Mitchell (knee) 'feeling well' as he prepares for AFC title game

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Mitchell (knee) 'feeling well' as he prepares for AFC title game

FOXBORO -- Malcolm Mitchell indicated before Wednesday's practice that he's feeling pretty good despite missing last weekend's Divisional Round matchup with the Texans due to a knee injury. 

"I'm feeling well," he said. "Just taking it day by day. Preparing. I just go from there."

Mitchell suffered the injury in a Week 16 win over the Jets at Gillette Stadium. He missed the regular-season finale and has been limited in practice in recent weeks. 

Mitchell was present for Wednesday's fully-padded practice outdoors, and he said it was crucial for him to prepare as though he will play even if he's unsure as to whether or not he'll be called upon. 

"That's the most important thing," he said. "Be ready for any opportunities that could come about."

He added: "As a competitor, no one wants to miss a game. What's important is the team going out theere and competing whether I was out there or not."

Should Mitchell be at all limited moving forward, the Patriots would likely continue to lean upon Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan as their top options. Both Danny Amendola and Michael Floyd were in uniform for last weekend's playoff matchup with Houston as well. 

Hogan suffered a thigh injury that knocked him from the Texans game, but he said on Tuesday that he was progressing well, and he was also on the field for Wednesday's practice. 

Mitchell said there is a sense of confidence in the receivers room that because of their depth, they'll be good to go as a group even if one or two members of the unit are at less than 100 percent. 

"We know there's some things we can't control," he said, "but our coach does a good job of getting everybody ready."

Roethlisberger has Brady's jersey hung on the wall of his office

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Roethlisberger has Brady's jersey hung on the wall of his office

FOXBORO -- It was a rare moment between Super Bowl champion quarterbacks. Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger met on the Heinz Field turf before a game back in October, and Roethlisberger -- who wasn't playing that day due to injury -- brought to Brady a request

"Um, hey, listen," he said. "I've never done this before, but I would love to get a jersey at some point. It'd mean...There's not many I want to put in my office. You're the best, dude."

Brady was happy to oblige.

"Sure, I'd love to," Brady said. "I'll get you after the game."

During a conference call with Patriots reporters on Wednesday, Roethlisberger was asked about that interraction, and he sounded a little upset that Showtime's Inside the NFL cameras caught it. 

"I hate that those things get taped and [heard] because it wasn’t meant for that," he said. "I have it hanging in my office. I have a lot of respect for him. I think that’s very well known.

"I think he’s one of, if not the greatest, quarterbacks of all time. It’s been an honor to play against him, to call him a competitor, and so I put it up in my office with the likes of the Marinos and Elways and Kellys and things like that."

Brady was asked about Roethlisberger during a press conference a little later in the day, and it was mentioned to him that Roethlisberger gave his jersey some coveted wall space. 

"Ben is an incredible player, and he’s been that way since 2004 when he came into the league," Brady said. "I’ve always loved the way he plays, very tough, hard-nosed. He’s great for the city of Pittsburgh – a very tough, hard-nosed city. I have a lot of friends from there. He’s just been a great player. I think the respect is very mutual. To play at his level for as long as he has and with his style of play has been remarkable."

Patriots have a chance to work on ball-security during rainy practice

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Patriots have a chance to work on ball-security during rainy practice

FOXBORO -- The Patriots were outdoors for their first practice of AFC Championship week, as is usually the case, despite the steady rain falling on the fields behind Gillette Stadium. As they warmed up in full pads, coach Bill Belichick took the opportunity to remind them to take advantage of weather. 

"Great day to work on ball-security," he said. "Hell of a day to work on ball-security!"

Then Belichick turned to Dion Lewis -- who has never lost a game while active for the Patriots and in uniform, who set an NFL postseason record last weekend by scoring on a run, a pass and a kick-return -- and said, "Right, Dion?"

Lewis, of course, fumbled twice in his team's Divisional Round win over the Texans on Saturday. He said after the game that he had some methods to work on ball-security this week. Maybe, he said, he'd carry a ball around the team facilities for much of the week. Otherwise, he wasn't willing to go into detail. 

The Patriots had perfect attendance at Wednesday's practice. Only practice-squad defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton and practice-squad fullback Glenn Gronkowski were missing.

Receiver Chris Hogan, who left Saturday's game with a thigh injury, was present. Rookie wideout Malcolm Mitchell was also on the field and participating.