The rumors and reports were true: there's a new 39 in town.
Last week, running back Montee Ball was assigned the jersey number when he was signed to the Patriots practice squad, but he relinquished it Tuesday when former Pro Bowler and All-Pro Steven Jackson officially joined the New England backfield. Jackson has worn 39 with his two previous clubs, St. Louis and Atlanta, and at Tuesday's practice, he strolled into New England's indoor workout facility for the first time in his new threads.
Jackson took part in the team's first practice of the week, a session that began as a walkthrough but clearly was more involved than that, as players were later seen returning to the locker room having worked up quite a sweat in helmets and shells (smaller, lighter shoulder pads).
Jackson was one of the first players to appear back in the locker room following the workout, and though he was in the room for quite a while, he did not address the media. That is expected to take place on Wednesday. New arrivals to the team often are given a day to get their bearings before going on the record with reporters.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Danny Amendola and linebacker Dont'a Hightower, both of whom aggravated left knee injuries against Tennessee, were at practice, as was safety/co-captain Devin McCourty (right ankle).
Wide receiver Julian Edelman was not seen at the start of practice, but later jogged lightly through the locker room as he was passing through.