Tight end Aaron Hernandez (right ankle), linebacker Tracy White (left foot), defensive end Trevor Scott (hamstring) and rookie running back Brandon Bolden (left knee) were the only players not seen at the start of practice. Scott appears to have suffered a setback, as he took part in last week's full-pads practice.
Hernandez, who turned 23 today, has been out of commission because of his injury. He also became a father today, with the birth of daughter Avielle, which may have contributed to his absence from practice.
Cornerback Kyle Arrington (concussion), however, was back in action for the first time since the first quarter of the Rams game in London, when he was injured.
Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe continues to practice and is now eligible to come off of injured reserve, as he was the one player listed as "Designated to Return." Head coach Bill Belichick appeared pleased with his progress to date. "It's good to see him back out there. I'd say he's moving well. He had an opportunity to actually run some of our plays on Thursday, did some scout teams the week before, the St. Louis week. We'll give it another week here and see how it goes. But I think he's making progress; it's good to see him out there."
New England made a transaction today, adding rookie linebacker Jerrell Harris to the practice squad. The club had one spot remaining there. Harris played at Alabama alongside fellow Patriots rookie 'backer Dont'a Hightower.
Co-captain Matthew Slater was visibly uncomfortable, yet polite, trying to dodge reporters' questions about Aqib Talib, the currently suspended cornerback for whom New England traded last week. He nervously tapped his knee and knowingly grinned in between answers. "I trust in the decisions of Coach Belichick, [Director of Player Personnel Nick] Caserio, and the rest of this organization to do what's best for our football team moving forward, giving us the best chance to succeed on the field." That last line was delivered as if being read off a teleprompter.
Wide receiver Deion Branch is one of the only players who has been willing to discuss Talib in any detail. "He's a great player," said Branch. "I don't know if we'll use him the same way that [Tampa Bay] used him. It's just all about what happens once he's here."
Defensive end Rob Ninkovich says he's feeling good coming off the team's bye week. "Physically, when you're a little bit banged up, it's tough mentally to stay strong. So, when you get that bye week to get your body back, you just have more confidence knowing, 'Hey, I'm fresh, I'm good, I'm ready to roll.'"
Ninko added that he tried cleaning the gutters on his house, among other non-football tasks during his days off. "I really did, because my gutters were overflowing, and I decided, 'I'm renting this place. I shouldn't be falling off the roof of my house right now.' So, I just stopped what I was doing… called the landlord."
There's no injury report today, despite the practice. NFL clubs aren't required to submit one if they practice on a Tuesday coming off a bye week. We'll have one tomorrow, for sure.