While shoppers headed for stores across the region, the Patriots went back to work on a frigid Friday after Thanksgiving. The team had Thursday off to enjoy the holiday, and every player except two was spotted during the media viewing window at the start of today's session.
Notably, quarterback Tom Brady did not make an appearance in that brief timeframe. He cropped up on the injury report earlier this week with a knee injury that limited his activity in the previous practice on Wednesday.
It's unclear exactly when Brady was injured. However, since last week was the team's bye and injury reports are not distributed during those weeks, it's possible Brady sustained the injury in the last game against Tennessee.
You may recall that, after catching a third-down pass on a trick play, Brady stumbled and was tackled short of first-down yardage. He remained in the game for one more play – a failed pass attempt on the subsequent fourth down early in the fourth quarter – and then yielded to backup Brian Hoyer on the final two drives of the game.
As of Friday morning, Brady was scheduled to speak to reporters following today's practice. He did not keep that commitment as a result of his absence from Friday's session.
Tight end Dwayne Allen, meantime, was the only other Patriot who didn't appear at practice. He's been out since the Titans game with a left knee problem incurred during that contest. Allen was in the locker room after practice Friday.
Gronkowski 'good to go'
After missing three of the past four games with ankle and back issues, tight end Rob Gronkowski all but declared that he'll be playing against the Jets this Sunday.
"I'm good to go and excited to be back out there with the team, excited to get back out there on Sundays and play some ball," he told reporters Friday afternoon. "I had a lot of good people to work hard with, do exercises, get everything back right and just keep on grinding every day so I can get back out there with my teammates, and that's what it will be on Sunday."
Even though he's had a history of back injuries and surgeries, Gronkowski insisted he's "not worried at all" about this latest back ailment.
"I feel good. I'm ready to go," he added. "Sunday afternoon in New York, it's going to be a hostile environment. It always is. They're a good team. They play hard. I mean, I can't recall a game where I would say they haven't played hard in my nine years playing them. So it'll be a good one. It'll be a tough one, but it'll be a good one again… I'm ready to play. I'm excited to be back out there come Sunday."