Maroney Cleared, Pats Back Taking Hits in Practice


The Patriots are getting some good news from the injury front, and expected 2007 workhorse back Laurence Maroney has been cleared to take some hits in practice for the first time this season.  The back finally shed his non-contact jersey on Monday, and could possibly see some playing time with the team this Friday when they travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers.

“He’s made steady progress,” head coach Bill Belichick said.  Maroney has been recovering from a shoulder injury, and his head coach has stated how important it is for him to try and see some action before the team opens the season September 9th vs the Jets.  “The situation varies from player to player, but in general, players need to practice and play to get ready to play,” Belichick said. “If we wanted to save everybody, we’d just sit around here for six weeks and not do anything. I don’t think we’d have a very good football team. But everybody would be safe.”

Maroney is the man the Pats want to be the feature back in their offense in 2007, and he can’t do that unless healthy.  Last season in his rookie year playing along with Corey Dillon, Maroney was 2nd on the team with 745 rushing yards with an average of 4.3 yards per carry and six TD’s.  He also caught 22 passes for 194 yards and a score.  With Heath Evans, Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk behind him, the team has to do all it takes to ensure Maroney is as close to 100 percent as possible heading into the season.

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