Decision On Brown Could Be The End

Troy Brown's future with the 2007 Patriots will be decided today. Brown, the last remaining player on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, must either be activated or placed on season-ending Injured reserve. The 15-year veteran may see his season and his career come to a close. If not, then it's the end of the season for someone.

Troy Brown had an offseason knee operation that left the veteran leader on the sidelines as the Patriots began the regular season. Originally injured during the 2006 season, his recovery period lasted through training camp and into the regular season. Brown, who was on the PUP throughout training camp, is working his way through rehab. With 6 receivers already on the active roster, the question is; do the Patriots need another one?

Brown, 36, is the Patriots career receptions leader with 557. He remains second on the team's career receiving yardage with 6,366 behind only Stanley Morgan. His 101 receptions during the 2001 season still stands as the team's single season record, but it's one record that may fall. Wes Welker, the receiver widely credited for picking up where Brown left off, is on pace to surpass Brown's single season reception record. It is because of Welker's performance, and the addition of the team's other receivers that Browns' future is in jeopardy.

The Patriots have Randy Moss, Donte Stallworth, Welker, Jabar Gaffney, Kelley Washington and Chad Jackson on the roster. If wide receiver were a position of need, Brown would be back, but because of the depth at the position the need for Brown is diminished.

Although Brown can fill in at defensive back and on special teams as a punt returner, the Patriots appear to have covered those bases with off-season acquisition Eddie Jackson who was activated off the PUP a week ago to play cornerback, and Welker who is the team's punt returner of choice.

Because the Patriots need to make room on the roster to add Brown, here is a look at some possible moves if Brown were to come back:

Release Kelley Washington: Washington is a solid special teams contributor, but has been relatively invisible on offense. He has the size the Patriots like at the position, but hamstring issues hindered Washington's involvement in the offense early, and could be the catalyst for his release. With Brown back, the Patriots get another receiver and possible defender, but lose the special teams contributor.

Release Eddie Jackson: Jackson did not have a good game against the Eagles. His contributions have been marginal thusfar as he too was on the PUP list and played in his first game just recently. With the injury to Randall Gay, Jackson may not be expendable, as the Pats need extra corners for nickel and dome packages.

Release Rashad Baker: Another special teams contributor and defensive back in passing situations. Losing Baker would hinder the depth at the position, especially with Eugene Wilson fighting through injuries. Place an injured player on IR: Aside from Brown, Eugene Wilson, Chad Jackson, Kelley Washington, Stephen Neal and Eric Alexander have all battled injuries this year and could wind up on IR.

Cut a fringe player: Kareem Brown has been inactive every week, Le Kevin Smith hasn't seen much action, Wesley Britt is a possibility as he has also been inactive often.

Whatever the Patriots do, the decision on Brown will come one way other another tonight.

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