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Police: Wilhite was hurt running for help

By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / September 30, 2009

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According to a statement released by the North Attleboro Police Department yesterday, Patriots cornerback Jonathan Wilhite was not the victim of a home invasion Sunday morning, but suffered a pulled groin while running for help after two men approached him in the parking lot of his home.

Wilhite arrived home Sunday to see two men in the lot; one approached him on foot and yelled at him, according to the statement.

“Mr. Wilhite became concerned and ran to Cumberland Farms, where he asked the clerk to call police,’’ according to the statement. “He did mention that he had pulled his groin while he was running.’’

The incident remains under investigation by North Attleboro detectives.

According to the police log, officers went to an address matching Wilhite’s at 8:25 a.m. Sunday for “suspicious activity,’’ hours before the 1 p.m. kickoff between the Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons at Gillette Stadium. Wilhite, who was not hospitalized, warmed up before the game with Benjamin Watson and Leigh Bodden but was designated inactive by the Patriots.

The inactive listing came as a surprise, as Wilhite, 25, was not on the injury report last week and started the previous two games. Following the 26-10 win, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wilhite suffered an injury Sunday morning but did not elaborate.

Wilhite was in the locker room Monday in street clothes but did not appear to be injured. Players return to practice today in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium.

Jason Chayut, Wilhite’s agent, said Monday that he expects Wilhite to be at practice this week and that the incident was a police matter, but “nothing serious. The kid is fine.’’

When asked yesterday about the situation surrounding Wilhite, Belichick said, “Any personal situations, I’ll keep internally.’’

Incidents such as these raise questions about player safety and security. Patriots lineman Matt Light, the team’s player representative, said the union keeps players informed with tips on how to protect themselves, sending out frequent memos addressing identity theft and ways to protect their family and home.

“Security is a big part of this, so when you look at what happens across the country, you’re going to have that to some degree,’’ Light said. “Crime is crime, regardless of who it is.

“I think in today’s economy and the way things are going, people need to be more responsible with what they do, where they go, how they conduct themselves. You put yourself in a tough situation, then you can expect tough things to happen. That’s not always the case. Sometimes it happens at your home. So I think it’s just important that guys understand that we’re living in different times and you need to think safety first.’’

Christopher L. Gasper of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Monique Walker can be reached at mwalker@globe.com.

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