Springs waited patiently

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Inactive for the past four weeks, Patriots defensive back Shawn Springs said he didn't watch the Jetsons during his downtime.

Springs comments were made in jest as reporters quizzed him on how he remained professional even as the coaching staff kept him off the gridiron in recent weeks. The Jetsons' reference came from the fallout of Adalius Thomas' comments earlier this week on why he was late for practice.

Thomas, who was sent home from meetings Wednesday for being late that morning, was inactive Sunday after speaking out. Those that did not speak out -- Randy Moss, Gary Guyton, and Derrick Burgess -- were active.

"I did like the Jetsons; Elroy was my favorite character, by the way," Springs joked following Sunday's 20-10 triumph over the Panthers in which he started at left cornerback and made a pair of tackles.

"No, I just worked each week. Worked hard in some capacity to help the team. That's all I did."

Springs suggested that he still doesn't fully understand why he had been benched. But he said he showed up each week ready to help the team however they saw fit.

The 13-year veteran appeared in the first five games of the season -- starting at both cornerback and safety -- before disappearing for all but a Week 9 meeting with Miami. He said he practiced with the first team this week and expected to rejoin the starting lineup.

"We all understand that, each week, [coach] Bill [Belichick] does what he thinks is best for the team," said Springs. "It's been working for him, so you just have to go with it."

Joking he "barely" remembered how to put on his shoulder pads, he took the blame for a 41-yard touchdown reception by Steve Smith, passing on the opportunity to throw safety Brandon Meriweather (whose locker was nearby) under the bus.

"I"ll take the blame on that one," said Springs. "You know, Steve's a good player. He ran the deep post and made a play. No, I won't throw [Meriweather] under the bus. That's not going to happen."

Asked if he ever considered speaking out -- like Thomas -- during his inactive period, Springs made it clear he would have never reached that point.

"It's all in how you look at things," said Springs. "For example, if all of you reporters got paid to do a job that encouraged you to relax and watch it on TV, some of you might be excited about it."