Thomas a surprising scratch

October, 18, 2009
10/18/09
6:03
PM ET

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Outside linebacker Adalius Thomas' standing with the Patriots took a surprising turn Sunday when he was not active for the team's game against the Titans.

Thomas was not on the team's injury report. After the game, head coach Bill Belichick was asked if a personal issue kept Thomas out.

"No, we just went with the players that we thought would have a bigger role in the game," he responded.

Thomas was not available for comment.

The deactivation marked the first time Thomas did not suit up -- except when he's been injured -- since his rookie season with the Ravens in 2000.

The Patriots' marquee free-agent signing in 2007, Thomas started the team's first five games this season, totaling 12 tackles with one sack and one pass defended.

Veteran Derrick Burgess started in Thomas' place, as the Patriots played a 3-4 alignment for most of the game. Burgess and Pierre Woods started at outside linebacker, with Tully Banta-Cain and Rob Ninkovich also part of a four-man rotation.

The Patriots had played only 10 snaps in the 3-4 alignment prior to Sunday's game, utilizing primarily a four-man front.

"It was a little change, but we all took care of it and handled it professionally," said Gary Guyton, who rotated at inside linebacker along with Jerod Mayo and Junior Seau.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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