Neal has been New England's starting right guard since 2004, but he has missed games because of injury every year since 2006. He originally signed with the Patriots in 2001 as an undrafted free agent out of Cal State-Bakersfield, where he was a championship wrestler. After being waived by the Patriots, he had a brief stint on the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad before joining New England's 53-man roster in December 2001.
Last season, Neal was part of an offensive line that allowed just 18 sacks, the fewest by a Patriots squad since the NFL moved to a 16-game schedule in 1978.
On Monday night, the Patriots' veteran offensive line must face a Jets defense that is showing improvement in pressuring the quarterback. With three sacks in last Thursday's 26-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Jets have nine in four games -- and at least one in each game this season. New York has 11 players with at least one sack, led by Jason Taylor, who has four.
Notes:Patriots CB Jonathan Wilhite (hip) and DEs Myron Pryor (back) and DE Mike Wright (neck, concussion) didn't practice Thursday. ... Brady (right shoulder, foot) was limited.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.