FOXBORO — The mystery surrounding Jamie Collins is over.

Jamie Collins

Jamie Collins

FOXBORO — The mystery surrounding Jamie Collins is over.

The Patriots’ fourth-year linebacker was back on the practice field Friday morning after not being spotted at the first practice of camp on Thursday, leading to speculation about his whereabouts and why he might not be on the field.

The star linebacker is in the final year of his rookie deal paying him just $917,000 in base salary this season, well below the going rate for an impact edge player like Collins is on Belichick’s defense.

Belichick shot down the notion of a contract holdout or any injury issue in his press conference Friday morning before Collins took the field for the first time in camp.

“He was excused. He’s here. No issues,” Belichick said.

Collins was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2015 and was selected to the 2015 AP All-Pro second team at outside linebacker, finishing fourth at that position with eight votes. He also received two votes at inside linebacker.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO – Even Bill Belichick has a breaking point when it comes to efforts to create a quarterback controversy.

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Bill Belichick answers questions Friday before Day 2 of camp. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO – Even Bill Belichick has a breaking point when it comes to efforts to create a quarterback controversy.

In his second press conference of camp, Bill Belichick was asked if there were any chance Jimmy Garoppolo could steal Tom Brady’s job if he performs well in his four weeks replacing the suspended star quarterback.

Belichick was asked if he’s ever named a Week 5 starter in July?

“Yeah, I don’t know.”

Then the intrepid unidentified reporter asked: “What happens if Jimmy plays better?”

“Look, I told you what’s going to happen,” said Belichick, referring to his statement at the end of his opening remarks of camp on Wednesday when he said Brady would be the starter when he returns.

The reporter followed up, “So there’s no [chance]?”

Belichick, not amused, muttered, “Jesus Christ.”

This was a bit of a flashback to Sept. 29, 2014 when after getting mauled by the Chiefs, 41-14, on Monday night football, Belichick was asked by CSNNE’s Mike Giardi about whether there would be any “re-evaluation” of the quarterback job in the next week.

That night, Belichick passively dismissed the question with a muted laugh. Friday’s tone was more of agitation.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler has a base salary of $600,000 this season and will be a restricted free agent after the year is over.

Malcolm Butler

Malcolm Butler

FOXBORO — Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler has a base salary of $600,000 this season and will be a restricted free agent after the year is over.

This makes his contract a story as the Patriots could have looked to sign him to an extension this past offseason, along with other young defensive stars Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower, both of whom will be unrestricted free agents after the season.

As has been the case in the past whenever it’s come up, Butler hasn’t wanted to get into it.

“It is what it is, man,” Butler said after Thursday’s session. “Just playing ball, doing what I have to do. Doing my thing. Doing my job. Control only what I can control so it is what it is.”

Butler will be in his second season as the Patriots’ No. 1 cornerback and in his third year as a pro, he’s still looking to get better.

“I just want to stay at the top, man,” Butler said. “Aim towards the top. Do better than what I did last year. Each and every year I sure that is what everyone’s goal is. I set my standards high. This team sets their standards high so can’t do nothing but go up.”

In just his first season as a starter, Butler got matched up against the opponents’ top receiver each week, which is a challenge he relishes and likely will be asked to do again this season.

“I love going against the best,” Butler said. “Everyone does.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — For the first time since Dec. 13 of last year, LeGarrette Blount was back on the field with his Patriots teammates.

LeGarrette Blount was back on the field on Thursday. (WEEI.com)

LeGarrette Blount was back on the field on Thursday. (WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — For the first time since Dec. 13 of last year, LeGarrette Blount was back on the field with his Patriots teammates.

After the Patriots’ win over the Texans, Blount was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a hip injury. He missed all of the spring practices, but was back participating on Thursday, the first day of training camp.

“It’s great,” Blount said of getting back on the field. “It’s a wonderful feeling to just be out here and blessed to be out here with these guys — sweating, hot and just being able to be able to come out here and work with them.”

While he’s back on the field, it doesn’t appear the 29-year-old will be going full-tilt, at least for the time being.

“We’re taking it day-by-day,” he said. “Good enough to go out there and participate in practice and all activities.”

Blount participated in all the drills on Thursday, but it’s worth noting it was the first day of camp and the team will not be in full pads until Saturday. It won’t be until then where there will be a true sense of exactly where he’s at in regards to being full strength.

As it relates to the running back group, they may be asked to do a bit more than in the past, especially in the first four games to take some weight off of Jimmy Garoppolo’s shoulders. Blount isn’t thinking about that as he’s just worried about himself.

“Me personally, that’s the only thing I am worried about is me,” he said. “What I can do to contribute and what I can do to help the team do whatever we need to do to win games.”

Last year Blount had 20 or more carries in just one game and that could potentially change over Weeks 1-4 if the team goes to more of a ground-based attack.

“I’m going to do whatever Bill [Belichick] needs me to do to make sure we’re successful,” he said.

Blount leads a running back group that includes Dion Lewis, James White, Donald Brown and Tyler Gaffney.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

While the Patriots will practice Friday despite heavy rain in the forecast, the team is warning fans the session could be moved inside to the Enpower Field House, which would mean it would be closed to the public.

Here is the complete announcement:

The forecast for Friday, July 29 is calling for rain, heavy at times, with a chance of thunderstorms. While the team plans on practicing as scheduled from 9:15-11:30 a.m. on the training camp practice fields behind Gillette Stadium, we would like to warn any fans planning to attend that thunderstorms could force the team to practice inside their Empower Field House at a moment’s notice. Due to space limitations, indoor practices will be closed to the public. Any updates or changes to the practice schedule will be posted on patriots.com/training camp and on the training camp information line at 508-549-0001.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Jimmy Garoppolo was the center of attention at camp Thursday.</p>
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