The Patriots announced Friday afternoon they have placed defensive lineman Mike Wright on season-ending injured reserve. Wright suffered a concussion in New England's win over the Colts on Nov. 21, and had been a no-show at practice and in games since that point. The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Wright had only played in 10 games, but was the team leader in sacks on the season with 5.5. The 28-year-old out of Cincinnati, who was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent in 2005, finished the year with 17 total tackles.

Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork was fined $10,000 by the NFL for driving the quarterback into the ground on a play in last Sunday's Patriots-Dolphins game. Wilfork's hit on Miami quarterback Chad Henne came in the third quarter of the regular-season finale at Gillette Stadium. Wilfork sacked Henne, but the play was ruled a helmet-to-helmet hit and the New England defender was penalized 15 yards.

 

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Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty is one of five finalists for the NFL Rookie of the Year award.

 

The Rutgers product, drafted with the 27th overall pick, has 82 tackles (69 solo), seven interceptions with 110 return yards and two fumble recoveries.

 

The other finalists are Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, Browns defense back Joe Haden, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams.

 

Running back Fred Taylor joined the Dale & Holley show Friday morning for his weekly appearance on WEEI's Patriots Friday.

 

Taylor said that despite missing much of the season with injuries, he has no problem with coaches chewing him out along with the players in the film room in preparation for the playoffs. "I'm not perfect by any means," he said. "I need to make sure I'm on top of everything, trying to continue to improve myself. Constructive criticism is great. You just listen, you take heed to it, and you try to get better from it."

Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo checked in with the Dale & Holley show Friday morning as part of WEEI's Patriots Friday.

 

Asked if Bill Belichick has been keeping the team grounded by hammering the players in the film room," Mayo said: "Every single day. We went over every bad play that we've had in the last couple of weeks, and there have been quite a few."

 

Adam Schefter of ESPN made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning as part of WEEI's Patriots Friday.

 

Schefter talked about coaching moves around the league. He said the Dolphins never made an offer to Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh before apparently deciding to retain Tony Sparano. Schefter said Harbaugh has lost his leverage and now appears likely to return to the Cardinal.

 

FOXBORO — Adam Vinatieri and Lonie Paxton were playoff heroes for the Patriots, posting clutch performances in the postseason on several occasions to lift New England to greatness.



Jets coach Rex Ryan was at it again on Thursday as he attempted to shower Peyton Manning with praise in advance of his team's showdown with the Colts Saturday night in Indianapolis. But in the process of crediting Manning preparatory skills, he slighted Tom Brady. 

 

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady had one of the best months of his career in December. Now, the NFL has recognized him for it.

 

For the fourth time in his career, Brady has earned AFC Offensive Player of the Month honors as he was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for December on Thursday. Brady led the Patriots to a 4-0 record, including back-to-back 300-yard games, with 326 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-3 win vs. the Jets on Dec. 6 and a 369-yard effort with two touchdowns in snowy conditions in a 36-7 win at Chicago on Dec. 12.

 

FOXBORO -- Patriots starting right guard Dan Connolly shed his protective non-contact red jersey on Thursday as the Patriots continued full-contact practice in full pads in their bye week. 

 

Connolly missed the final two games of the season after suffering a concussion during the same Green Bay game in which he returned a kick-off a record 71 yards. Danny Woodhead and Dan Koppen remained in the non-contact red jerseys at practice on the lower practice field outside Gillette Stadium.