The first three practices of the New England Patriots’ training camp all took place without Michael Bennett on the field: the veteran, who was acquired via trade in March from the Philadelphia Eagles to add depth to the team’s defensive edge position, was excused by the team for personal reasons — a previous report was confirmed by New England’s director of players personnel, Nick Caserio, ahead of Saturday’s practice session.
“Michael was excused for personal reasons. Michael’s been great to work with, so we’ll leave it at that. I really don’t want to get into it any further,” said Caserio yesterday. The situation looks different today as Bennett is back on the practice field in pads, an indication that he will be a full participant during what will be just his fourth overall practice since joining the Patriots: he sat out voluntary OTAs and only took part in mandatory minicamp.
The 33-year-old returning comes just two days after fellow defensive edge Deatrich Wise Jr. was activated off the physically unable to perform list (PUP). Needless to say that the depth along New England’s defensive line improved considerably since Friday — especially when keeping in mind that both Bennett and Wise Jr. are expected to be key members of the rotation at their position.