FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots receiving corps received some unexpected boosts Monday, as Julian Edelman practiced in pads for the first time this summer.
In addition, rookie first-round pick N’Keal Harry and veterans Phillip Dorsett and Maurice Harris returned as well.
All of this came on the day Josh Gordon made his practice debut. The receiver participated in stretching but was not in pads as he began the day on the non-football injury list.
The media window for watching practice was limited to stretching and jogging, so it’s unclear about the participation level of the returning receivers.
Edelman had been on non-football injury list as he recovered from a broken left thumb. Harry suffered a pair of apparent leg injuries in Detroit, one at practice and another in the game, which was the preseason opener.
Dorsett missed the second Detroit practice after coming down hard and leaving the Wednesday practice early. He participated in warm-ups for the Tennessee game Saturday night but did not play.
“I feel good,’’ Dorsett said with a smile before practice.
Harris suffered an undisclosed injury during the second joint practice in Nashville and didn’t play in the victory over the Titans.
Fellow receivers Demaryius Thomas and Cam Meredith also were on the field for the media window but, like, Gordon, were not in uniform.
Tight end Matt LaCosse, who sprained his ankle in the Lions game, also was back in uniform.
Outside linebackers Derek Rivers and Shilique Calhoun, both of whom were injured in the Titans game, were not spotted at practice.
As is his policy, coach Bill Belichick declined to discuss injuries during his morning meeting with reporters. The coach did take a humorous approach to his answers, however.
“Yeah, those injury reports — is that in two weeks? Yeah, I’m pretty excited to be able to give those out when they come out in a couple of weeks,’’ he said with a chuckle. “Yeah, so until then, we’re not able to do that, but I’m looking forward to those injury reports when we get to give those out. We’ll make sure you guys all get a copy of them. We don’t want anybody to be left behind.’’
Asked some follow ups on Josh Gordon, Bill Belichick refers to his Saturday statement. Humorously asks if there “was another line of questioning or can the witness step down?” #Patriots pic.twitter.com/zl90q03DK1— Jim McBride (@globejimmcbride) August 19, 2019
Tight end Eric Saubert was caught by surprise when he found out he had been traded from the Atlanta Falcons to the Patriots last week.
“I didn’t see that coming,’’ Saubert said Monday at Gillette Stadium. “But, it’s the nature of this business and I’m here now, so I’ll put my best foot forward and focus on contributing to this team.’’
Saubert, who was selected 174th overall by the Falcons in the 2017 NFL Draft, acknowledged the past six days have been a bit of a whirlwind. The 25-year-old participated in his first practice at Gillette Stadium last Tuesday before jetting off to Nashville for a pair of joint practices with the Titans. The business trip concluded with Saturday’s preseason contest in which Saubert caught a pass from quarterback Jarrett Stidham for 10 yards.
Back in Foxborough on Monday, Saubert said he’s still in “catch-up mode.’’ Individual sessions with tight ends coach Nick Caley have been particularly useful in learning the nuances of the offense, Saubert noted.
“I’m just trying to soak in everything I can because I’m so behind,’’ Saubert said. “Him working with me, I appreciate so much, so that’s been huge.’’
New England’s depth chart at tight end also includes LaCosse; Benjamin Watson, who is suspended for the first four games of the season; fellow newcomer Lance Kendricks; second-year player Ryan Izzo; and former practice-squad member Stephen Anderson.
Saubert said he’s happy to contribute in whatever way possible.
“I’ll do anything for this team that they ask me to do,’’ he said. “Catch passes, block, be that wide tight end, [in-line] tight end, special teams — that’s a big part of what I do. So, anything they need me to do, I’ll be there.’’
Brady to play?
Does quarterback Tom Brady need to play Thursday to be prepared for the regular season?
“As always, we’ll do what’s best for the football team — for each player and for the team,’’ Belichick said.
Brady has yet to take a preseason snap this season.
Center David Andrews, who also has yet to see any game action, said he would love the opportunity to compete but noted the decision is up to the coaching staff.
“I just do what I’m told,’’ he said. “I prepare each week like I’m going to play. I do what I’m told in that aspect. It’s not my decision to judge or make those calls.
“If you love competing, any chance you can go out there and compete that you don’t get to is — you know, you want to be out there. But at the same time, the coaches make the decisions. It’s my job to follow those decisions.’’