… A warm, but breezy Labor Day in New England, with a mix of clouds and sunshine for today's Patriots practice. Shorts, shells, and helmets were the order of the day, equipment-wise. Practice, for the first time this year, was held on the lower field, where the New England Revolution soccer squad usually trains.
… Most notable among the eight absentees today were tackle Sebastian Vollmer and cornerback Kyle Arrington. The reason for Vollmer's absence is unclear, but Arrington we saw limp off after the opening kickoff versus the Giants. The others missing from today's workout were wide receiver Taylor Price, rookie running backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, rookie linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, and defensive linemen Mark Anderson and Jermaine Cunningham.
… On a positive note, o-linemen Dan Connolly and Ryan Wendell were back on the field. In the latter's case, this is the first appearance he's made since early in training camp. Connolly is back after leaving the Lions game with an ankle or foot injury. In addition, cornerback Leigh Bodden, out since the Tampa preseason game, was back in uniform.
… Several players changed jersey numbers since final cuts were announced. Arrington is now 24 (he was 27); newcomer Antwaun Molden, the cornerback who wore 36 against the Giants, has Arrington's old 27. Safety Sergio Brown went from 38 to 31, now that Brandon Meriweather no longer owns it. Vereen took Sammy Morris' old 34 jersey (he was 29 heretofore). Safety James Ihedigbo moved up from 43 to 44, which had belonged to running back Eric Kettani. Now on the practice squad, Kettani is wearing James Sanders' old 36. Tarpinian switched from 48 to 53, and defensive lineman Gerard Warren shed his training camp 62 for a more appropriate 98.
… New England's practice squad is at its maximum of eight players. In addition to Kettani, the Patriots re-signed safety Ross Ventrone, rookie outside linebacker Markell Carter, and rookie defensive lineman Aaron Lavarias. The team added wide receiver Kerry Taylor, a Green Bay castoff, o-linemen Nick McDonald (also from Green Bay) and Matt Kopa, most recently with Miami. Finally, you may remember o-lineman Thomas Welch, a 2010 Patriots draft choice who was cut after last year's training camp. He wound up with the Vikings and was with them until a couple of days ago.
… For more on today's very busy locker room interview activity, including our first conversation with new right guard Brian Waters, visit patriots.com later this afternoon.