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Quick notes from Patriots’ Thursday morning walkthrough

07.28.11 at 12:31 pm ET

FOXBORO ‘€” The Patriots kicked off the 2011 season under mostly sunny skies Thursday morning on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. Their first practice ‘€” really, more of a glorified walkthough ‘€” ran for roughly one hour. Consider the pace of the practice and the number of bodies that were absent, it was difficult to glean much if anything from the first get-together of training camp.

‘€¢What we can tell you is that the following players were not on the field: Ryan Mallett, Ras-I Dowling, Kyle Arrington, Shane Vereen, Sammy Morris, Stevan Ridley, Malcolm Williams, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Marcus Cannon, Logan Mankins, Nate Solder, Nick Kaczur, Alge Crumpler and Myron Pryor. In all, 73 Patriots participated in the walkthrough this morning with 14 absences ‘€” seven veterans and seven unsigned draft picks.

Now, it’€™s important to remember that many of those players had excused absences–with the new rules, everyone is still learning on the fly. To clarify, Mankins, Green-Ellis and Morris are not allowed on the field until official start of new league year Aug. 4, as guys who are not officially under contract technically don’€™t have deals until new league year begins.

‘€¢Five players stopped to talk with the media immediately following practice: Deion Branch, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Devin McCourty and Ty Warren all answered questions, with Wilfork and Warren holding court in extended sessions with reporters. Many of them faced questions about new acquisition Albert Haynesworth.

‘€œI met him a couple of times [as a collegian],’€ Mayo said of his fellow Volunteer. ‘€œHe’€™s a good guy but I really don’€™t know. He’€™s not here right now. That’€™s another question you’€™re going to have to ask me tomorrow or the day after. I really don’€™t know. ‘€¦ Hopefully he can come here and help us out.’€

‘€œI don’€™t know anything about him,’€ Branch said. ‘€œWe hear the rumors. It’€™s not solid until it’€™s done. I was supposed to get traded three years ago, and it didn’€™t happen.’€

‘€œI mean, I think he’s a great player, hell of a player. I had a chance to play in the Pro Bowl with him, so I think he’s a great athlete,’€ Wilfork said.

‘€¢There are still conflicting reports about the status of defensive lineman Marcus Stroud ‘€” however, with the addition of Haynesworth and the fact that Stroud was still working through a shoulder problem that had dogged him as of late, it wouldn’€™t be a surprise to see them cut loose the former Buffalo lineman.

Read More: 2011 training camp,



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