FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -With five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Richard Seymour sidelined for at least the first six weeks of the regular season, Jarvis Green will be playing more for the New England Patriots - and snacking less.
``I can't mess around eating sunflower seeds out there (on the sideline) when it's time for the game, I'll tell you that,'' Green said with a laugh Wednesday as the Patriots prepared for Sunday's season opener at the New York Jets.
Not that Green isn't used to filling in. Green has carved out a career as a valuable sub working behind New England's talented starters: Seymour, defensive end Ty Warren and nose tackle Vince Wilfork.
``I've had five years of going in when guys go down,'' Green said.
On Saturday, the Patriots placed Seymour on the physically unable to perform list with an unspecified injury. He won't be eligible to play until late October, at the earliest.
It was the second blow to the Patriots' defense in two days, after the NFL on Friday suspended safety Rodney Harrison for the first four games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
To replace Seymour, the Pats are expected to turn to Green.
``I'm very excited,'' he added. ``It's a great opportunity, but it's also a great opportunity to get better.''
With Seymour not practicing during the preseason, Green worked with the starting unit. He said that experience was valuable.
``Not much has changed,'' he said. ``You've got to be prepared for the worst around here because anything can happen. I think that's our strength as a team.''
A fourth-round pick out of LSU in 2002, Green has started 21 regular-season games. One of his four starts last year came in a 17-14 home loss to the Jets, when he filled in for an injured Warren.
Last year, Green set a career high with 57 tackles and tied for second on the team with 7 1/2 sacks.
``Jarvis has done a great job since he's been here,'' Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. ``He's a productive player. He plays with a lot of confidence. He works hard and prepares well. I'm sure he'll be ready to go.''
Coming off the bench, Green had 2 1/2 sacks in the AFC championship game victory over Indianapolis following the 2003 season. The next year, with Seymour nursing a knee injury, Green started all three playoff games as the Patriots won their second straight title.
``I really like Jarvis,'' said Jets coach Eric Mangini, the Patriots' former defensive coordinator. ``He's a guy you can always cheer for because whatever his role is, he does it willingly, he does it really well. He's got excellent natural strength, he's got good very pass rush ability and pass rush instincts.
``It's an indication of how he's approached his whole career. He's been a diligent guy from the first day we got him as a rookie.''
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