SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -Laurence Maroney says there's a very good reason he's not running the ball particularly well for the New England Patriots.
And that's just about all he'll say on a subject that has been irritating Patriots fans all season long.
``Hey, I have my issues,'' Maroney said Friday before New England finished up its final practice at San Jose State, the Pats' home between last weekend's win over the 49ers and Sunday night's trip to face the San Diego Chargers.
``There are reasons,'' said Maroney, who has just 93 yards rushing in three appearances for New England (3-1). ``I'd rather not speak about them, but there are reasons.''
ay against the 49ers instead of fighting for that yard.
Maroney won't even confirm his shoulder is bothering him, saying, ``Even if you hit it on the head, I'm going to tell you, 'No,''' but Maroney agrees he ``most definitely'' left gainable yards on the field against the 49ers.
``Like I said, I have issues right now,'' he said. ``I'm trying to work through them the best I can, and trying to do the best I can with my problems. ... This situation is a little bit different, it's definitely a little bit different from last year, but I'm trying to make the best out of it.''
The Patriots likely expected more than 93 yards from a 2006 first-round pick who appeared to be blossoming late last season, culminating in a pair of 122-yard playoff performances against Jacksonville and San Diego. Maroney then scored his third touchdown of the postseason in the Super Bowl.
But coach Bill Belichick would never publicly acknowledge any disappointment in Maroney, even if he had any.
``Laurence has done a good job for us,'' Belichick said. ``I think he's a good back. He's played well, and I think he'll continue to play well.''
Maroney shared the ball with teammate Marion Barber III in college at Minnesota, and he alternated carries with Corey Dillon as a rookie. This season, he's sharing the ball with no less than three teammates: Sammy Morris, LaMont Jordan and Kevin Faulk, though Jordan is likely to miss Sunday's game after injuring his leg against the 49ers and sitting out of practice this week.
Maroney claims the shared workload hasn't prevented him from getting into a ball-carrying rhythm, but he knows he isn't running with the same authority he showed last season.
The 220-pound Maroney's bruising style has long been his biggest asset, and the Patriots turned to him repeatedly down the stretch last year after he didn't do much early in their unbeaten regular season, missing three games with a groin injury.
Maroney then missed much of New England's victory over the Jets because of the shoulder injury last month, and he was inactive one week later in the Patriots' loss to Miami.
He returned after New England's bye week against the 49ers, but he struggled on most of his 10 carries, none of which went longer than 5 yards. With Jordan also sidelined, Morris shouldered the load with 16 carries for 63 yards, while Faulk scored two short touchdowns.
Maroney plans to play against the Chargers, and he claims he won't shy away from contact this time.
``All I can say is that I'm trying,'' Maroney said. ``That's all I can do at the end of the day, no matter what the media say, how they perceive me, how the fans perceive me. ... If I was out here not trying, that's one thing, but I'm actually out here trying to do what I can do. So I don't really care what everybody else says. The coaches know the issue, I know the issue, and we're trying to make the issue better, if we can.''

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