Although Willie McGinest was not on the practice fields for the morning session Tuesday, he did make his return to the Bryant College campus.
Following the morning practice, McGinest addressed the media outside the team cafeteria. He revealed that his excused absences from Friday afternoon through this morning had been spent in California with his ill father who has diabetes and was hospitalized.
"It was just a family thing, other than football, that I had to take care of and got excused by Bill [Belichick] and the staff," McGinest said. "I took care of that and I am happy to be back with my teammates…when everything off the field is straight, then everything else you have to deal with is football. My father is doing better now. Now I can get back into my camp mode and get back in shape.
McGinest said he would be back on the field for the afternoon session on Tuesday, but that it would take him some time to get back to full-speed and to catch up to the rest of the team as it enters its ninth practice of training camp.
The on the field action Tuesday morning showed some similarities to Monday's afternoon session. The team was dressed in shorts, helmets and the smaller foam shoulder pads that they have been using for the last year on days that they lighten up with the contact. As has been the case for much of camp, the lack of contact didn't mean that the players took the practice off. The team worked on numerous areas including nickel and dime packages, multiple receiver sets, 4-3 and 3-4 defensive units and special teams, all with a high level of intensity and sharpness.
Similarly to last season when team showed the ability to alternate between the 3-4 and the 4-3 as injuries and situations necessitated, they worked on both defenses on Tuesday. In the 3-4 set the first group consisted of Bobby Hamilton, Steve Martin and Anthony Pleasant on the defensive line and Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi, Ted Johnson and Roman Phifer at linebacker. When they made the switch to the 4-3, recent signee Bernard Holsey came in at defensive tackle and Johnson headed to the sidelines.
On the injury front, the only player to return to action was Jace Sayler who missed Monday's afternoon session for undisclosed reasons. The lone newcomer on the list was safety Rob Kelly with a leg injury. Wide receiver Donald Hayes spent much of the morning running long sprints on the side of the field and running pass routes as a ball boy delivered the ball. Hayes appears to be on the brink of returning and showed few effects of the leg injury that has kept him out of action since the initial practice of camp.
After being relatively quiet early in camp, wide receiver Fred Coleman made a number of nice catches with the second team and in receiver drills. … David Patten and Deion Branch were back returning kickoffs during a special teams portion of practice. … Antowain Smith continued to receive more reps as he works back from the time he missed after failing the conditioning test on the first day of camp. … The offensive line continued to consist of Mike Compton at center, Kenyatta Jones at left tackle, Adrian Klemm at left guard, Damien Woody at right guard and Grant Williams at right tackle.