Quick hits from locker room

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick hits from the media-access period in the Patriots' locker room:

1. Players drawing larger media crowds included defensive lineman Ron Brace, offensive lineman Brian Waters and receivers Wes Welker and Deion Branch.

2. Brace said he hasn't been told if he will be promoted from the reserve/physically unable to perform list, but he's ready if the call comes. "Your guess is as good as mine," he said. Earlier in the day, coach Bill Belichick said Brace is "getting close" to being ready/promoted.

3. Welker, who missed practice Wednesday with a neck injury, said he feels good and he's looking forward to the weekend. He explained some injuries just require a little extra time to recover from.

4. Aaron Hernandez joked that he was looking for some publicity, as he turns 22 on Sunday. He playfully asked one reporter what he was going to be receiving from him as a gift, his light-hearted tone reflective of an overall loose environment.

5. Chad Ochocinco played the role of reporter during Deion Branch's group interview, asking what Branch thought of the Giants. Branch laughed when Ochocinco's towel fell to the ground, as Ochocinco had yet to get dressed for practice.

6. In some corners, it is easy to sense from players that they are slightly amused/annoyed by how quickly the tone of questions from reporters turns based on one win or loss. One player described that it's sometimes hard not to get swept up in that type of negativity, which is why his plan is to simply cut it loose on Sunday and have fun.

7. Bill Belichick and Jimmy Johnson walked through, and it was easy to see how happy Belichick was to reconnect with his friend. A lot of mutual respect there.