Patriots owner Robert Kraft told the Associated Press on Tuesday it's a realistic goal that the owners and players will reach a new collective bargaining agreement before the end of the 2010 season. Speaking at the NFL owners' meetings in Chicago, Kraft sounded an optimistic note about the state of the negotiations, saying "we're moving ahead" and he'd "like to see this get done before the season ends." Asked if that was a realistic objective, he added, "to me it is."
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Doc Rivers said Monday that he would rest Shaquille O'Neal Tuesday night when the Celtics play at Philadelphia in their fourth exhibition game. Rivers didn't stop there, electing to rest Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett as well as Delonte West (back spasms), according to a Tweet from the team's account.
O'Neal has also been dealing with a sore hip, but Allen, Pierce and Garnett were simply given the night off. Including Sunday's game with the Raptors, the Celtics are playing five games in seven days. The starting lineup for the Celtics tonight will be: Nate Robinson, Von Wafer, Marquis Daniels, Glen Davis and Jermaine O'Neal.
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Deion Branch spoke to the media Tuesday following his return to the Patriots after Monday's trade that sent the wide receiver from the Seahawks to New England in exchange for a fourth-round pick.
The Super Bowl XXXIX MVP was asked if he felt he was brought to New England to replace Randy Moss.
"That's the first thing I want to let you all know -- I am not Randy Moss," said Branch, who participated in practice. "I wasn't Randy Moss when I was here and I'm not here to replace him. I'm going to do what the offense asks of me and that's what I'll do ... I'm just a piece of the puzzle. I'm not the answer to anything. I'm just a piece of the puzzle."
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FOXBORO -- Wide receiver Deion Branch, acquired Monday from the Seahawks, was on the practice field Tuesday as he began his second tour with the Patriots.
Wearing No. 84, Branch walked on to the field with Tom Brady. The Patriots dealt a fourth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft for the Super Bowl XXXIX MVP, who ranks 13th in franchise history with 213 catches.
In other practice news, Fred Taylor (foot) was not spotted on the field but cornerback Terrence Wheatley (foot) and defensive lineman Mike Wright were on the field. Wheatley has not played in a game or practiced since injuring his foot in the preseason.
For more Patriots news visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.
The Patriots made the acquisition of wide receiver Deion Branch official, announcing that the trade with the Seahawks had been completed in exchange for an undisclosed draft choice, reportedly the better of the team's two fourth-round picks in the 2011 draft. In order to free a roster spot for Branch, the Patriots placed tackle Nick Kaczur on injured reserve with a back injury.
Branch, the Super Bowl XXXIX MVP, is expected to practice with the Patriots this afternoon. He had started three games for Seattle this year, catching 13 passes for 112 yards and one touchdown.
Kaczur, a mainstay of the offensive line, has missed all of the Patriots' preseason and regular season games this year after suffering an injury in training camp. The 2005 third-rounder had started at least 13 games in each of the previous three seasons.
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