FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -Having missed all four preseason games because of a contract dispute, Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel doesn't know where he stands on New England's depth chart - or whether he will even play in Sunday's season opener against the New York Jets.
``I guess we'll have to wait and see on Sunday,'' Samuel said Friday. ``I'm just going out and practicing and working hard.''
Samuel has been playing catch up since ending his contract stalemate on Aug. 28, a month and a day after the Patriots began training camp. Samuel had stayed away in protest after the Patriots designated him their franchise player and the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a long-term contract.
Samuel worked out on his own during his holdout, but knows that isn't the same as going through training camp.
``There's a difference between working out, just running, conditioning, doing all those things, and being on the field and going against another team and (defending) a two-minute offense or something like that,'' he said. ``It's a little different.''
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said it would be ``totally unrealistic'' to expect Samuel to have the same level of conditioning as his teammates. Belichick did not address Samuel's playing status Friday.
The Patriots have a roster exemption for Samuel, meaning they can carry an extra player while they wait for him to catch up. However, they are at the regular limit of 53 players, a possible indication that they expect Samuel to play in Week 1.
Samuel had a career-high 10 interceptions last season, tying Denver's Champ Bailey for the NFL lead. He also clinched last year's 37-16 playoff win against the Jets by intercepting Chad Pennington and returning the ball 36 yards for a touchdown to complete the scoring.
Meanwhile, quarterback Tom Brady was listed as probable for Sunday's game after limiting his participation in practice for two days with a chronic right shoulder injury.
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