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Patriots 2018 mandatory minicamp: Day one recap; Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski steal the show in their return to practice

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Notes and musings from the Patriots' first minicamp practice.

NFL: New England Patriots-Minicamp Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today, months of speculation and rumors came to an end when the New England Patriots’ two biggest stars rejoined their teammates on the practice fields: Quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski returned after sitting out the voluntary portions of the Patriots’ offseason program so far. Needless to say that Brady and Gronkowski were the story of the day in New England — but far from the only noteworthy one.

Let's recap the first practice of the Patriots' 2018 mandatory minicamp.


Attendance

Five players were not spotted during the session: WR Malcolm Mitchell, RB Brandon Bolden, TE Jacob Hollister, OG Joe Thuney, FS David Jones. (source)

Five players returned to practice after missing the last open session last Thursday: QB Tom Brady, TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Cody Hollister, CB Cyrus Jones, SS Nate Ebner. (source)

Eight players were present but limited: WR Cody Hollister, WR Braxton Berrios, OT Marcus Cannon, DT Malcom Brown, CB Cyrus Jones, CB Jonathan Jones, CB Keion Crossen, SS Nate Ebner. (source)


Injuries

Wide receiver Kenny Britt left the session early due to a knee/ankle injury. (source)


Offense

The quarterbacks looked as follows during 11-on-11 drills (source):

Tom Brady: 11/13

Brian Hoyer: 11/13

Danny Etling: 3/5

The quarterbacks looked as follows during 7-on-7 drills (source):

Tom Brady: 4/5

Brian Hoyer: 4/4

In his first team practice since February, Brady immediately resumed his role as the top quarterback on the team. A long pass to wide receiver Kenny Britt was one of the highlights of the session. (source)

Brady also connected with Jordan Matthews on a couple of passes (source) and ended the session working with Julian Edelman and Dwayne Allen. (source)

Speaking of Edelman: For the first time this offseason, he was spotted participating in full-speed team drills. (source)

Rob Gronkowski also had a good session and delivered one of its best plays: He caught a 55-yard touchdown pass by Brian Hoyer down the sideline despite being well-covered by Jordan Richards and Damarius Travis. (source)

At one point, the Patriots used the following offensive line combination (source):

Trent Brown — Isaiah Wynn — David AndrewsShaq MasonLaAdrian Waddle

The entire offense including coordinator Josh McDaniels had to run a penalty lap following a false start. (source)


Defense

As has been the case last week, J.C. Jackson saw first-team reps at cornerback opposite Stephon Gilmore. (source)

Jordan Richards was beat twice by Gronkowski on deep balls. (source)

At one point, Adrian Clayborn read a Chris Hogan end-around and blew up the play. (source)

Dont'a Hightower, Derek Rivers and Harvey Langi, all three coming off stints on season-ending injury lists, were again among the full participants.


Special teams

Cordarrelle Patterson, Riley McCarron and Jomal Wiltz served as the kickoff returners. (source)


Miscellaneous

A group of Iowa coaches were present for the session, including ex-Patriots assistant and current Hawkeyes offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz. (source)

Deatrich Wise, Jason King, Cody Hollister and rookies Braxton Berrios and Danny Etling were the last guys on the field after practice and putting in some extra work. (source)

The Patriots will return to the practice fields tomorrow for their second of three minicamp days.