FOXBOROUGH — With three practices under his belt now after re-signing with the Patriots Wednesday, receiver Austin Collie said he’s healthy and thrilled to be back with the team.
“I was crossing my fingers, because I love it here. It’s a great team, great organization, great coaching staff,” Collie said Friday after the team’s final practice before facing Cleveland Sunday at Gillette Stadium. “It’s awesome.”
Collie was released Nov. 5 after playing four games with the Patriots and catching three passes for 34 yards. But he injured his knee in the Nov. 3 win over the Steelers, a development that played a factor in his release.
The time away gave Collie an opportunity to heal.
“It was difficult, but it was time that I needed to get healthy, get my knee back, and thankfully I got signed back on when I was healthy,” Collie said. “There’s always that possibility [of being re-signed], but nothing was certain.”
Collie might be able to provide depth at a position that has been thinned recently by injury. Aaron Dobson will miss his second straight game Sunday because of a foot injury, and fellow rookie Kenbrell Thompkins is listed as questionable after being limited in practice this week with a hip injury. Collie is healthy and knows the offense.
“Any time you’re coming off an injury, it takes a little bit of time to get back rolling,” Collie said. “At the same time, four weeks isn’t that long, so I think I’m making good progress.”
Back in court
Appearing in a Nebraska courtroom for the second time in two days, Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard pleaded no contest Friday to refusing a chemical test, with prosecutors dropping charges of driving under the influence, according to the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star.
The newspaper reported that Dennard had his driver’s license revoked for 60 days, was fined $500, and was given probation to run concurrent with an earlier conviction for felony assault, which was modified Thursday.
The results of Dennard’s two-day legal field trip won’t keep the cornerback off the football field, since his jail sentence for the assault conviction doesn’t start until March 1. A judge Thursday extended that jail sentence to 60 days.
Friday’s hearing had to do with a July 11 incident in Lincoln, where Dennard was arrested for driving under the influence.
Jason Campbell probable
One of the biggest questions this week for the Patriots was which quarterback to prepare for, with the Browns unsure who among the four on their roster, would get the starting nod. Signs now point to Jason Campbell, who had no limitations in practice Friday and was listed by the team as probable to play. Campbell has started four games this season and has thrown for 933 yards, but was inactive for last week’s game after suffering a concussion. Brandon Weeden, who started last week before leaving with a concussion, has been ruled out . . . In addition to Dobson, the Patriots ruled out offensive lineman Marcus Cannon. Like Dobson, Cannon was injured in the Nov. 24 win over Denver and hasn’t practiced since, missing last week’s game at Houston. There were 10 Patriots listed as questionable, including linebacker Brandon Spikes and five members of the secondary: safety Steve Gregory, and cornerbacks Dennard, Kyle Arrington, Marquice Cole, and Aqib Talib. Running back Brandon Bolden, whose absence from Friday’s practice was not related to an injury, was listed as probable . . . Despite spending the majority of the 45 minutes during the open locker room period with the media sitting in front of his locker, running back Stevan Ridley declined interview requests . . . Jerod Mayo, who was placed on injured reserve Oct. 16 after suffering a biceps injury, made a brief appearance in the locker room. Mayo — and Vince Wilfork, also on IR – have been regular visitors to Gillette Stadium as part of their rehabilitation . . . The Patriots and Browns don’t play until Sunday, but Saturday figures to be a busy day at Gillette Stadium. Six high school Super Bowls are scheduled, and the American Red Cross has teamed up with the Patriots for a blood drive from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. inside the Putnam Club. Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones will make an appearance.