It's important to remember that, since the adoption of the new CBA, NFL teams are only allowed 14 full pads practices during the regular season, 11 of which must come during the first 11 weeks.
No changes to the attendance report: running back Shane Vereen (left lower leg injury) and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe were the only two players not on the field. Either is potentially a candidate for the new "designated for return" injured reserve listing, which can be made anytime now (more on that in a moment).
O-lineman Nick McDonald (right arm) continues to take part in stretching again, but not in pads. Meantime, safety Patrick Chung (shoulder) has shed his red (no-contact) jersey in favor of his usual blue defensive one.
Veteran tight ends were fueling the rumor mill on Wednesday. Early in the day, ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss reported that the Patriots were on the verge of signing Michael Hoomanawanui, previously of St. Louis and Washington. All that was holding up his signing was the passing of a physical exam. Later in the morning, however, Mary Paoletti of Comcast SportsNet New England reported that Kellen Winslow Jr. was also getting a physical from the Patriots and would be the choice if he passed. Both reports indicated that Shiancoe would be placed on injured reserve/designated for return to make room on the 53-man roster.
It turned out that Hoomanawanui was the one who passed his physical. He was on the practice field wearing jersey number 47. Head coach Bill Belichick acknowledge in pre-practice remarks that transactions were coming, but nothing had been finalized. By practice time a few minutes later, however, it was evident that something had been done.
There were further reports by ESPN Boston over the past couple of days that concerned the practice squad. That outlet reported that RB Eric Kettani had been released in favor of o-lineman Jeremiah Warren, who was with the team during training camp. Warren was also suited up for practice today. ESPN Boston also stated that WR Sam Kirkland had been cut, but there was a receiver wearing jersey 19 (which Kirkland had been wearing), so, it's unclear if he had been released or not.
More locker room updates will be posted on patriots.com later today. And the first injury report of 2012 will be updated here on the blog late this afternoon.
UPDATE… 3:37 PM
Per Greg Bedard of The Boston Globe, that mystery receiver #19 is Kerry Taylor, who was among the final cuts last Friday. So, it seems Kirkland was indeed let go.