Vollmer Ready To Return?

After appearing in just one of the Patriots' six games this season, mountainous offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer says he's looking forward to getting back on the field. More news and notes inside.

Vollmer hopes to return against Steelers
The Sports Xchange

   --OL Sebastian Vollmer is hoping to get back on the field this week against Pittsburgh. He's missed five games due to a back injury.
Asked if he'll be back Sunday, Vollmer simply said, "We'll see how it goes." Rookie Nate Solder has been filling in admirably since Vollmer sustained the injury.

   --RB Kevin Faulk doesn't anticipate a change in his role upon returning to the lineup. Faulk started the season on the physically unable to perform list after rehabilitating from offseason knee surgery.
   "My role has always been the same -- do what I got to do to help the team," Faulk said. "If I'm playing or if I'm on the sideline answering questions, I'll do it. My role now is just to practice and try to get better and try to get back on the playing field."

   --OL Dan Koppen is out for the season due to an ankle injury, but he's made progress since he got hurt. He's out of a walking boot and is actually walking without crutches.
   "I just got off crutches, so I'm pretty happy about that," Koppen said. "I just got back into working out and I'm taking it slow. No rush to rush back now. Just get 100 percent and get ready to go next year."

   --TE Rob Gronkowski made headlines this weekend for posing in photos with an adult film actress who was wearing his jersey.
   "I intended to hurt no one," Gronkowski said. "I love this organization, love being part of here and everything and definitely not trying to put anyone on the map or anything, but like I said, I'm just here for the (game against the) Steelers.
   "All I care about is the Steelers, and all I care about is this team and being here with the team from this week and practicing and getting better every day."

   --Although they've had success in recent years against the Steelers, the Patriots are still wary of Pittsburgh's defense, which is ranked among the league leaders.
   "They're a big physical defense that plays very hard -- well coached (and) they don't make many mental errors at all," QB Tom Brady said. "And then they have some exceptional playmakers like Troy Polamalu.
"When he's not in there, you actually see what kind of influence he has on that defense because of his ability to make plays for them. They're very well-rounded. They always lead the league in defense."

   --Some Patriots enjoyed their bye week at home with their families. Others traveled, including QB Tom Brady.
   "I was with my kids," he said. "We went on vacation to the Bahamas. I was with my wife and my kids and just to see them play and build sand castles on the beach, you never think it's going to be this much fun. You realize how much your mom and dad really love you when you're able to spend some time with your kids."

   --DL Albert Haynesworth hasn't had much of an impact this year with zero tackles since Week 1 and two missed games due to a back injury, but he's hoping his experience will pay dividends down the stretch.
   "I feel fine. I just need to keep working and get that rust off and get back to that form I was in Tennessee," Haynesworth said. "I think we're OK (as a defensive line). We're on the up and up. I think we need to get better, but I think we're headed that way."

   BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- The number of interceptions by Vince Wilfork in 2011. Anthony Pleasant (2001) is the only other Patriots defensive lineman to record two interceptions in the same season.

   QUOTE TO NOTE: "Anyone want to talk about the Steelers?" -- TE Rob Gronkowski when pressed about photos that surfaced this weekend in which an adult film actress was wearing his jersey.

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