The team kicked off Monday morning's session with its annual slip-and-slide for the rookies. A coaching assistant soaked a far corner of the field with a hose before handing the reigns to quarterback Tom Brady, who led the always-hilarious drill.
Each rookie had multiples turns diving to the turf to grab a fallen football. Linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, who was injured during last year's mud drill, also took a turn, but wide receiver Brandon Tate dodged it. Rookie assistant coach Corwin Brown also took a dive.
The practice ran shorter than usual because the Patriots are conducting their in-stadium session Monday night for season-ticket holders. The later practice extends the day by about three or four hours, so head coach Bill Belichick wanted to lighten their morning workload.
Linebacker Gary Guyton, who suffered a left knee injury Sunday afternoon, missed his first practice. Also absent were defensive lineman Ty Warren, offensive lineman Nick Kaczur, wide receiver Matthew Slater, safety Bret Lockett (who worked out on the sideline during his prior six absences), outside linebacker Derrick Burgess and left guard Logan Mankins.
Defensive linemen Mike Wright and Ron Brace missed practice but worked out on the side, as did cornerbacks Terrence Johnson and Jonathan Wilhite and running back Thomas Clayton.
Right guard Stephen Neal and linebacker Thomas Williams returned to practice after each missed Sunday afternoon's session.
The Patriots also signed tight end Carson Butler and rookie wide receiver Rod Owens. Butler quickly took No. 86, which David Patten wore before retiring Saturday, and Owens is wearing No. 15. Both participated in the morning practice.
With the two signings, the Patriots are maxed out at 80 players, which does not include outside linebacker Burgess (Reserve/Did Not Report list) and Mankins, who is not under contract.