Crable’s outlook: healthy

Patriots LB may finally get to play

By Peter Martin
Globe Correspondent / May 16, 2010

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BROCKTON — Patriots linebacker Shawn Crable, who has not played a down since being drafted two years ago, says he is finally healthy and will be ready to go when training camp kicks off this summer.

“I feel good physically,’’ Crable said before he took the field with some of his teammates as part of the Kevin Faulk Celebrity Softball game to raise money for the United Way.

“I am working on fine-tuning some stuff, but I feel good and ready to go.’’

Crable was selected by the Patriots out of the University of Michigan in the third round of the 2008 draft, but has never managed to get into the active lineup because of injuries to his leg, groin, and back.

“It’s been a different experience,’’ Crable said of watching his team play without him for the last two seasons. “It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever been injured. It’s one of those deals that you just kind of have to get used to and move on from there.’’

The big, rangy Crable figures to play outside linebacker and will use his size (6 feet 5 inches, 243 pounds) and speed to disrupt opposing passing attacks.

Crable racked up 16 sacks in his time at Michigan, and set a school record with 28 1/2 stops behind the line of scrimmage during his senior year. But it has been a long while since he was on a football field and there could be an adjustment period.

“Mentally I’m a lot better now,’’ said Crable, a full participant in Patriots’ offseason program. “I know what’s going on, I know the playbook better, I don’t feel like I am walking into the unknown.’’

Though there are some question marks in the Patriots’ linebacking corps, there are certainly plenty of players, but Crable says that’s a good thing.

“I like competition, it works out well,’’ he said. “Bill [Belichick] knows what he is doing so I don’t get too involved in who’s coming and who’s leaving and stuff like that. I just do my job.’’

As for the lack of notoriety that come with being a third-round pick who hasn’t played in two years, that’s just fine with Crable.

“It didn’t bother me then and it doesn’t bother me now, I just play football,’’ he said.

Other past and present Patriots were out in force last night for the charity game, including Faulk, Nick Kaczur, Sebastian Vollmer, Stephen Gostkowski, Tedy Bruschi, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

“We’re just happy to be out here supporting a good cause and raising money for the kids,’’ Green-Ellis said before the game.

Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker says although he injured two ligaments last season, only one required surgery.

Welker, speaking at his camp in Oklahoma City, told the Associated Press that although the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee were injured during the Patriots’ regular-season finale, the MCL didn’t require surgery.

“If you have that healing on its own, it almost becomes stronger,’’ he said.

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