… Another gorgeous day, post-Irene, here in New England, with bright sunshine, blue skies, and temps around 80 for Tuesday's Patriots practice. This, the only practice of the week, was in shorts, shells, and helmets on the training camp practice fields.
… Notable absentees were WRs Wes Welker (who spoke to reporters in the locker room beforehand) and Taylor Price, and OL Dan Connolly, all of whom are new additions to the list. Welker suffered a neck injury making a tackle on a Tom Brady interception this past Saturday night in Detroit. Connollly also departed early with what looked like a right ankle injury. It's unclear why Price wasn't out there. Still no sign of CB Leigh Bodden either. His last appearance was at Tampa Bay in preseason game two.
… The remaining list of absentees was as follows: rookie RB Stevan Ridley, RBs Kevin Faulk and Eric Kettani, rookie LB Jeff Tarpinian, rookie OL Marcus Cannon, OL Ryan Wendell, DL Brandon Deaderick, and DLs Jermaine Cunningham and Ron Brace.
… That means good news for LBs Dane Fletcher and Brandon Spikes, as well as DL Mike Wright, all of whom were back on the field for the first time in a while. Fletcher was wearing a protective covering over his broken right thumb, suffered against the Bucs. Spikes and Wright both haven't been seen since the early days of training camp.
… The Patriots have a new long snapper. Veteran James Dearth, mostly a Jet in his previous 10 seasons, was in uniform today wearing jersey number 45. To make room for him, the Patriots, who were at 81 players, had to cut two players to get down to the league-required 80-man limit by the end of the day.
…One of the newest Patriots, WR Tiquan Underwood, is rocking a serious, old-school, Kid-n-Play high-top fade, which we first noticed in preseason Week 1 when he came to Gillette Stadium as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He said in the locker room today that he's trying to bring the generation-old look back because he knows someday he won't have as much hair as he does now.
… Quite an active locker room interview period today, with several high-profile players granting some Q&A time to reporters. Welker, as indicated, was joined by fellow receiver Chad Ochocinco and All-Pro guard Logan Mankins. I'll post a full report on patriots.com shortly. Also ahead today, the Patriots are hosting their annual Kickoff Gala here at the newly-re-powered up Gillette Stadium, and among those we're expected to talk with beforehand is owner Robert Kraft. Look for something on the blog later from tonight's festivities.