from the Dolphins to the Patriots because it may have violated the collective bargaining agreement. Francis said the situation was a miscommunication and that the Players Association had no such concerns. "It had nothing to do with the way the deal was done," Francis said. "It was just a letter of inquiry to the Management Council on the actual contract. It wasn't an official grievance and the player, or anyone else, didn't ask us to do it." Welker's deal is a five-year, $18.1 million package, with a $5.5 million signing bonus and a $3.5 million option bonus due in 2008.

Mike Reiss can be reached at mreiss@globe.com.

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