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Leftovers from Bill Belichick

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Quick hits from Bill Belichick’s news conference before Thursday’s practice, the team’s 17th of training camp:

Following up on Gaffney. Veteran receiver Jabar Gaffney pulled up during Wednesday’s practice and did not return, and didn’t dress for Thursday’s workout. Asked his progress, Belichick cited his often-used “day to day” line before adding, “I don’t think this is life threatening.”

Background with Demps. Asked about rookie free agent Jeff Demps, the Olympic sprinter who is planning to play football in 2012 and could sign with a team as early as tonight, Belichick explained that the team scouts every player – although Demps wasn’t at the combine and didn’t have a spring workout. Asked for a scouting report, Belichick said: “I think it’s pretty well documented. He’s a running back that’s returned kicks that’s fast. I’m sure you could dig that out.”

Tight preseason schedule. With limited practice time because the Patriots are playing their final three preseason games in a span of 10 days, Belichick was asked how it affects the team. “I think the unusual thing about this situation is just our ability to install anything, to actually put in plays or cover things. This week is pretty much about it. I think we’ll have good practices next week against Tampa, like we had against New Orleans. The preseason games will be beneficial to us. But in terms of actually being able to go out there and talk about something in the morning, walk through it, and practice it in the afternoon, watch the film at night, correct it, go through some of the little things that came up to fine-tune – that’s what you lose.”

Preseason preparation. Asked about how much game preparations are scaled down in the preseason compared to the regular season, Belichick estimated it’s about one-third.

Practice plan. More situational work was scheduled for Thursday, before shifting into game preparation mode Friday. “It’s training camp, and [we’re] just trying to stay on schedule and get things covered that we’re going to need to do during the season,” he said. “Maybe they will come up in the preseason games, maybe they won’t, but we’re going to have to be ready for them sooner or later.”