FOXBORO, Mass. — Three New England Patriots players were missing Thursday as the team took the field for its first training camp practice of the summer.
Defensive ends Rob Ninkovich and Kony Ealy and long snapper Joe Cardona were the lone absences.
Ealy exited New England’s final minicamp practice early last month for unknown reasons and didn’t take the field on the last day of organized team activities that was open to the media.
The reason for Ninkovich’s absence also was unclear. He was a guest Thursday morning on ProFootballTalk’s “PFT Live.”
According to ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss, Cardona missed practice to fulfill a Navy commitment that runs through Friday.
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower, defensive lineman Alan Branch and offensive lineman Andrew Jelks were present Thursday but didn’t practice. Hightower and Branch are on the physically unable to perform list, and Jelks is on the non-football injury list.
Wide receiver Tony Washington and defensive end Caleb Kidder both practiced after signing with the Patriots on Thursday morning.
Linebacker Jonathan Freeny, who missed most of last season with a shoulder injury, was a full participant after wearing a red non-contact jersey during OTAs and minicamp.
UPDATE (2:48 p.m. ET): Ninkovich missed practice for personal reasons, according to Greg Bedard of Boston Sports Journal.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images