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Kelly not at practice

News from Gillette Stadium as the Patriots prepare for their next opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Strong winds and heavy rains forced the Patriots to practice for the first time this season inside their Dana-Farber Field House. And for the first time this week, attendance wasn't perfect.

Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (right knee) was not on the field when the team gathered for Friday's session. He had practiced the past two days after having been out since injuring himself in the 4th quarter at Cincinnati. Everyone else – including running back/return specialist Leon Washington (ankle) and running back Shane Vereen (left wrist), who remains on IR/designated to return – were present.

Earlier in the day, at his press briefing, head coach Bill Belichick was asked about his rookie class. At this point in the year, most of them have played as many games (including preseason) as they would have in an entire college season, and many of them need guidance on how to maintain their fitness for at least the next two months, if not longer.

"The conditioning, the taking care of yourself, the dealing with the climatic changes, the hydration changes, the nutrition change, our regular season training in the weight room and conditioning relative to our early season or preseason training – those are all important but they're all different. We try to talk to the players on a regular basis about all those things," said Belichick.

"Now that I think about it, it has gone by fast," rookie receiver Aaron Dobson said after practice. "I feel good. I'm just trying to keep my body fresh and get extra treatment to take care of my legs."

Duron Harmon, a rookie safety, has been seeing more playing time of late and spoke today about his development thus far.

"It's been going well," he stated. "Every week, I'm continuing to get better, learning from great players like [starters] Steve Gregory and Devin McCourty."

Last week against Miami, Harmon recorded his first interception, but almost let the football get away from him when the play was over.

"Devin – he's always got my back – he made sure I got the football after I threw it to the official. He made sure I kept it. It's home."

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