The Patriots first training camp practice of the season is in the books, and for the fans who flooded the stands behind Gilllette Stadium on a sun-splashed summer morning, it wasn't the most exciting session.
Players wore their customary white (offense) and blue (defense) jerseys, but they were not in pads and helmets - the session was a walkthrough which lasted about 45 minutes.Under the transition rules of the NFL/NFLPA agreement, players cannot be in pads during the opening days of camp; it is expected that New England will be in pads for the first time on Saturday.
But it didn't matter to fans, who were treated to the entire squad signing autographs afterwards. Generally during training camp different position groups go after each practice, but perhaps as an olive branch after the NFL lockout, all of the players were asked to meet with fans.
There were several players not spotted. Among veterans, CB Kyle Arrington, RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, G Logan Mankins, T Nick Kaczur, TE Alge Crumpler, DL Myron Pryor and DL Marcus Stroud were missing.
Also, draft picks Nate Solder, Ras-I Dowling, Shane Vereen, Marcus Cannon and Malcolm Williams, all of whom are unsigned, were not spotted. Stevan Ridley was missing as well, though his deal was completed this morning, and he may have been undergoing his physical and will have to take his conditioning test before he's able to practice.
With Solder unavailable, Sebastian Vollmer was the first-team left tackle with the offensive line; Ryan Wendell was at left guard (in place of Mankins), Dan Koppen was at center, Dan Connolly at right guard and Mark LeVoir at right tackle.
Players who spoke after the practice all seemed to be under a "no Haynesworth" gag order, brushing off most questions about their potential teammate. But Ty Warren did say Haynesworth has "freakish talent" and could be a "huge acquisition" for the Pats.
The second practice of the day is scheduled to get underway at 2:30 p.m.