Maroney: "I Had A Broken Bone"

Laurence Maroney has taken his fair share of criticism for not playing hard, or being too tentative when running the ball. Part of the criticism is undeserved because, well... Maroney had a broken shoulder. Patriots coach Bill Belichick forbids players from talking about injuries during the season. Maroney finally felt comfortable enough to talk this weekend.

According to Laurence Maroney the difficulty he had lowering his shoulder to run the ball in 2008 wasn't due to a lack of effort, it was due to the broken bone in his shoulder which hampered his ability to perform. During a recent charity event held by Patriots running back Kevin Faulk, Maroney told reporters that the injury happened in the second game of the season.

"I had a broken bone, I was trying to play with, and it's kind of hard to play and not tell people what's going on," Maroney said according to the Boston Herald. "I challenge anybody in this crowd to try and play football with a broken bone in your shoulder and you tell me how long you are going to last out there."

Maroney carries the Ball during the Jets game. He finished with 8 carries for 16 yards (2.0 avg.) for the game. (Photo: Getty Images)

New England claimed that Maroney had a shoulder injury on their weekly injury reports, but mad eno mention of a broken bone. After sitting out Week 3's game against the Dolphins and resting during the Bye week, Maroney tried to work through the injury in Week 5 against the 49ers. When he headed out of bounds on sweep to the left rather than lower the shoulder to gain the extra yard for a would-be first down, it became apparent Maroney was hurting too much to carry on. He finished the game with 10 carries for 26 yards (2.6 avg.). The team opted to place the young ballcarrier on injured reserve.

Maroney said he looks forward to playing alongside veteran RB Fred Taylor this year. Maroney sees Taylor as a mentor similar to former Patriot Corey Dillon.

"I look at him as a replacement for Corey Dillon," Maroney told the Herald. "He's somebody you can just learn from and a great guy to be around."

Playing in the NFL is tough, playing through injury is even tougher. Maroney and Taylor have both faced criticism for their injuries. Now they'll have each other to carry the load if one needs time to recover.

The Patriots can only hope the Taylor-Maroney combination is nearly as successful as the Dillon-Maroney combination. In Dillon's final season, he paired with Maroney to gain over 1,500 yards on 374 carries and 20 of the team's 40 touchdowns on offense.

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