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Quick Kicks: Thu 9/27 practice & locker room notes

Dark, storm skies gave way to warm, sunny ones today when the Patriots went out to practice Thursday.

The team practiced in full pads, their fourth such session of the 2012 regular season. Per NFL rules, teams must have 11 full-pads practices in the first 11 weeks of the season.

For the second straight day, left guard Logan Mankins (hip) and wide receiver Julian Edelman (left hand) were absent. Tight end Aaron Hernandez (right ankle) remains out along with rookie defensive end Justin Francis (ankle).

Hernandez did make a brief appearance in the locker room, walking around, as he had last week, barefoot and without any medical equipment on his foot. He did not speak on the record with any reporters, but chatted casually a couple of times. He appeared to be walking much more normally than he was immediately after the Arizona game, when he first injured the ankle.

Tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was not at practice either, but that's because he reportedly asked to be released and the Patriots granted his wish. ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported that news, while The Boston Globe's Shalise Manza Young reported that Winslow, who was in the locker room beforehand, departed Gillette a short time later.

On a positive note, defensive linemen Brandon Deaderick (ankle) returned after missing yesterday's workout, the Baltimore game, and parts of last week's practice.

According to Mark Gaughan, who covers the Bills for the Buffalo News, running back C.J. Spiller (shoulder) returned to practice after not taking part Wednesday.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft is one of 127 modern-day nominees for the 2013 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He will be among 23 others being considered in the Contributor category. This is Kraft's first time as a Hall nominee. Former Patriots QB Drew Bledsoe is also among the nominees at his position.

The full injury report will be updated here on the blog during the 4 o'clock hour.

UPDATE… 4:37 pm

In one respect, Patriots fans can breathe easy, as QB Tom Brady (right shoulder) was removed from New England's injury report today after popping up on it yesterday. However, DL Kyle Love (knee) was added. He took part in practice on a limited basis Thursday.

However, Mankins remains a non-participant at practice along with Edleman, Hernandez, and Francis.

Meanwhile, Deaderick was limited in his return to the field. The rest of the players listed yesterday had no change (all were limited): rookie CB Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring), OL Nick McDonald (right shoulder), CB Sterling Moore (knee), RB Shane Vereen (left foot), and RT Sebastian Vollmer (back).

Over in Buffalo, WR Ruvell Martin (ankle) was the only Bill who did not practice today. RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder) returned on a limited basis, as did CB Leodis McKelvin (groin). RB Fred Jackson (knee) was limited for the second straight day. Head coach Chan Gailey told local media he expected Jackson to play Sunday versus New England.

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