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Fletcher sheds cast, preps for 2012

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Patriots linebacker Dane Fletcher, who was limited for most of last season with right hand injury, has shed his cast, as expected.

"We're good, baby," a smiling Fletcher told reporters as he held his bare hand up to cameras at a community appearance at Hasbro Children's Hospital on Thursday. "No worries there."

Fletcher suffered a right thumb injury in the preseason, but went on to play in the first six games of the regular season. The injury, however, required multiple surgeries, according to reports, and Fletcher missed six games before returning to action on Dec. 11 against the Redskins.

"It's been good. Progressing just like I wanted to," Fletcher said. "Just hope to continue there, and enjoying my time a little bit back in Montana, and relax."

In addition to Fletcher, wide receiver Matthew Slater and running back Kevin Faulk took part in the eighth annual Hasbro Children's Hospital Radiothon, while also making visits to pediatric patients at the hospital.

"I really feel like we have a responsibility as a professional athletes to give back to the community around us, especially something like this," Slater said. "We've been so blessed, beyond what most kids can go up dreaming, we've been able to live our dreams out and I feel like with that, we have responsibility to give back."

"They are going through a tough time and they're hearing from all their buddies at school and their siblings, how fun it is, how exciting it is outside the hospital -- while they have to be in here," Fletcher said. "So our goal is to try and give them a little something they can fire back at their friends, and their family, and their siblings that they got a little something extra for being here."