The Patriots returned to the practice field Sunday afternoon following nearly two full days off from the grind of training camp practices. Joining the team on the practice field for the first time this season were two key pieces of last year's Super Bowl championship, second-year defensive lineman Richard Seymour and second-year offensive tackle Matt Light.
The team practiced in full equipment under a strong afternoon sun that pushed the temperatures well into the 90s. And while the team was coming off an extended break and working in brutal temperatures, much of the action on the two practice fields appeared to be at a high intensity and reasonably sharp.
Seymour and Light both wore contact-limiting red jerseys as they return from offseason shoulder surgeries, but Light seemed to get more practice action than did Seymour. While both players did some work in positional and individual drills, Light also worked in on some team and group drills. In fact, Light consistently worked his way into the action with the second offensive line unit, and on occasion got a couple snaps with the first team offense.
Earlier in the day Seymour spoke with the media about his desires to return to the field and his belief that the surgery he had gives him the chance to be a much better player. Seymour said that he has played with the shoulder injury since his senior year at Georgia and believes that its resolution will allow him to work harder both on the field and in the weight room.
"I am just anxious to get back out there and be with the guys," Seymour said outside the team cafeteria. "Physically for my body, I should be able to get a lot stronger [since the surgery.] Hopefully I will have an advantage in games. Right now I am continuing to get stronger, so it should be that the sky is the limit for me."
Team owner Robert Kraft and his wife Myra took in the practice under the warm afternoon sun. … A group of NFL officials was in attendance for today's practice and will be at Bryant for the next two days as well. The officials will meet with the team at 7 p.m. tonight to go over rule changes and answer any questions the players and coaches might have. … Donald Hayes seems to be making his way back from his early leg injury as he made a number of nice catches during drills. … Willie McGinest worked in with the first defense at left end, on the plays Bobby Hamilton moved in as a defensive tackle. … Before the start of practice a number of players worked on their long snapping with special teams coach Brad Seely. Along with usuals, Lonie Paxton and Ryan Benjamin, were tight ends Scott Dragos, Cam Cleeland and Christian Fauria. … The offensive linemen were the chosen group to stay after practice for an extended autograph signing session, although a number of other players stopped for the fans as well. For Monday's morning session, the defensive backs will be signing autographs after practice. … The team will have the morning session at 9 p.m. at Bryant College on Monday. They will then practice at CMGI Field at 7 p.m. Monday night in a session that is closed to the general public.