FOXBORO -- According to a ProFootballTalk.com report, the Patriots have released cornerback Leigh Bodden.

At his Friday morning press conference, coach Bill Belichick said, "We don't have any announcements to make right now," but when asked to comment on Bodden's play, he said: "We'll skip that right now."

The 30-year-old Bodden has played eight seasons in the NFL, including two with the Patriots. He had 17 tackles and four passes defended in five games (one start) this season.

FOXBORO -- As far as Vince Wilfork is concerned, he just wants to play.



FOXBORO -- Ras-I Dowling joined linebacker Dane Fletcher on the list of players missing Patriots practice Thursday inside the Dana-Farber Field House. Fletcher missed practice for a third straight day, out with a thumb injury, while Dowling, who was limited in Wednesday's full-pads practice, missed with a hip injury. The Pats had six other players who were limited, including running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe) and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (back).

FOXBORO -- Patriots rookie cornerback Ras-I Dowling was not spotted at the start of practice inside the Dana Farber Field House on Thursday as the team continued its preparation for the Steelers on Sunday in Pittsburgh. Dowling has not played since Week 2 against San Diego and has been inactive in three of the last four games with a hip injury. 

Dowling returned to practice on Tuesday and worked out in full pads on Wednesday before missing Thursday. Also missing for the third straight day was linebacker Dane Fletcher, who has been nursing a thumb injury. 

FOXBORO -- There are several reasons why the Patriots and Steelers have maintained an extended level of excellence over the years, but a sizable portion of their success can be traced back to the stable quarterback/coach relationship on each team.



FOXBORO -- Only linebacker Dane Fletcher missed practice on Wednesday, sitting out with what the Patriots listed as a thumb injury. In addition, New England had seven players who were limited, including running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe) and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (back). Here's the complete report:

Did Not Practice
LB Dane Fletcher (thumb)

Limited Participation
S Josh Barrett (thumb)
CB Leigh Bodden (thumb)
CB Ras-I Dowling (hip)
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe)

FOXBORO -- For the second straight day, linebacker Dane Fletcher was the only player not spotted at Patriots practice as the team practice in full pads in preparation for the Steelers this Sunday at Heinz Field. 

Fletcher was limited in practice and games before the bye week with thumb and hamstring ailments. Offensive lineman Marcus Cannon particpated in a full padded practice for the first time after working out with the team in shirts and shells on Tuesday. Cannon, a rookie out of TCU, was treated this spring and summer for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. 

FOXBORO -- Speaking for the first time since he was photographed with an adult film star over his bye-week break, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said he met with Robert Kraft and apologized for any bad publicity that resulted from the two pictures seen on Twitter. 

Six games into the season, the Patriots’ core has started to take shape, but there remain a handful of positions that are in a state of flux. Even as a key stretch of the schedule begins Sunday against the Steelers, there are positional battles being fought on both sides of the ball. Here are five different situations that bear watching over the next few weeks:



FOXBORO -- Offensive lineman Marcus Cannon was on the practice field for the first time on Tuesday as the Patriots began on-field preparations for the Steelers this Sunday in Pittsburgh. Cannon's story is an inspirational one as he was treated this spring for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and was fifth-round pick out of TCU.