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Swallowed up in the Brady hype

http://sports.espn.com/espn/fp/flashPollResultsState?sportIndex=frontpage&pollId=130280

It's funny sometimes how things are perceived, isn't it? While Tom Brady's left shoulder soreness is certainly nothing to be ignored, the gravity of it nationally seems to be a little out of balance with how it's being viewed here in New England.

In a SportsNation poll that ran on Page 1 of ESPN.com, only 29 percent of more than 140,000 respondents didn't think the Patriots should be worried about Brady's shoulder. In Massachusetts, however, that number was around 50 percent. In the map above, the only three states where "Not worried at all" was the No. 1 response were Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine (in Rhode Island, the difference between "a little worried" and "not worried" was less than 1 percent).

On Thursday, us media types (OK, so it was mostly us) got caught up in the "Is He Practicing Or Not?" back-and-forth that had us asking ourselves: What, exactly, constitutes practice? (Cue Allen Iverson.) Is tossing a few balls practice? Is stretching? What about jogging, is that considered practice? It's enough to make your head spin if you think about it long enough.

The reality of the situation is probably as simple as this: Brady has a sore non-throwing shoulder, not unlike the bumps and bruises many players have this time of year. It's a big enough deal to limit him in practice, but it's not going to keep him out of Sunday's game against Buffalo and it certainly won't keep him out of the team's first playoff game three weeks from now. Is it something to note and keep an eye on? Certainly. But push the panic button? It's going to take a lot more than a sore shoulder to do that.

Brady, remember, has dealt with much worse. He played through cracked ribs in 2009 and a foot injury last season that eventually required surgery.

What do you think? Are you concerned at all about the shoulder? Vote in the poll above (which will only be posted in this blog entry, so as to keep the sampling to primarily Patriots fans) and share your thoughts in the comments section.

I don't usually post in this forum, so thanks for allowing me a brief intrusion. Now back to your regularly scheduled Patriots programming (and, of course, a forthcoming Brady update!).