FOXBORO, Mass. — Some notes and nuggets from Monday’s joint practice between the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars:
— When long snapper Joe Cardona met with the media after practice, he no longer was wearing his Patriots uniform. That’s because he swapped it out for a full Navy uniform shortly after post-practice conditioning wrapped up.
Why the change?
Well, Cardona is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and currently serves in the Naval Reserves, the responsibilities of which forced him to miss the beginning of training camp last month. On Monday, he performed a reenlistment ceremony for two fellow Navy members on the field after practice.
“The two individuals, they approached me personally and asked me if I’d do it for them,” Cardona explained. “When someone comes out of their way to ask you to perform a reenlistment, they’re saying, ‘I want you to be a part of my service story and how my career goes. I want you to have an important part in it.’
“The fact that they deem me willing to do that or deserving to, that’s something that I take a lot of pride in.”
Both teams remained on the field while Cardona led the ceremony.
“To have the backing of the organization and the players coming on their own, as well as the players for Jacksonville to come out and be a part of the reenlistment ceremony, it really meant a lot to me,” Cardona said.
— The Jaguars brought a familiar face with them to Foxboro: running back Tyler Gaffney, who spent most of last season on the Patriots’ practice squad.
Gaffney, who played a total of three seasons for the Patriots but spent two of them on injured reserve, caught up with a few of his old teammates on the field after practice.
— Monday was a quiet day for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who caught just one pass in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills and had two bad drops, including one on a deep ball from Tom Brady that would have resulted in an easy touchdown.
“It’s always frustrating when you drop the ball,” Gronkowski said. “But you’ve got to go back out there and you’ve got to put that play in the back of your head and keep on going.”
Patriots players dropped seven passes in all during the practice, by far their sloppiest showing of training camp.
— In honor of Vince Wilfork’s retirement, here’s a look back at one of the highlights of the ex-Patriot’s illustrious career: his 36-yard interception return against Philip Rivers in 2011.
Here’s to wishing Big Vince a happy and rib-filled retirement.
Thumbnail photo via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images
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