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Pats' Brady: Branch situation was a distraction
By TIMES WIRES
Published September 14, 2006
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Tom Brady's opening-day problems may have been caused as much by the receiver who wasn't there as the opposing defense that was.
Three days after his mediocre performance in a 19-17 squeaker over the Buffalo Bills, the Patriots quarterback acknowledged his worries about whether Deion Branch would return distracted him from preparing for the game.
"Last week I spent a lot of energy thinking about it and, at the end of the week, it really wasted a lot of my time and a lot of my energy," Brady said Wednesday. "It was a big mental drain and I think it affected the way I played."
Branch was traded to Seattle for a first-round draft pick on Monday, ending Brady's fading hopes that his good friend and New England's best receiver would return.
Brady was 11-for-23 for 163 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, but the Patriots' 183-yard rushing attack and a solid defense contributed more to the victory.
BENGALS: The NFL absolved Cincinnati defensive end James Geathers for his hit on Chiefs quarterback Trent Green, emphasizing that quarterbacks are responsible for avoiding hits by sliding. Green sustained a serious concussion after a hit by Geathers and will miss at least two or three games. Ray Anderson, the NFL's senior vice president, said Green started "a late slide" as Geathers prepared to tackle him.
BILLS: Free safety Troy Vincent went on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, ending his season. The defense could be further depleted for Sunday's game at Miami with linebacker Takeo Spikes questionable because of a right hamstring injury.
BROWNS: Receiver Joe Jurevicius did not suffer broken ribs in the opener but will miss Sunday's game against the Bengals.
CARDINALS: Quarterback Kurt Warner was named NFC offensive player of the week. "It always means something, at any point in time, no matter where you're at in your career," said Warner, 35, "especially when you're old and washed up like I am." He completed 23 of 37 passes for 301 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in a victory over the 49ers.
CHARGERS: Authorities are seeking drunk driving charges against Steve Foley, the linebacker who was shot and seriously wounded by an off-duty police officer this month. Investigators have recommended that prosecutors charge Foley with misdemeanor DUI, the San Diego County District Attorney's office confirmed. Charges have not been filed. Foley's blood alcohol level was not disclosed, but the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said it exceeded the limit of impairment.
FALCONS: Defensive end John Abraham did not practice because of a groin injury, the severity of which is not being disclosed by the team. He suffered the injury in the season-opening victory at Carolina and was listed as questionable on the team's injury report for Sunday's home opener against the Bucs. Abraham was named the NFC's defensive player of the week Wednesday, but it remained unclear whether he'd be able to earn the honor a second straight time. Several players said they were preparing as if Abraham would not be available. They said they were hopeful he would respond to treatment over the next few days, but they felt they would be able to maintain if he is out. "We're just going to take it day by day and see how he feels," coach Jim Mora said. Also, selling corporate naming rights to the state-owned Dome has been a topic of discussion between the Georgia World Congress Center Authority - the state agency that operates the facility - and the Falcons. No decision has been made on whether to sell the naming rights, GWCC Authority executive director Dan Graveline said, but the authority has hired a consulting firm to analyze the possibility.
SEAHAWKS: Long-snapper J.P Darche will miss the remainder of the season with a hip injury that will require surgery. On Sunday the Lions blocked two field goals with pressure up the middle, Darche's area of blocking responsibility.
VIKINGS: The team asked the NFL to investigate a sudden disruption of its wireless communications system early in Monday night's victory at Washington, a failure of unknown origin that forced the Vikings to send in plays manually rather than by radio. The Redskins reported no such malfunctions with their equipment. Minnesota coach Brad Childress stopped far short of suggesting sabotage, but he said two experts could find nothing wrong with the Vikings' equipment. Asked if the problem was the result of an intentional act, Childress said: "I don't know."
TEXANS-PACKERS TRADE: Houston acquired running back Samkon Gado from Green Bay in exchange for running back Vernand Morency. Texans coach Gary Kubiak said he wanted to add a power runner to his duo of smallish running backs - rookies Wali Lundy and Chris Taylor. Gado has struggled to adjust to the zone-blocking scheme being run by new Packers coach Mike McCarthy. Morency, a third-round pick in 2005, is from Oklahoma State. He had 46 carries for 184 yards with two touchdowns last season.