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Monday, November 21, 2005

Vrabel reaches pay dirt again


By John Tomase

Monday, November 21, 2005

FOXBORO – Mike Vrabel wasn’t going to play the entire season without an offensive touchdown.

A linebacker with the skills of a tight end, Vrabel once again displayed those talents yesterday, catching Tom Brady’s second touchdown pass in the Patriots’ 24-17 victory against the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium.

“Every time he catches a pass, it’s a touchdown,” Brady said. “He caught another one. It was a nice catch. It was nice having him out there.”

Vrabel now has six career receptions, and they’re all touchdowns. He caught a 1-yard score in the back-left corner of the end zone after a 29-yard pass to Patrick Pass left the Pats on the goal line.

It was Vrabel’s second touchdown of the season. He also had a 24-yard interception return against the Carolina Panthers. He has four career regular-season touchdown catches, plus two in the Super Bowl. All of his scores have been from 1 or 2 yards.

The Patriots are 6-0 when Vrabel catches a touchdown. His other scores came against San Diego on Sept. 29, 2002; Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII; St. Louis on Nov. 7, 2004; San Francisco last Jan. 2; and Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX.

According to his teammates, Vrabel good-naturedly lets the offense hear it after he scores.

“You’ll have to ask Christian (Fauria) and Dan (Graham) about that,” wide receiver Deion Branch said. “When Vrabel comes in, he’s scoring a touchdown. Then he jaws at the tight ends, telling Bill (Belichick) we need to cut them and move him to tight end.”

Fauria just laughed.

“I don’t know what to say,” he said. “I’m happy we scored. He comes through for us. They had Dan (Klecko) out there, too. We could have thrown to either one of those guys.”

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