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Slater makes it all the way to captain

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By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / September 9, 2011

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FOXBOROUGH - A week ago, wide receiver Matthew Slater just wanted to make the Patriots’ 53-man roster. He did, and this week his teammates thought enough of him to vote him as one of six captains.

“I’ve always just tried to pride myself on working hard and leading by example, and hopefully I can continue to do that,’’ said Slater, the captain of the special teams unit.

Also named captains were Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Logan Mankins, and Devin McCourty.

Mayo, who was named a captain in his second season in 2009, received the honor for the third consecutive year.

“It just means leading by example and making sure everyone is doing the right thing,’’ Mayo said.

“Coach can’t be there all the time, so I feel like that’s the responsibility of a captain.’’

McCourty, who was a captain at Rutgers, also was honored to be selected.

“When your teammates get to vote for you and show how much they believe in you and how much they’re behind you as a leader, I think it’s important for me to try to continue doing what I’ve been doing,’’ McCourty said.

Mankins is a captain a year after missing the first seven games because of a contract dispute. Mankins returned, had a strong second half, and has maintained the respect of his teammates.

Mayo said he could understand why young players McCourty and Slater were voted captains.

“Those guys came in with the right attitude and put in a lot of work into what they do. It shows up on the field and they’re respected by their teammates,’’ Mayo said.

On Wednesday, coach Bill Belichick did not release the names of the captains, but rather said his team is filled with leaders.

“I think we have a lot of good leadership on this team,’’ he said. “And regardless of who the captains are, I think the leadership will come from all the players who provide that, not just the captains.’’

Vollmer absent The Patriots’ first practice participation/injury report of the season was released yesterday.

Offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer did not participate for the second consecutive day because of a back injury.

Cornerback Leigh Bodden (hand) and wide receiver Julian Edelman (hand) both fully participated.

The following players were limited in practice: defensive end Mark Anderson (knee), cornerback Kyle Arrington (hip), offensive lineman Dan Connolly (foot), linebacker Jermaine Cunningham (groin), linebacker Dane Fletcher (thumb), wide receiver Taylor Price (hamstring), running back Stevan Ridley (ankle), linebacker Jeff Tarpinian (knee), running back Shane Vereen (hamstring), and offensive lineman Ryan Wendell (calf).

Not included was Brady, who has been on the report every week since 2008.

Full throttle The Patriots practiced in full pads for the second straight day on the field at Gillette Stadium. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, teams are allowed to hold padded practices on consecutive days once during the season. The Patriots cashed in that opportunity this week. Overall, teams can have a maximum of 14 padded practices. Eleven must be in the first 11 weeks of the season.

No shows Running backs Charles Clay and Daniel Thomas were the only players listed on the Dolphins’ practice participation/injury report. Both sat out with hamstring injuries . . . Monday night’s game in Miami is sold out, the Dolphins announced yesterday.

Shalise Manza Young of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Monique Walker can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @monwalker.

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