<
>

Light 'feeling better,' back at practice

INDIANAPOLIS -- New England Patriots offensive tackle Matt Light, who missed Tuesday's media day with an illness, practiced with the team Wednesday.

"I'm feeling better," said Light, the 11-year veteran who protects Tom Brady's blind side. "Every now and then, things happen. I'm just glad it's in the past. It would be horrible if it was Friday or Saturday."

"For the most part it was one of those 24-hour things. Luckily I'm over it and we can move on," he said.

Light doesn't see the illness affecting his availability for Super Bowl XLVI against the New York Giants, saying he is "ready to rock and roll for Sunday."

His one-on-one duel against Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora has generated headlines over the past week, as the two players have twice had scraps on the field -- the only fights Umenyiora has been involved with in his nine-year career.

"Me and him, we have history, and we're going to rekindle that on the football field," Umenyiora said Jan. 27. "I don't know what it is that he does, but there's something that he's doing that really gets under my skin, and we just fight."

On Tuesday, when Umenyiora was told that Light had missed media day with an illness, he joked, "Matt Light, please get well soon."

Light wasn't reading into those remarks, or the idea that the two have any type of personal rivalry.

"Can you have an individual rivalry?" he asked Wednesday. "I thought rivalries were between teams in general. But I'm ready to go out there and play whatever game I have to play. We'll have fun doing it. I'm not sure that comes at a personal level.

"I mean, we play football against each other. I'm not sure how you categorize that. I wouldn't say it's something more than anyone else I have ever faced."

The matchup of Umenyiora and the Giants' pass rush against the Patriots' offensive line could ultimately be the key to Super Bowl XLVI. Along those lines, the Patriots are anticipating starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer being ready to play after missing the last seven games with back and foot injuries.

Light, who played in college at Purdue (about an hour away from Indianapolis), sees a tough challenge ahead.

"They are going to switch some things up and I'm sure they will have a few new wrinkles for us," he said. "It's not easy to have so many good pass rushers on one defensive line. They have amassed a number of them."

Light is no stranger to the Super Bowl stage, this being his fifth appearance. Brady and running back Kevin Faulk are the only other players on the roster who have been to all five Super Bowls in Bill Belichick's tenure as coach (2000-present).

"It never gets old and is always a lot of fun," Light said. "To have guys that have been with you the whole time is something you never forget."

Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.