Brown ready for his induction to Patriots Hall

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Brown ready for his induction to Patriots Hall

FOXBORO -- Troy Brown stood in the Hall at Patriot Place and watched some of his old highlights cued up on a video screen. Most of the plays barely elicited a reaction, save one. It was the catch he made during the Patriots' Super Bowl-winning drive against the Rams on February 3, 2002.

"Was that really 11 years ago?" he asked, looking up from the screen for a moment.

Yes, Brown's getting older, and when he returns to Foxboro, the reminders are all around. But, for the former Patriot great, with age have come honors and remembrances of a job well-done. He'll receive the franchise's highest honor on Saturday as he's inducted into the team's Hall of Fame.

"I think this is just a great way to cap off what everybody has been talking about, a great career that I put together for myself with the help of so many people," Brown said, donning his new red sports coat with the Patriots' Hall of Fame logo, signifying his induction. "You cant get any greater honor than this when youre a Patriot."

Brown reminisced about some of his career's defining moments Thursday, including a few of its lower points. Though he helped the team win three championships, his 15 years in New England were far from one big Super Bowl parade.

In his rookie season, he was released by then-coach Bill Parcells.

"Being cut is not fun,'' Brown said. "I was out for over half the season that year. I came back and I lost my number. I used to be Irving Fryar (No. 81) and I came back as Stanley Morgan (80). It wasn't fun. Parcells kind of beat me up a little bit when I got back.

"When the season was over, I was a free agent. I didn't know if he was going to sign me again. He did. He gave me another opportunity and it's been pretty good since then.''

Very good, in fact. Brown racked up 557 receptions for 6,636 yards and 31 touchdowns in his career as a receiver. An eighth-round draft pick, he also excelled on special teams and famously made the transition to defensive back when coach Bill Belichick need him there.

Vince Wilfork, who was Brown's teammate for four seasons, spoke glowingly of Brown, but more so for what Brown did off the field than on it.

"That guy, hell give you the shirt off his back," Wilfork said. "Hes just one hell of a person, not just football, but as a person, hes a great, great man.

Brown, 41, was asked at one point if he still felt as though he could play.

"Every once in a while I do," Brown said. "I can call Bill Belichick up right now and tell him I got about four or five good ones in me, but in all actuality it would probably be one play and then Im done."

Yes, he's getting older and he knows it. But he'll always take pride in the fact that as a younger man, he helped build the Patriots franchise into what it's become today.

"You hear people talk all the time about what it means to be a Patriot," Wilfork said. "He's a symbol of a Patriot."

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)