FOXBORO ‘€” The Patriots held their third training camp session of the summer Saturday, practicing for roughly two and a half hours in pads.

Here are a few notes on the session:

- The highlight of the practice came at the end, with Foxboro resident Danny Nickerson coming onto the field for a belated birthday celebration. Nickerson, who turned six on Friday, has an inoperable brain tumor and received 100,000 birthday cards from around the world.

- Saturday appeared to be Julian Edelman appreciation day, as he was thrown several deep balls and received major cheers with each catch. Edelman reeled in four deep passes from various quarterbacks on the day. He also had a diving catch in double coverage later in the practice.

- It wasn’€™t all good for Edelman, however, as he and Tom Brady fell victim to Darrelle Revis multiple times. Revis intercepted Brady on a pair of passes that were intended for Edelman during drills in addition to breaking up passes.

- Rookie quarterback Jimmy Garappolo threw three interceptions and ran the only lap of the session with an unknown flub (it was on the other end of the field; likely a fumble or botched snap) during goal line work. Two of the second-round pick’€™s interceptions were tipped before being snagged, with the other one being a clean pick on a deeper pass. Garappolo got a break from the crowd when he connected on a deep pass with tight end Justin Jones.

- It wasn’t the prettiest day for Kenbrell Thompkins, who had a pair of drops. The second-year receiver dropped a pass over the middle from Brady during 7-on-7 work and later failed to secure a pass along the sidelines during passing drills.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Rob Gronkowski (87) is ready to be there for Tom Brady again in 2014. (AP)

Rob Gronkowski (87) is ready to be there for Tom Brady again in 2014. (AP)

FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski has been through a lot of pain and misery over the last three seasons. Bum ankle, back surgery, forearm surgery, ACL surgery.

And those are just the major injuries the most popular target of Tom Brady has endured. That’s why he’s taking his time and being measured about his rehab, working closely with Patriots trainers to make sure that he’s a full go when he returns to game action, either in the preseason or – as he hopes – by the Sept. 7 opener in Miami.

But while he can’t take part in full 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills as training camp opens, he can run individual drills and work on his routes, especially where he’s most dangerous – in the red zone. Gronkowski has been running – and cutting – on the surgically repaired right knee without any noticeable limp, a good sign as he works his way back. He did it again on Friday, catching several red zone passes from Brady, as Bill Belichick looked on.

“It’€™s feeling good out there running routes and getting balls thrown [to me], and it feels great being out there with my teammates again, being in the huddle, catching balls from Tom Brady. It’€™s a dream come true again. It feels like it got taken away, and now it feels like I’€™ve got it back so it’€™s awesome.”

He even stood behind center and lobbed one to Brady.

“Yeah, we were just having fun,” Gronk said. “Maybe we’€™ll put that in after that throw. It wasn’€™t a spiral, but I’€™ve got to work on that.”

Gronkowski not only is sporting a black sleeve/brace on his right knee, he is still wearing a protective sleeve on his left forearm.

“I’€™m used to the arm brace,” Gronkowski said. “It’€™s been a year now wearing that, so it’€™s secondhand having that on. The knee brace just started, but it’€™s the second day out there, and I’€™m already getting comfortable with everything.”

After what’s he went through with the forearm going into the 2013 season, it’s natural to think Gronkowski will be more cautious. There have even been suggestions that the team (i.e. Bill Belichick) is sending a loud message that by being cleared for practice, they expect him ready once the season starts in South Florida. Does Gronk sense this?

“No, I don’€™t feel any pressure at all about that,” Gronkowski said. “I worked my butt off the last six months to even be here right now at training camp, throwing with all of my teammates. I made sure I was in there every single day, rehabbing every single day so I could come out here and be running routes on Day One. So it feels great to be out here on that note.

“If I’€™m just working hard every single day, improving every single day, giving it all I’€™ve got, listening to the trainers, listening to the coaches to get myself prepared, to get myself ready ‘€“ that’€™s all I can ask for. I’€™m putting pressure on myself to improve every single day and work hard every single day.”

Gronkowski said it’s a realistic goal to be ready for Week 1 against the Dolphins.

“I’€™m preparing myself to my max ability right now for the first regular game,” he said. “I can’€™t say anything from here on out because it’€™s far away. So, every single day I’€™m just giving it all I’€™ve got in the rehab room, out here on the field, improve my knee, strengthen it all around, prepare myself, listen to my trainers what they have for me so I’€™m ready to go when it comes down to it. And hopefully I am.”

As for the knee?

“The knee is doing good,”

Are there any limitations?

“Yeah, obviously you’€™ve seen me out at practice just doing individual drills, routes and everything, getting my conditioning up, keeping the legs strengthening, keeping the body in shape ‘€“ all that good stuff,” he added. “[I'€™m] just taking it easy, slow pace and gradually increasing every single day and improving every single day.”

Here is the rest of Rob Gronkowski‘s Q and A with reporters on Friday outside Gillette Stadium:

Q: What percentage would you say you’€™re at?

RG: I don’€™t really have a percentage. I’€™m just improving every single day and trying to get myself completely ready so when it comes game time, I’€™m ready and there for my teammates.

Q: How important is it for you to be cutting on the knee and telling yourself you can handle the load once it’€™s ramped up?

RG: It’€™s important first off of rehab. For the last six months, I worked my butt off to be out here ‘€“ to be out here for my teammates, to be out here for myself and come out here, be satisfied running routes with the quarterbacks, running routes with the tight ends, learning from the coaches. It feels great to be out here every single day cutting on it, making it stronger and improving on it every single day, strengthening it so I’€™m there and I’€™m ready.

