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Quick Kicks: Thu 10/25 practice & locker room notes

For their final practice before heading to the United Kingdom, the Patriots were back in shells and helmets. Six players were again not on the field at the start, five of whom were the same as yesterday: CB Ras-I Dowling (right quadriceps), safety Steve Gregory (hip), rookie RB Brandon Bolden (left knee), linebacker Tracy White (left foot), and defensive end Trevor Scott (hamstring).

McGinest signs memorabilia.
McGinest signs memorabilia. 

Linebacker/co-captain Jerod Mayo (left elbow/illness) returned to action, while tight end Aaron Hernandez (right ankle), who was last seen riding a stationary bike during practice yesterday, was not on the field during the opening stretching portion that the media is allowed to view.

Rookie linebacker Dont'a Hightower returned to game action last week against the Jets, three weeks after injuring his left hamstring against Buffalo. He said today it was good to be back on the field and is doing everything he can to remain there.

"I definitely wanted to be out there a little bit earlier," the rookie admitted, "but we were cautious of that, waited it out, got treatment. I feel a lot better, so no looking back now. I'm doing everything I can to prevent a hamstring pull or anything like that again, doing everything I can to stay on the field. Keep stretching, stay hydrated, small things. Making sure you're eating right, the weight thing. More or less just stretching more, I think that was my biggest problem, but I'm taking care of that now."

Wide receiver Wes Welker told reporters he can't recall facing cornerback Cortland Finnegan much in the past, but that he expects to see quite a bit of the Rams' top cover guy on Sunday at Wembley Stadium. "Yeah, he's their nickel guy. Usually he comes into the slot, which is where I play, so yeah. Obviously he's a great player, and he does a really great job in the slot. I'll definitely have my hands full."

Rookie DE Chandler Jones already had his game face on by 8 o'clock this morning, when players were made available to speak with the media. Asked what sights he planned to see while in London, he responded, stone-faced, "Business trip. Business trip."

New England will board a charter flight this evening to land in London by Friday morning. There will be a brief media event with select members of the team upon arrival, but for the most part, tomorrow will be a light day for the team. Saturday will be a normal day-before-a-game, with a walkthrough and meetings along with some time off. Several members of the Patriots will take part in the NFL's Fan Fest in Trafalgar Square Saturday afternoon, while the team mascot and cheerleaders will be making appearances throughout the city all weekend.

UPDATE… 4:02 p.m.

Mayo's illness is no longer a problem, it seems. That element was removed from his listing on today's practice report. The left elbow however, kept him limited in practice. Hernandez did not practice at all today.

The other five not spotted today did not take part in practice, either.

Eleven other Patriots were limited, as was the case yesterday: He was limited in his activity at today's practice, along with 11 other Patriots: DL Ron Brace (back), S Patrick Chung (shoulder, injured at Seattle), WR Julian Edelman (left hand), tight end Rob Gronkowski (hip),  rookie LB Dont'a Hightower (left hamstring), WR Brandon Lloyd (knee),  left guard Logan Mankins (calf/hip), OL Nick McDonald (right shoulder), CB Sterling Moore (knee), RT Sebastian Vollmer (back), and WR Wes Welker (ankle).

Defensive tackle Kyle Love (knee) took part in full.

Over in London, Rams backup linebacker Mario Haggan (thigh) and WR Brandon Gibson (illness) returned to practice, Haggan on a limited basis, Gibson in full. Gibson was mistakenly identified by the Rams PR department yesterday as rookie Chris Givens.

Tight end Mike McNeill was added with a knee problem.

Starting left tackle Wayne Hunter (back), backup tackle Roger Saffold (knee), and backup defensive end Eugene Sims (knee) did not practice for the second straight day.

Starting WR Danny Amendola (shoulder) was limited again in his second practice since returning. Rookie defensive tackle Matt Conrath (knee) was also limited.

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