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Michael Smith of the Globe says that while Rosevelt Colvin is expected to return sometime during training camp, not much is new regarding the team's rookie holdouts. Says Smith, "Things don't appear to be going so well with regard to negotiations between the Patriots and their remaining unsigned picks." … Smith also writes how Thursday's first practice had a "back-to-school feel to it."
The Globe's Michael Vega reports that safety Rodney Harrison, among others, has but the Super Bowl victory in the rear view mirror now that the 2004 season has officially started. " If anyone thinks Harrison is about to rest on his laurels after finally winning his first Super Bowl ring, then consider the comments the veteran strong safety made yesterday after the first day of training camp at Gillette Stadium," says Vega.
Kevin Mannix echos the same thoughts in the Boston Herald. "The message from the Patriot players was clear: Forget 2003," writes Mannix.
The Boston Herald's Michael Felger has commentary on Thursday's relaxed opening practice, a reward to many for their offseason work. "There wasn't a pad or a contract drill in sight," says Felger. "In fact, there wasn't even much running. It was so mellow, volcanic offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia hardly even raised his voice." … His notebook focuses on the secondary, where veteran Jeff Burris was released, rookie Guss Scott is holding out and safety Eugene Wilson looked strong during the workout.
Rich Thompson of the Herald focuses on the addition of right tackle James "Big Cat" Williams to the Patriots roster. … Thompson also writes that the only regret Harrison has from last season is not being able to finish the Super Bowl against Carolina because of a broken right arm he suffered during the fourth quarter.
In his Patriots Notebook for the ProJo, Tom E. Curran says the Patriots defense is breathing a little bit easier with the return of Wilson and the expected return of Colvin. … Curran also reports that the Patriots are at an impasse with Tom Condon, the agent for unsigned first round pick Benjamin Watson.
Mike Reiss of the MetroWest Daily News reviews the good, the interesting and the ugly from the first day of training camp. He reports that rookie holdout Cedric Cobbs was considering hiring a new agent after the running back was sent home by the team because there was no imminent deal with agent Drew Rosenhaus.
Michael Parente of the Woonsocket Call has a feature on wide receiver David Patten. " The New England Patriots began training camp Thursday and wide receiver David Patten found himself in a familiar position -- fighting for a job," writes Parente.
Jim Donaldson of the ProJo says the New England sports fans are predisposed to worrying about their teams, but the only meaningful worry in training camp is the Patriots offensive line. … Alan Greenberg gives an overview of the first day of camp in the Hartford Courant. … Ken Powers (sorry, subscriber only) of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette describes the Patriots first practice as " Tranquil, casual and laid-back." … Lenny Megliola of the MetroWest Daily News writes that all eyes of New England are on the Patriots this season.