FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – The New England Patriots, whose ability to overcome injuries is the subject of nationwide debate, might be without three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Richard Seymour for Sunday’s game in Atlanta.

Seymour was not on the field Wednesday or Thursday during the time the media was allowed to view practice. He was listed as questionable on Thursday’s injury report, which said he missed part of practice.

Two weeks ago in Pittsburgh, safety Rodney Harrison suffered a season-ending knee injury. Left tackle Matt Light is lost indefinitely with an injured ankle, and third-down running back Kevin Faulk is out with an injured foot. Cornerbacks Tyrone Poole and Randall Gay both have been sidelined with ankle injuries with Poole missing the last three games and Gay missing the last two.

Still reeling from a 41-17 home loss to the San Diego Chargers last Sunday, the Patriots (2-2) now might have to face the Falcons’ top-ranked rushing offense without Seymour, their leading tackler.

Coach Bill Belichick said there likely would be some “game-time decisions” on the injured players.

Seymour appeared to be hurt while playing goal-line fullback against the Chargers. He was the lead blocker on Corey Dillon’s 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and Dillon landed on top of him in the end zone.

The Patriots’ medical staff attended to Seymour on the sideline. He missed the next defensive series before returning to the game and playing well into the second half.

Last year, Seymour missed the regular-season finale as well as the Patriots’ first two playoff games with a knee injury. He returned for the Super Bowl win over Philadelphia.

For the Patriots, the rash of injuries follows the offseason losses of inside linebackers Tedy Bruschi and Ted Johnson, plus the free-agent departure of cornerback Ty Law. Bruschi has said he will sit out the season while recovering from a stroke he suffered in February. Johnson retired on the eve of training camp, citing the cumulative effect of a series of concussions.

The personnel changes have led many to speculate that the Patriots’ run of overcoming adversity might be ending. Asked about the Patriots’ plight, Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer said after last week’s game that teams can only withstand so many injuries before the personnel losses begin to take a toll.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady fired back on Wednesday. “I just assumed you talk about your own team,” Brady said of Schottenheimer. “You don’t talk about our team. He has no business talking about our team. He’s not our coach. We’ll let our coach talk about our team. We’ll let our players talk about our team.”

Asked about Brady’s public rebuttal, Belichick on Thursday said, “I have a lot of respect for what Tom thinks and what he says. I don’t really have any problem with what he said.”

Linebacker Willie McGinest also supported Brady.

“I didn’t even know he said anything” about Schottenheimer’s comments, McGinest said. “But Tom’s a feisty guy. He says what’s on his mind. He’s on our team, so I’ll support whatever he says.

“I’m not paying attention (to) or caring (about) what everybody else around the league and the world is talking about. It’s irrelevant to what we’ve got going on here,” McGinest said.

AP-ES-10-06-05 1706EDT


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