After taking the Labor Day holiday off, the Patriots returned to their practice field Tuesday to continue preparations for the Houston Texans, whom they'll host this Sunday in the regular season opener.
During the 20-minute media viewing window at the start of today's session, left tackle Trent Brown was not spotted on the field. He was absent from Sunday's practice as well, for specific reasons that remain unclear. However, an ESPN report early this afternoon suggests that Brown is not dealing with a medical issue.
Two other players were not seen Tuesday: long snapper Joe Cardona and wide receiver Amara Darboh. The latter is believed to have been let go, just days after being claimed off waivers from Seattle, for injury reasons.
Meanwhile, New England has added another pair of offensive linemen. Interior lineman
Brian Schwenke, who spent the summer with the Patriots, is part of the active roster after not making the initial 53-man squad last weekend. He was back in his old No. 63 jersey.
In addition, tackle Eric Smith has joined the Patriots practice squad. He suited up in jersey No. 72 on Tuesday.
Filling out the final spot on the team's 10-man practice squad, wide receiver Jace Billingsley appeared in jersey No. 19 for his first practice with New England.
Bolden boltin' to Miami
Earlier today, long-time Patriots running back and special teams stalwart Brandon Bolden found a new home in South Florida. Bolden originally made the Patriots in 2012 as an undrafted rookie, appearing in 83 games, plus another 15 postseason contests in six seasons.
However, Bolden failed to crack New England's 53-man roster when cuts were made last weekend. The Dolphins came calling, and Bolden accepted an offer to join the Patriots' AFC East rivals.
"It's definitely strange," running back James White remarked about the loss of Bolden, "tough to see him go, but he's a good friend of mine, so, I'll stay in contact with him. He's a good player, even better person. Best of luck to him."
Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey opened eyes over the past few days with derogatory comments about Patriots All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski.
"I don't think Gronk's good… Let me say – I don't think Gronk is as great as people think he is," Ramsey recently told ESPN. "Any time Gronk has been matched up with a corner, he's had a very bad game – and that corner has had a very good game."
When this was brought to Gronkowski's attention Tuesday, he responded, "We got the Houston Texans this week. That will just be another time and place to talk about. But as of right now I'm just really focused on the Texans and worrying about their players and their defense."
Gronk was then asked if he'll address the comments next week, when his Patriots face the Jags in Week 2.
"Possibly," he answered. "It's going to be asked next week, too."
Some players have elaborate pre-game rituals they perform to get themselves psychologically, as well as physically ready to play. Superstitions, if you will.
When asked what he quirky things he does to get himself prepared for kickoff, cornerback Stephon Gilmore said he keeps it simple.
"I just pray and wear my red shoes. Always wear my red shoes on Sundays."