The Patriots are coming! The Patriots are coming!

FOXBOROUGH — Escorted by a phalanx of six State Police motorcycles, 1 black unmarked cruiser and 1 sports utility vehicle, the Patriots’ caravan of six buses departed Gillette Stadium, with coach Bill Belichick and his son, Stephen, riding in the first row of the first bus after being the last to board just four minutes before the scheduled 4 p.m. departure.

Cornerback Darius Butler, who for the second day in a row was absent from the media-access portion of practice, was spotted walking with a slight limp as he boarded bus No. 1. Butler, who showed up on Wednesday’s practice report with an ankle injury, was the sole player among the five missing from today’s practice who was seen boarding for the trip to London.

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Running backs Fred Taylor (ankle) and Sammy Morris (knee) , rookie wide receiver Julian Edelman (forearm) and tackle Matt Light (knee) were not spotted among the travel party as they departed the stadium.

Quarterback Tom Brady, ever the dapper one, boarded bus No. 3 wearing a stylish gray suit (from Savile Row, perhaps?) looking like he was prepared to do a round on the British morning chat show circuit upon his arrival at Heathrow at 5:35 a.m. Friday morning.

Steps behind Brady was Adalius Thomas. The veteran linebacker was back on the bus after he was a healthy scratch for the first time since his rookie year in 2000. He caused a bit of a stir, though, when he departed bus No. 3 and ducked into the stadium. Had Belichick given him some more bad news? Was he off the bus?

Those burning questions were answered a few minutes later when Thomas reappeared with four Gatorade bottles in hand. Ah, it was nothing more than a Gatorade run. False alarm.

Or was it?

In a bit of a comical scene, Thomas was spotted disembarking from bus No. 3, then boarding bus No. 2, then disembarking bus No. 2, and boarding bus No. 3. When he emerged with a container of cheese puffs in hand, it was evident he had gone on a snack run.

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No reason for alarm. Thomas was indeed on the bus and headed to Logan with the rest of the team.

The team released it’s updated practice report for Thursday’s practice about an hour after its departure from Gillette Stadium. S Brandon Meriweather (foot) was limited in his participation while G Stephen Neal (not injury related) returned to full participation after he was limited in Wednesday’s practice. For the Buccaneers, former Boston College defensive standout Chris Hovan (ankle) returned to Thursday’s practice after sitting out Wednesday, while RB Clifton Smith engaged in limited participation after sitting out Wednesday as well. CB Talib Aqib (hamstring) was limited in Thursday’s practice.

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Patriots
Player — injury — Wed. participation — Thurs. participation

CB Darius Butler — ankle — Did Not Participate — Did Not Participate
WR Julian Edelman — forearm — Did Not Participate — Did Not Participate
T Matt Light — knee — Did Not Participate — Did Not Participate
RB Sammy Morris — knee — Did Not Participate — Did Not Participate
RB Fred Taylor –ankle — Did Not Participate — Did Not Participate
S Brandon Meriweather — foot — Full Participation — Limited Participation
G Stephen Neal — not injury related — Limited Participation — Full Participation
S James Sanders — shoulder — Limited Participation — Limited Participation
DB Shawn Springs — knee — Limited Participation — Limited Participation
QB Tom Brady — right shoulder — Full Participation — Full Participation
DE Jarvis Green — knee — Full Participation — Full Participation
OT Nick Kaczur — ankle — Full Participation — Full Participation
LB Jerod Mayo — knee — Full Participation — Full Participation
WR Randy Moss — shoulder — Full Participation — Full Participation
WR Wes Welker — knee — Full Participation — Full Participation
DT Vince Wilfork — ankle — Full Participation — Full Participation

Buccaneers
DT Chris Hovan — ankle — Did Not Participate — Full Participation
RB Clifton Smith — concussion — Did Not Participate — Limited Participation
WR Michael Clayton — hamstring — Limited Participation — Full Participation
LB Barrett Ruud — elbow — Limited Participation — Full Participation
DT Ryan Sims — hand — Limited Participation — Full Participation
CB Talib Aqib — hamstring — Full Participation — Limited Participation

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