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Springs back to action

Posted by Adam Kilgore, Globe Staff  December 13, 2009 08:28 PM

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On Monday, Shawn Springs knew he would he play, which was different from the past four weeks. Not only had Bill Belichick decided Springs was to dress today. He was going to start.


“Honestly, I don’t know,” Springs said. “You got to ask Bill about that kind of stuff, I promise you. I just come in here, get my book, and do my job.”


This offseason, Springs was, along with Fred Taylor and Joey Galloway, a high-profile free agent signing by the Patriots. His playing time tapered all season, until the game against the Colts when he was inactive for the first time.


But today Springs played, and he played well. He was right behind Steve Smith on the 41-yard touchdown that put the Panthers ahead, but it was the result of miscommunication by Brandon Meriweather. The safety had been responsible for the deep middle, but jumped an underneath route.


“Thanks, Meriweather,” Springs said, laughing, when asked about the play.


Springs, until today, had chosen to express much of his feelings on not playing. With the events of this week as a backdrop, Springs was asked if he feels like the players and coaching staff are on the same page.


“I think so,” Springs said. “We all understand. Each week, I think Bill does what he thinks is best for the team. It’s been working for him. You just got to go with it.”


Reporters kept trying. Had he remained inactive for a few more weeks, would his frustration have bubbled over?


“Nooope,” Springs said. “It’s all in how you look at things. Like for example, if y’all reporters got paid to do a job, and it turns out you can relax and watch it on TV, that might be something you might be excited about. I don’t know.”


Playing off one of the lighter moments of this week, a reporter asked Springs if he had watched the Jetsons on those Sunday afternoon when he wasn’t playing.


“No, I didn’t,” Springs said. “That was funny. I did like the Jetsons. Elroy was my favorite character, by the way.”


Springs was joined in the starting secondary by James Sanders, another defensive back who had seen scant playing time. Sanders, a starter last season, replaced Brandon McGowan at safety. Like Springs, Sanders had struggled in adjusting to a diminished role.


“It’s extremely hard, extremely difficult,” Sanders said. “But we’re professionals, and we have to be professional about it. I have to worry about the team. Definitely not trying to be a distraction and be professional about the situation. I am just proud I got my opportunity today.”


News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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