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Tucker agrees with Walsh: Patriots practiced with IR players

5/23/2008 - NFL

Ross Tucker, a former offensive lineman who played for five teams in a seven-year NFL career, reiterated Thursday that he believes that New England used players on the injured reserve list in practices, which violates league rules.

Former Patriots video assistant Matt Walsh, in a meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last week, said that a Patriots player on injured reserve practiced when he wasn't allowed to in 2001.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Thursday, "The Walsh allegation is still under review."

The Patriots, when contacted by ESPN Thursday, had no comment.

Tucker continued to contend the Patriots used injured players illegally during an interview on ESPN's "NFL Live." He first wrote about it last week on SI.com.

Tucker told "NFL Live" that Patriots coach Bill Belichick will do anything he can "to get an advantage." He also added that using a player on injured reserve in practice was of "minimal" benefit.

Last Friday, in an article published on SI.com, Tucker wrote that: "I had heard the Patriots did this before I signed with them in 2005 and I saw it firsthand during my time there. I asked veteran receiver Troy Brown about it one time and he responded, 'Every team in the league does that.' I quickly let him know none of the three teams I played for previously had done so.

"Basically, the Patriots would put a player on IR, knowing it meant he couldn't play in a game or practice with the team for the remainder of the season. By skirting the rules and practicing him anyway, it allowed them to develop his skills during the year. A side benefit is that they were also able to give some of the older players less repetitions and, therefore, additional rest."

Tucker played with Washington, Dallas, Buffalo, New England and Cleveland during his career. He currently writes for SI.com and hosts a show on Sirius satellite radio.