Mike Reiss reports:
Patriots coach Bill Belichick just held his regular Wednesday press conference, and he said that offensive guard Stephen Neal and offensive tackle Oliver Ross will begin practicing today.Both Neal (shoulder) and Ross (collarbone) have been on the physically unable to perform list.
The Patriots now have a three-week window to decide whether to activate Neal and Ross to the active 53-man roster or place them on season-ending injured reserve.
This is really great news for the Patriots. While I doubt either player will be ready for duty this week, the should be ready to go for next week.
My hunch is that Mark LeVoir showed enough against the Chargers that he is able to secure a roster spot, leaving Ross the odd man out. Neal should be signed to the active roster, and could result in the release of a receiver, or possibly someone who recently was called up, like BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
However, the bigger question with Neal is whether or not he will return to form. Billy Yates has performed well at times, but he has been inconsistent. If Neal is really 100% he could reclaim his job, and it would provide a needed boost to the Patriots line.
In unrelated news, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has stated that the Oakland Raiders will not pursue tampering allegations against the Patriots. Al Davis has previously stated that the Patriots had tampered with wide receiver Randy Moss. Bill Belichick later denied those allegations. The Raiders could be subject to fines and loss of draft picks for those allegations.
Lastly, in a roster move, recently released wide receiver Maurice Price was signed to the Patriots’ practice squad.