Fully healthy Crable hopes to make mark

BROCKTON, Mass. – Outside linebacker Shawn Crable, a 2008 third-round draft choice who has missed his first two seasons with injuries, has a clean bill of health and has been a full participant in the Patriots’ offseason program.

Perhaps he’s the under-the-radar answer to one of the biggest questions on the roster: Who starts at outside linebacker in the 3-4 alignment?

Crable participated in Kevin Faulk’s charity softball game tonight at Campenelli Stadium in Brockton and said he is excited about another opportunity to break into the lineup.

Just about anything would be better than what he’s experienced the last two seasons.

In his rookie season, he was placed on injured reserve after eight games (he was inactive for all of those contests) with a shin injury. Last year, he missed the entire season after going on IR with a groin injury.

Told he looks bigger than one reporter remembered from last training camp, Crable laughed.

“I’ve had two years off,” he said. “You eat, you lift and get better. Hopefully this time it works out.”

The 6-foot-5 Crable said he weighs anywhere from 245 to 247 pounds. He was listed in the team’s media guide last year at 243.

“Not too big,” he said. “I feel good physically and stuff like that. I’m still fine-tuning some things.”

Crable was asked how much better he is now than when he first joined the team.

“Mentally, I’m a lot better,” he responded. “I know a lot more of the playbook, I know a little more of what is going on. I don’t feel like I’m walking into something I don’t know what to expect.”

Crable said he’s embracing the competition at outside linebacker, where second-round draft choice Jermaine Cunningham joins a mix that includes Tully Banta-Cain, Derrick Burgess, Rob Ninkovich, Pierre Woods, Marques Murrell and Bruce Davis.

"Another opportunity," he said. "We'll see if we can do it better this time."