QB Tom Brady, DE Rob Ninkovich (left hip), and rookie LB Dont'a Hightower (left hamstring/shoulder) were not at practice. It's unclear exactly why Brady was not present, but chances are, it was merely a "veteran day off." It's not uncommon for him to skip practices during bye weeks.
CB Marquice Cole (left pinkie finger) returned to practice after missing two straight sessions and the Dolphins game.
Four players were seen with black jerseys, meaning they'd won Practice Player of the Week honors for their efforts to help prepare for the Miami game last week: QB Ryan Mallett, rookie DE Jake Bequette, practice squad rookie DL Marcus Forston, and practice squad rookie WR Jeremy Ebert.
The newest Patriot – practice squad rookie Tracy Robertson – is wearing jersey number 93. He was signed New Year's Day.
New England has one spot available on the roster, as they currently only have seven practice squad players. The max is eight.
Media interviews with players are scheduled to begin around 3:30 p.m. EST.
UPDATE… 4:28 PM Cornerback Aqib Talib told reporters he's eagerly awaiting his first-ever NFL playoff appearance. In his previous years in Tampa Bay, he never played in the post-season.
Wide receiver Wes Welker said he'll probably watch the Cincinnati-Houston Wild Card game "pretty closely" on Saturday. If Houston wins, they would automatically return to Foxborough to following week for the Divisional Round.
Tight end Aaron Hernandez, who's had a playoff bye each of his first three seasons with the Patriots, was asked how the team balances resting over the next few days with staying sharp, mentally and physically. "We have a couple of practices where we're going to go hard," he replied, "and work on the things we need to work on. The days we have off, relax and maybe watch a little bit of film and get some mental reps."
New England will have Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off after tomorrow's practice.