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When twin calls, Jackson doesn't get pat on back

If Fred Jackson ever wanted to take a day off -- relax Dick Jauron, he doesn't want one -- he could get his twin brother to step in for him.

Patrick Jackson already has fooled some of the Buffalo Bills' players.

"He was actually at the St. Louis game," Fred said. "A lot of guys looked out of the locker room and they were wondering how I got dressed so fast. People confuse the two of us all the time. We have a lot of fun with it."

Fred and Patrick have more ties than family. They played football together at Coe College. In fact, Patrick, a safety, had a workout with the Bills a few months ago.

Patrick is back in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, working as a counselor for children with physical and mental disabilities. Fred worked with his brother after graduating from college before pursuing his pro football career.

Although only one of the Jackson twins has made it to the NFL, they are sharing the experience together.

"We're very close," Fred said. "I probably talk to him about eight or nine times a day. He played defense, so I call him all the time and ask him about defenses and he gives me tips. He's always the first one I get a text from after every game, and his text is always call him when you get a moment. After I get through talking to the wife, I'm talking to him. He's always got his eye on me, always calling me about practice and the next opponent.

"It would have been great if we could have played on the same NFL team, but I'm the one who gets to live the dream for both of us."

And if you thought Fred's coaches were tough on him, it's nothing compared to what he gets from Patrick.

"He's doing his little coaching job, beating up on me," Fred said. "He keeps me humble more than anything. I hear more about the bad things than the good things. But it's definitely a positive. We call it tough love."

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Cornerback Terrence McGee was held out of practice again Thursday because of his sprained left knee. Jauron has not ruled out McGee for Sunday's game at Arizona, but it's a virtual certainty McGee won't play.

Meanwhile, defensive tackle Marcus Stroud (shoulder) and defensive end Aaron Schobel (foot) returned to practice. Both were limited but they are expected to play Sunday.

In Arizona, there was no report on Pro Bowl receiver Anquan Boldin, who was scheduled to have more tests Thursday. Boldin fractured his sinus membrane during a helmet-to-helmet hit against the New York Jets last Sunday. He hasn't practiced this week and is not expected to play on Sunday, though he hasn't been ruled out.

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Bills rookie receiver Stevie Johnson is tall, athletic and has long dreadlocks. Guess it's safe to assume that he's playing the role of Arizona wideout Larry Fitzgerald in practice.

"I thought I would be playing Fitzgerald this week if only because of my hair," Johnson said. "The coaches were joking about that. With or without the hair, it's all about giving our defense a good look at what they will see on Sunday."

In order to provide the best possible picture for the defense, Johnson spent this week watching film of Fitzgerald, studying the nuances that make Fitzgerald one of the NFL's premier receivers.

"You pick up some of the little things like what he does against press coverage, what he does when a DB is playing off," Johnson said. "Just looking at those kinds of things gives our team a better look, so they can be more prepared on Sunday."

By studying Fitzgerald, Johnson also hopes to pick up something.

"I think every receiver looks at other receivers around the league and takes things from other guys' games and puts it into theirs," he said. "It just makes you a better player overall. It's also a respect thing. Looking at other guys can only help you when you're mixing different styles."

***

Bills linebacker Keith Ellison did not rub it in when his alma mater, Oregon State, upset Southern California, which has Ellison's brother, Kevin, as a starting safety.

Keith had mixed emotions.

"I really was torn because I always root for him when he plays, even against Oregon State," Keith said. "I was upset he lost, but I'm happy for our program and the coaches up there. They deserved it."

e-mail: awilson@buffnews.com

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