|Brandon Deaderick ready to return to the field||10.25.11 at 5:07 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Brandon Deaderick and Ron Brace have a big supporter.
Asked if he believes the two young defensive linemen — who could come off the physically unable to perform list at any time — could help the Patriots’ defensive line, Albert Haynesworth didn’t hesitate to respond.
“They certainly can,” Haynesworth said Tuesday. “I watched some of the film from last year, they can really play. They’re strong, powerful young guys that can really play the game.”
Brace talked about returning from the PUP list last week, but on Tuesday, it was Deaderick’s turn. The seventh-round pick out of Alabama in 2010 — a 6-foot-4, 305-pounder — underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason. He started the year on the PUP list and sat out the first six weeks of the season before returning to practice last week. The team now has three weeks to decide to activate him or move him to season-ending injured reserve.
Deaderick made great progress in 2010. He played in 11 games as a rookie, making four starts in the regular season. (He also drew the starting assignment in the playoff loss to the Jets.) He was suspended briefly at the end of the regular season, but ended the year with 17 tackles (12 solo) and two sacks.
Now, he’s joining a defensive line that’s dealt with the losses of Myron Pryor and Mike Wright to season-ending injured reserve. If he’s healthy, he’ll certainly get an opportunity to see the field.
“Basically, I’ve got to prepare each week like I’m going to play,” Deaderick said on Tuesday before practice. “I’m just really focusing on getting better. I got a lot of ground to make up, so I’m just glad to be out there.
“Pretty much whatever they want me to play that week, that’s what I’ll be doing,” he added. “I’ll be inside, I’ll be outside. Whatever they call for, I gotta be prepared to play it. D-Line is d-line.”
The time on the PUP list was a frustrating stretch for Deaderick, who now says he’s all about looking forward.
“I’ve pretty much put that in the past, I’m ready to go now,” said Deaderick. “I’m preparing this week for Pittsburgh. The past is the past, I’m just looking forward to the future.”
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