FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots had another very busy practice Monday, but all of their strides could take a backseat to an apparent injury to Rob Gronkowski.
The second-year tight end walked off the field with two trainers about an hour and a half into the session, and he never returned to the field. He wasn't limping, so it wasn't clear what happened.
Right guard Dan Connolly also injured his right elbow late in the practice, and he watched the remainder of the session. He said after that he'd get treatment and see what happens.
Defensive linemen Andre Carter and Gerard Warren debuted on the field after signing Monday. Shaun Ellis was present, but he did not participate. He said he'd join practice "soon."
Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, linebacker Brandon Spikes (ankle) and defensive lineman Mike Wright each missed their third consecutive practices. Offensive lineman Ryan Wendell was out for the sixth straight session, and running back Eric Kettani missed his ninth practice in a row.
Wide receiver Brandon Tate (hamstring), cornerback Ras-I Dowling (hamstring), running back Shane Vereen (hamstring), safety James Sanders (hamstring), safety Ross Ventrone, safety Josh Barrett, defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick, defensive lineman Ron Brace, left tackle Matt Light, running back Kevin Faulk and offensive lineman Marcus Cannon did not participate in practice but did watch from the sideline.
The Patriots took care of a lot of situational work, which started with a hard rainstorm that lasted 10 minutes about one hour into the session. The offense worked on passing drills to give the wide receivers, tight ends and running backs a chance to catch a wet ball. Then, Tom Brady and center Dan Koppen were forced to run a penalty lap after fumbling the first live snap of practice, which took place during the rain.
When the rain cleared, the Patriots also attempted a surprise onside kick, but linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, who was on the front line for the receiving team, recovered it.
They worked on the two-minute offense at different points of practice with Bill Belichick continuously changing up the down, distance and spot of the ball. At one point, they transitioned from a goal-line touchdown run (Stevan Ridley) to a third-and-10 from the 30-yard line.
It's a common tactic that Belichick uses to keep the players mentally sharp in order for them to remain prepared for every situation.