Brace happy to be back at Gillette

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Patriots defensive lineman Ron Brace made his way to the security gate at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, arriving to participate in the team’s “Community MVP” event. The gate didn’t open.

“I’m so used to the bar coming up and them letting me in, but I was kind of wondering why it didn’t come up this time,” Brace said, smiling.

Of course, Brace knew that things are different during the NFL lockout. He was allowed to come to the stadium because of the team’s charity event and said it “was a little weird” and “brought back some memories.”

“It makes me even more anxious to get back and start working. I miss playing,” he said.

Brace, who enters his third NFL season in 2011, said the closest he’s been to the stadium since the lockout was the movie theater at Patriot Place. As for his rehabilitation from an elbow injury that landed him on injured reserve last December, he reported progress.

“I can say each day it’s getting stronger,” he said, before stopping short of saying he’d be ready to practice if training camp started today.

Brace, who grew up in Springfield, Mass., is hosting a “Beauty and Beast fashion show” tonight (10 p.m.) to raise money for those affected by tornadoes in the city. The event will be held at the Boston nightclub “Saint”, and Brace said teammates Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Tate are among those scheduled to attend.

“I think it’s going to be a good jump on trying to get the city back to where it was, and make it better possibly,” Brace said, adding that he has other plans to raise money.