Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and safety Steve Gregory were officially downgraded to out on Saturday afternoon for Monday’s contest against the Panthers.

Alfonzo Dennard and Steve Gregory were the only two players missing at the start of Patriots practice on Saturday, according to media members who were present.

Dennard has been at practice all week prior to Saturday, but has popped up on the injury report as “limited” because of a knee problem. Gregory has been slowed by a thumb injury he sustained in the recent win over the Steelers, and is expected to be on the shelf for the next couple of weeks.

Where have all the bell cows gone?



FOXBORO — For the second straight day, Steve Gregory was the only absence, while six players — including tight end Rob Gronkowski (back/forearm/hamstring) and cornerback Aqib Talib (hip) — were among those listed as limited in Friday’s sweats and shells practice outside Gillette Stadium.

The team will practice again on Saturday and then hold a walk-through on Sunday before leaving for Monday night’s game in Charlotte against the Panthers.

Here is Friday’s complete report:

FOXBORO — A humble Rob Gronkowski apologized for offending anyone with his comments on a video that went viral this week on TMZ.com. In the video, Gronkowski is seen calling an Asian man named “Joe” up to the stage in a restaurant and asking him to dance.

The fan, seen in the video wearing a Patriots No. 87 jersey, joked with Gronkowski and the crowd that he can’t dance but he can cook fried rice.

Gronkowski was seen in the video repeating the words of the man, creating an instant controversy.

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss news from around the NFL, including the possible impact of Ed Reed, the health status of Peyton Manning and the legal maneuverings of Richie Incognito.

FOXBORO — It’s beginning to look like Patriots safety Steve Gregory will miss Monday’s game against the Panthers.

The safety was not spotted during the media portion of practice Friday morning, marking the second straight day he’s missed with an injured thumb suffered against the Steelers on Nov. 3. The team worked out in sweats and shells on a mild, pleasant morning on the lower practice field.

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady is playing a lot better than you think -- or at least better than most of the numbers show.

Take it from the best in the game, past and present. Despite some of the statistical struggles, he still commands respect from almost anyone who has spent time under center.



Shortly after he signed with the Jets Thursday, veteran safety Ed Reed acknowledged he heard from the Patriots and Dolphins during his brief stint as a free agent.

“I don’t think either one of them wanted me in their conference,” Reed told reporters.

FOXBORO — Veteran safety Steve Gregory was the only absence, while six players — including tight end Rob Gronkowski (back/forearm/hamstring) and cornerback Aqib Talib (hip) — were among those listed as limited in the wake of the padded practice the team held Thursday.