… Occasional showers created a slick track for the Patriots today down on the single grass practice field behind Gillette Stadium. The team was in full pads at today's workout. This is the sixth of the season so far for New England. The Patriots have five more full pads sessions to squeeze in before the end of Week 11. As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, teams only get 14 full pads practices per regular season, with the first 11 having to come over the course of the first 11 weeks.
… Linebacker Dane Fletcher continues to be the only Patriot who isn't participating in practice. He had been playing with an injured right thumb, so, it will interesting to see how he's listed on today's injury report.
… Good news from the PUP/NFI front, as all four players have been practicing this week: running back Kevin Faulk, defensive linemen Ron Brace and Brandon Deaderick, and rookie o-lineman Marcus Cannon.
… One semi-humorous moment in the early part of practice came when the defensive backs and skill position offensive players were engaged in a ball protection drill. The offense carries the ball while jogging across the field, as the defender tries at half speed to knock the ball loose. Safety Patrick Chung was matched up with wide receiver Taylor Price, and as they got to midfield, Chung gave him a swipe that knocked Price on his behind. The drill isn't meant to be that aggressive. Perhaps the wet surface had something to do with it.
… Earlier today, tight end Rob Gronkowski bravely spoke to reporters who wanted to ask about his interesting bye week. I'll post a full report on him, and a surprise appearance by injured center Dan Koppen, later on patriots.com.
UPDATE … 4:20 p.m.
Fletcher is still just listed with a thumb injury. His extended absence, therefore, is a curiosity. Seven other Patriots were limited in their practice participation today. No surprises in this group: safety Josh Barrett (thumb), who no longer has a hamstring issue, cornerback Leigh Bodden (thumb), rookie corner Ras-I Dowling (hip), running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe), defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth (back), linebacker Jerod Mayo (left knee), and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back).
The Steelers, meantime, are a bit banged up, with starting outside linebacker James Harrison (eye) and wide receiver Hines Ward (ankle) among the five Pittsburgh players not taking part in today's practice down in Pennsylvania.