After getting Sunday off, the New England Patriots returned to the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium earlier today to kick off their preparations for this week’s third preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. As opposed to previous sessions this summer, Monday’s practice was not open to the public while reporters only were allowed to watch the first few minutes — with the players doing little more than warming up.
However, those few minutes made clear that the Patriots received some much-needed offensive reinforcements as multiple previously injured players were back on the field. The biggest news is obviously the return of wide receiver Julian Edelman, who opened training camp on the non-football injury list after hurting his finger earlier this summer. He was in uniform and full pads, an indication that he has been activated again.
Furthermore, wide receivers N’Keal Harry and Maurice Harris were also present for the opening of the session after missing parts (Harris) or all (Harry) of last week’s practices and subsequent preseason contest in Tennessee. Edelman and the two first-year Patriots were not the only wide receivers back in action. The same — at least somewhat — can also be said about recently reinstated Josh Gordon, who is still on the non-football injury list.
Another player who also returned to work today is tight end Matt LaCosse. The offseason acquisition, who is the top candidate to be the team’s number one tight end on opening weekend, suffered a sprained ankle in the first preseason game against the Detroit Lions and was absent since then. His return — much like the others — is obviously terrific news for a Patriots offense that was shorthanded during the last week.
Not all was positive, though: edge defenders Shilique Calhoun and Derek Rivers were not spotted during the session. The two youngsters left Saturday’s game against the Titans because of injury and did not return. Now, it looks like they are also unable to practice.