Spotlight: Harrison and Washington

FOXBORO - As the dust clears following the first preseason game of the year against Tampa, both Safety Rodney Harrison and Receiver Kelley Washington are just happy to be back on the field and playing for a job.

FOXBORO - As the dust clears following the first preseason game of the year against Tampa, both Safety Rodney Harrison and Receiver Kelley Washington are just happy to be back on the field and playing for a job.

Harrison Pleased After First Game Back

Harrison had a string a freak injuries he had to work his way back from. He had a potentially career threatening ACL injury to his knee in a 2005 regular season game against Pittsburgh; a fractured shoulder blade in Week 7 last season against Indy; and another knee injury later in the year against Tennessee.

Harrison said he could not have made the long road back on the field without the Patriots' training staff, including Mike Woicik, strength and conditioning coach; Harold Nash, assistant strength coach; Jim Whalen, head athletic trainer; and Joe Van Allen assistant trainer and director of rehab for the Patriots.

"All those guys were very instrumental in my rehab," said Harrison about the training staff. "They can lay it out there for us, but it's up to us as players to work at it and take care of our bodies and that's what I did. I was very blessed and fortunate to have those guys around me. They understand my body and they were very patient in my rehab and it worked out.

"It's tough, very tough to come back from an ACL," he said "We're talking about with three ligaments (in the knee), it's even tougher. We have to deal with so many different obstacles, but that's part of life. It's just what I was faced with and you work hard at it and just hopefully wish for the best. It's just a day-to-day grind."

Harrison is pleased with the return of teammate and fellow safety Eugene Wilson, who spent most of last season on IR.

"It's just good to be back on the field. I know Eugene's excited," said Harrison. "We've both been injured the last couple of seasons. We've both worked extremely hard to get back on the field. Like I said, it's a day-to-day grind just trying to stay healthy and to do all the right things to make sure we're on the field to help our team."

Harrison said he is not concerned the Patriots were unable to field a complete team in the first preseason game against Tampa last Friday. Several players, including Troy Brown, Richard Seymour, Donte Stallworth, and Randy Moss, among others didn't play.

"It's all part of football life," said Harrison, who briefly saw the field to make one solo tackle in the game. "Nothing is ever going to be perfect. You're going to have guys who are injured, hurt, and not feeling good. You just load up the guys that you have out there and you go to war and that's the only thing you concern yourself with. The guys you have on the field right now."

Washington Glad To Be Back

One of those players on the field was Kelley Washington. He caught two passes for 23 yards after he was placed on IR by the Bengals in Week 8 last season with a hamstring injury.

"I was put on IR last year and it just felt good to be out there with the team," said Washington, who has caught 72 passes for 893 yards in four seasons with the Bengals. "Being able to go out there and perform against another team felt good. I think we all have things to work on. We watched some film today and saw some things we did good and what we did bad and what we need to go out and work hard on to prepare for Tennessee."

With a roster loaded with talented receivers, Washington said he's going to only worry about what he does on the field to make the team.

"I feel you can only control your effort," he said. "What you put on film and what you do out here in practice. Everything else you just leave up to the organization. The only thing you can control out here is you effort and your determination. You can't worry about everything else that comes with making the team and what your role is going to be.

Kelley Washington runs a route at Patriots training camp August 12, 2007 (Photo Kevin Saleeba

Washington said he needs to be "consistent." He said "you know if you trust that you're going to get the job done and then you'll have a spot (on the team). As a player, all you can do is to be consistent."

"We always preach turnovers," said Harrison following practice. "Anytime you get the ball as a defense, that's your main goal. That's something you want to be. You want to be a physical, aggressive, ball-hocking type defense and the great defenses in the National Football League, the Baltimore's, the Chicago Bears, you know they are always up there in turnovers and always up there in tackles made."

When asked if Harrison was going to stay to watch the soccer game, he said "No. I'm going home to see my family." He added, "Go Revolution! I don't worry about all that other stuff. Go Revolution! Go Patriots! That's all I care about."

The next practice open to the public will be on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

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