Patriots notebook

Thomas takes high road

By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / December 15, 2009

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FOXBOROUGH - When Adalius Thomas walked into the locker room at Gillette Stadium yesterday, the outspoken linebacker was swarmed by the media.

Thomas, who was a healthy inactive against the Titans Oct. 18, was again inactive for Sunday’s 20-10 victory over the Panthers. On Thursday, Thomas criticized Bill Belichick’s decision to send him and three other players home for being tardy for an 8 a.m. meeting the day before.

Thomas was the only player among the four - Randy Moss, Gary Guyton, and Derrick Burgess were the others - who faced such a repercussion.

Thomas chose his words carefully yesterday, opting not to rehash or offer further commentary on the events of last week.

“We done moved on,’’ he said. “Last week is done.’’

Asked if he expected to face lingering effects as the Patriots prepared to travel to Buffalo Sunday, Thomas said, “I just try to be a professional and I try to do what I’m asked to do. I’m looking toward going out there and doing the same thing on and off the field when the time comes and I’m called upon.’’

During his appearance on WEEI’s “Dale and Holley Show’’ yesterday, defensive lineman Ty Warren said it was time to see “the so-called leaders on this team step up.’’

“We’re all grown men,’’ Warren said. “Some people will take heed and, maybe, some people won’t. We just got to find out who those people are. I’m not going to be running around the locker room pulling a 30-year-old man’s coattails all the time. At some point, you got to be a professional. I got kids at home. I don’t need to be taking care of anybody else. That’s the way I feel about it.’’

Asked if his tenure with the Patriots was working out, Thomas replied, “This is not a one-man show. The game will go on with or without you. That’s one thing anyone should realize. It can go on with or without you. You take the good with the bad. You learn from it, you move on.

“Just like any other week, whether you lose or you win, you watch the film, you make your corrections, and you move on.’’

Game-time decision
The decision to play Tom Brady wasn’t decided until the ailing quarterback came bounding out of the locker room Sunday, with backup quarterback Brian Hoyer at his side.

Brady was questionable with right shoulder, right finger, and rib injuries.

“Really, we waited until game time to make the final decision,’’ Belichick said yesterday. “[We] thought there was certainly a chance he would play, a good chance that he would play, but also a concern, so that’s why it was listed the way it was.’’

Tackle eligible
Rookie offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who was impressive in the five games he played at left tackle for the injured Matt Light, returned to action Sunday, showing versatility by playing right tackle.

“I’d say it’s a little unusual for tackles to play both sides at a high level, period,’’ Belichick said. “Usually when you look at a normal draft board, you look at tackles and you say this tackle is more of a left tackle, this tackle is more of a right tackle, and then you have a few guys - maybe a quarter of them - that you could say, ‘This guy could really be a swing tackle, potentially. He could play right tackle, he could play left tackle.’

“I think when you look at Vollmer, you look at him as we did last year and now after having him this year, he can legitimately play both tackles and the fact that all our tackles, at least we thought, [have] some ability to do that.’’

Many hats
When Sam Aiken, the Patriots’ special teams captain and emerging No. 3 receiver, was inactive Sunday with a shoulder injury, it left the team scrambling to fill his void. “If you lose a core player in the kicking game, like Sam was inactive - he’s really a starter on four teams,’’ Belichick said. “It isn’t always the same person that replaces him on each team, it can be a combination of different things and that was the case. That’s always a challenge on special teams; if you take one guy out, you’ve lost him on at least four teams.’’ . . . The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation will host their 17th annual Salvation Army and Patriots Children’s Holiday party today at Gillette Stadium from 5-7 p.m. More than 250 children from Salvation Army centers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island will be at the function, which will be highlighted by the “Wrap-a-Pat’’ game in which teams of children will race against each other in wrapping a Patriots player in Christmas wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows.

Adam Kilgore of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Michael Vega can be reached at

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