FOXBORO, Mass. — This might be the most important month of Ron Brace's professional football career, and he can't even get on the field.
The Patriots defensive lineman and 2009 second-round draft pick has not passed his physical, according to director of player personnel Nick Caserio, and that’s why Brace has been missing from practice.
"When he's healthy, when he's ready," Caserio said Thursday, "he'll be back out there practicing."
Brace has missed all 14 of the Patriots' training camp practices, including Thursday morning's session, and that’s not a good sign for the Boston College product who is on the roster bubble.
Brace, to his own admission, had a disappointing rookie season with just nine total tackles in nine games. He needed to have a strong training camp to ensure his spot on the roster. Because Brace played in nine games last season, he is no longer eligible to land on a team's practice squad.
In the event that Brace is cut this summer, he would have had the shortest tenure in New England of any of Bill Belichick's second-round picks as Patriots head coach.
Speaking in generalities, Caserio mentioned the challenges players are going through when they can't get on the field due to injury.
"There are still some things that they can do as far as off the field is concerned," Caserio said. "They're still participating, partaking in meetings, so they're taking in the information. The biggest thing is they're just not being able to apply it on the field."