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Tarpinian absent at Friday practice

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots rookie linebacker Jeff Tarpinian was not spotted at Friday's practice, marking his first absence from practice this week.

Tarpinian made his first career start in Sunday night's win over the Jets, and he played 22 snaps in the base 4-3 defense. He was not listed on Thursday's injury report. Friday's injury report, to be released at 4 p.m., will shed more light on his absence.

Without Tarpinian, the Patriots linebackers corps continues to be stretched thin, with Brandon Spikes (knee) and Dane Fletcher (thumb) missing their third straight practice on Friday, in addition to cornerback Devin McCourty (shoulder). Based on their lack of practice time, it would be a surprise if Spikes and Fletcher play.

The Patriots were in light shoulder pads for the second consecutive day, a switch from weeks past, when the team has been in full pads for their second full session of the week.

If Tarpinian does not play Monday night, the Patriots could insert Gary Guyton at middle linebacker, with Jerod Mayo moving to the weakside. Another option would be to keep Mayo in the middle while inserting Tracy White on the weakside.