FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Coach Bill Belichick said Friday no decision has been made on whether the New England Patriots will activate cornerback Brandon Browner or wide receiver Brian Tyms in time for Sunday night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
''We'll make that decision in the next 48-plus hours,'' the coach said of the two players returning from four-game suspensions for violating the NFL's drug policy.
With a short week after the Patriots' 41-14 loss at Kansas City on Monday night, the two players, both signed as free agents during the offseason, have had only one full day of practice with their teammates. The Patriots held an indoor walkthrough on Wednesday and wore just shoulder pads on Friday.
Other than that, they've been working out on their own - engaging only in non-football activities.
''You could go out there and run laps around the field forever and do sit-ups, but until you put the other 21 guys out there on the field it's different,'' Belichick said. ''Guys that miss time, whether it's a player coming back off an injury or the Tyms-Browner situation or whatever it is, there's an element to football - reactions, timing, execution - that's separate from conditioning.''
The 6-4, 221-pound Browner brings a physical element to a defense that was trampled Monday night and has to deal with wide receivers A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu this week. Tyms, who won a job with an impressive preseason and can provide a deep threat for struggling quarterback Tom Brady, can help an offense that has struggled as the team has gone 2-2 through four games.
Neither has played a game for the Patriots after signing as free agents.
''They're both good football players,'' said Belichick. ''They bring their strengths. The other players have their strengths. We'll have to try to make the decision as to what we feel is best for this game and our situation.''
The Patriots would have a one-game roster exemption if they elect not to bring one or both back. That ends Monday morning, when both would have to be added to the 53-man roster or be declared free agents.
Both Browner and Tyms have refused to talk, saying they are waiting to play in their first games with their new team.
Browner's pals on the defense know what his return could mean.
''Oh, `B,' man, He's an avatar,'' said fellow cornerback Kyle Arrington. ''Obviously, his resume speaks for itself. Great guy, on and off the field, and I'm sure the coaches will utilize him however they see fit.''
Asked about Browner not wanting to talk until he plays, Arrington said, ''B's an extreme competitor. Our group, in general, we're hard workers, we're extremely competitive, but B especially, he likes to do his talking on the field and let his game speak for itself.''