Harrison downgraded to out; flu bug biting other Pats

Updated: January 21, 2007, 12:56 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Rodney Harrison
Harrison

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots safety Rodney Harrison has been downgraded to out and will not play in Sunday's AFC Championship Game.

Harrison participated in the opening of practice Thursday after missing the start Wednesday with an injured right knee. He was previously listed as doubtful.

Three players on the New England injury report are questionable with the flu -- wide receiver Troy Brown, offensive tackle Ryan O'Callaghan and defensive lineman Mike Wright.

All four missed part of Thursday's practice for the game against the Colts in Indianapolis.

Harrison flexed his strained right knee during the stretching portion that was open to the media and, after putting on his helmet, picked up a football before reporters and photographers left. On Wednesday, he walked without a limp in the locker room before his teammates left for the workout.

Harrison was hurt in the last regular-season game, a 40-23 win over Tennessee, when he was blocked by wide receiver Bobby Wade. That kept him out of the playoff games -- a 37-16 win over the New York Jets and a 24-21 victory at the San Diego Chargers.

The game against the Titans was just his second after he missed six games with a broken right shoulder blade sustained when he was tackling Marvin Harrison in a 27-20 loss to the Colts in Foxborough.

Last season, Harrison played only the first three games and missed both playoff games after tearing three ligaments in his left knee in a 23-20 win at Pittsburgh. But he started the first eight regular-season games this season.

Cornerback Ellis Hobbs said he takes precautions against catching the flu from teammates and felt fine.

"Just wash your hands before you eat, take a shower," he said Thursday. "I carry a little bottle of [rubbing] alcohol around with me now. I know to spray it on my hands every now and then."

He has played when he's been sick.

"I think we all have," Hobbs said. "We've all been down that road once. You get going, you deal with it afterwards."

The team tries to keep sick players away from healthy ones, he said, sometimes not allowing them into the same meetings.

"I haven't really been looking around to see who's been in the meetings or not," Hobbs said, "but I heard a couple of people coughing."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.