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Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Quick hits from the locker room

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick hits from the media-access period in the Patriots' locker room today:

1. Players drawing larger media crowds included defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich, running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, safety James Ihedigbo and defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick.

2. Expecting a roster move on the practice squad as a new defensive back was in the room this morning.

3. Offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer held court with reporters for a few minutes, which could be viewed as an encouraging sign for his availability Sunday in Pittsburgh. Vollmer, who has missed five of the team's first six games with a back injury, had been keeping a low profile. "Trying to get back, trying to do what you can, and contribute somehow," he said. Vollmer was then asked if he was hoping to play Sunday. "Always hoping, so we'll see how that goes," he said.

4. A message was written to players on the white greaseboard reminding them to pack 7-stud footwear for Pittsburgh. Heinz Field is a natural grass surface and the message reflected how equipment manager Don Brocher helps prepare for the players for what's ahead. Brocher is in his 40th season with the Patriots and is one of many unsung staffers behind the scenes.

5. The general theme coming out of the room was that the Steelers are a big, physical team and that it will take a good week of preparation to beat them. "They're a good team. They're kind of like what they were a year ago, and better," Haynesworth said. "They're no slouch or anything like that. They have a three-game winning streak. They're a strong team and they're definitely going to be in the postseason this year."

6. Haynesworth on getting away from football at the bye: "I wouldn't say I did that. Actually, I caught myself watching the Steelers play. I watched a lot of football, so I guess I didn't get away from football. I'm drawn to it. I like to watch it."