Patriots rule out four players, including Neal

New England Patriots offensive lineman Dan Connolly wasn't out of the starting lineup very long.

Connolly was pried from his left guard position last week because two-time Pro Bowler Logan Mankins ended his contract standoff. But Connolly likely will be in Sunday's lineup against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

The Patriots have announced right guard Stephen Neal (shoulder), running back Fred Taylor (toe), defensive lineman Myron Pryor (back) and safety Jarrad Page (calf) have been ruled out with injuries.

Before this season, Connolly had four career starts, all at right guard for Neal last year.

"He filled in last year and did a great job," Neal told me two weeks ago for a story about Connolly. "He plays good football and has just been waiting around for an opportunity.

"He can play center, guard, fullback, tight end. He's a great asset for this team. I don't think it's a surprise to anyone in this locker room what he's doing out there."