JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jaguars running back Fred Taylor will miss Sunday’s game against New England because of a lingering hamstring injury.

“He’s just not ready to go,” Jags coach Jack Del Rio said. “We’ll give him the weekend to rest it, and hopefully we’ll have him back at practice next week.”

Del Rio said rookie Maurice Drew will start in Taylor’s place, and LaBrandon Toefield will serve as the backup.

Pats sign Sauerbrun

FOXBOROUGH, Mass.- The New England Patriots on Friday signed veteran punter Todd Sauerbrun, who becomes the team’s third punter in six weeks.

Coach Bill Belichick said at a press conference that the Patriots brought in Sauerbrun for a workout on Friday and then signed him. The Patriots play Jacksonville on Sunday.

“We looked at all our options, and feel like this one is the best one for the football team,” Belichick said.

Sauerbrun was waived by Denver in October.

The Patriots started the season with Josh Miller as punter, but signed Ken Walter for their Nov. 26 against Chicago when Miller was lost for the year to a shoulder injury. Walter punted four games, but was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday with a foot injury.

The Patriots worked out veteran Sean Landeta and practice squad punters Danny Baugher and Tom Malone before settling on Sauerbrun.

Sauerbrun said after testing positive for ephedra that he’d taken an on over-the-counter weight loss product that he strongly suspected contained it. Ephedra was banned by the NFL after the death of Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Korey Stringer during training camp in 2001.

Belichick called Sauerbrun’s suspension “a league issue.”

“All that stuff is done on a confidential basis,” he said. “Even if I knew anything, I wouldn’t say anything about it.”

Sauerbrun has a career punting average of 44.0 and a career net average of 36.0. He made the Pro Bowl three straight times, between 2001 and 2003, when he was with the Carolina Panthers.

AP-ES-12-22-06 1302EST

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