One of the New England Patriots’ top free agent additions practiced in front of reporters for the first time Monday.
Tight end Jonnu Smith was present on Day 1 of New England’s mandatory minicamp after sitting out voluntary organized team activities.
The Patriots signed Smith to a four-year, $50 million contract on Day 1 of free agency in March. The 25-year-old is coming off a career campaign, catching 41 passes for 448 yards and eight touchdowns in his fourth and final season with the Tennessee Titans.
An apparent hamstring injury kept Smith out of the latter stages of practice.
Smith wasn’t the only important offensive contributor to arrive Monday. Starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn and running backs Sony Michel, James White and Brandon Bolden all were present at the first minicamp session.
Like Smith, those four did not attend any OTAs that were open to reporters.
Quarterback Cam Newton was another notable participant, practicing after missing three OTAs with a hand injury. Newton also took part in last Friday’s practice, which was closed to the media.
Tight end Hunter Henry — like Smith, a premier free agent signee — was a full participant Monday after sitting out most of last Thursday’s open OTA with an apparent ankle/lower leg injury.
Headlining the list of absent players was cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who reportedly wants a new contract. Gilmore, who’s set to earn a base salary of just $7 million this season, has yet to participate in any portion of the Patriots’ offseason program.
Outside linebackers Chase Winovich and Rashod Berry, inside linebacker Terez Hall and defensive tackle Byron Cowart also were absent.
Two unidentified players participated in practice: a wide receiver wearing No. 87 and an offensive lineman wearing No. 63. Head coach Bill Belichick said in his pre-practice video conference that the Patriots had multiple players in town for tryouts.
New England is scheduled to hold two additional minicamp practices Tuesday and Wednesday before breaking for the summer.