Q: How much have you thought about what you’€™ve been through physically with the forearm, the knee and the back over the last two years?

RG: It’€™s been a lot, but I’€™m putting that in my past now and just grinding right now, going to get my knee 100 percent ready to go and just going to not dwell on the past and keep looking forward. And hopefully everything goes right how I want it to.

Q: Last year, you sat out a few games even though you were cleared to play. Will you consider sitting out even if you’€™re cleared to play just to make sure you’€™re ready for the whole season?

RG: Last year, I’€™m putting that one in the past. We’€™re all on the same page as a team, an organization, myself, the trainers, the doctors ‘€“ we’€™re all on the same page. It’€™s just to keep working hard, and we’€™ve got so long until the first preseason game, until the first game of the year. Just as long as we’€™re improving every single day, going out there hustling, getting in shape, running routes, getting football acclimated ‘€“ it feels good to be out there. I’€™m not really worried right now, and I’€™m just working hard every day.

Q: Was there a time last year where you weren’€™t on the same page?

RG: No, not really. I guess it seemed like that out there, but in the organization, we were on the same page. This year we’€™re all on the same page again. It’€™s going well, and it just feels really good to be out there with my teammates and giving it all I’€™ve got when I’€™m out there.

Q: How did it feel last year when you went down with the injury, knowing you were done for the season?

RG: I’€™m not dwelling on that in the past. Right now I’€™m just looking forward to the future and what that holds. And what that holds is just having practice every single day and going to meetings, learning the playbook even more, learning new positions, learning everything I can do to go out there to help my teammates to the max to help them win games.

Q: Do you feel like you can pick up where you left off and be Tom Brady’€™s No. 1 target?

RG: I definitely feel like I can go back out there right where I left and pick it right back up. Whoever Tom throws to, whoever Tom throws to. I’€™ll just be out there and help my teammates win for sure.

Q: You do recognize how much Tom relies on you, though?

RG: It’€™s a team game. We all rely on each other to the max. If one person isn’€™t doing their job, then the whole team isn’€™t doing their job. We’€™re all a big part of the offense, every single player that’€™s out there at the same time.

Q: Do you guys think you’€™ll be a very good team, especially with the defensive additions?

RG: It all depends on how we work, how our training camp is, how we work together as a team. And that’€™s what’€™s so great about this game is that it’€™s such a team game ‘€“ all 11 players out on the field working together. The defense, they’€™re looking good. We’€™ve got a lot of big players, a lot of fast players, and it’€™s going to be a lot of fun competing versus them throughout all of camp and just seeing all their skill sets and seeing what they can do. It’€™ll be awesome.

Q: Was your summer really not as fun as you made it seem with rehab every day?

RG: Yeah, it was boring this year. I was rehabbing every day. It was miserable. Hopefully that never happens again, and I don’€™t wish anything on anyone like I had these past few years. I’€™m just literally looking forward to the future and just getting back out on the field and just making some plays and helping my teammates out.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — In his first meeting with the media this summer, Darrelle Revis pronounced himself to be in the “best shape of my career.”

Talking with reporters shortly after the end of Friday’s practice session, the Patriots cornerback said that even after coming back from a devastating knee injury that sidelined him for all but two games in 2012, he wasn’t where he wanted to be physically as a player.

But now, he’s feeling good about his health again.

FOXBORO — In his first meeting with the media this summer, Darrelle Revis pronounced himself to be in the “best shape of my career.”

Talking with reporters shortly after the end of Friday’s practice session, the Patriots cornerback said that even after coming back from a devastating knee injury that sidelined him for all but two games in 2012, he wasn’t where he wanted to be physically as a player.

But now, he’s feeling good about his health again.

‘€œI finished all 16 games last year but I still wasn’€™t where I wanted to be physically as a player,’€ Revis said. ‘€œThis is my first offseason where I could really focus on working out. They say it takes a year and a half, or two (to get back to full strength). I think I’€™m at a point now, I’€™m there.

‘€œI’€™m back to where I can move around a little better. Last year was really tough coming off the injury — I wasn’€™t where I needed to be. Now, I’€™m a little bit more excited. I feel the butterflies a little bit more, and I’€™m just ready to play and get ready for the season.’€

Revis was quizzed as to whether or not he feels the need to reclaim the mantle of best cornerback in the league.

‘€œI don’€™t need to prove nothing to anybody. W’s is what matters — more wins than losses. That’€™s what we want to do as a team,’€ he said.

“Everybody is great. Everybody performs well at the professional level. Those are for you guys to rate who’€™s this and that. It really doesn’€™t matter to me.’€

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Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

The Patriots announced Friday they have released veteran tight end Nate Byham.

The Patriots announced Friday they have released veteran tight end Nate Byham.

Byham, 26, was signed by New England on July 21 and is a veteran of four NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers (2010-11) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012-13). The 6-foot-4, 264-pounder, originally entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick by San Francisco out of Pittsburgh in 2010. He was signed by Tampa Bay on Oct. 2, 2012 after being released by San Francisco on Aug. 16, 2012. In his four NFL seasons, Byham has played 29 games with 11 starts and has totaled 11 receptions for 83 yards and one touchdown. Last season in Tampa Bay, Byham was limited to four games and finished with three receptions for 38 yards.

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Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO —’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss the news of the day from Day 2 of Patriots training camp 2014, including Rob Gronkowski speaking to reporters for the first time since being cleared for training camp practice. Gronkowski acknowledged that he is not 100 percent but promises to be fearless, adopting a “smashing and dashing” attitude when he is cleared for game action. Petraglia and Price also discuss the potential of the current Patriots’ secondary to rank among the best in team history and those coached by Bill Belichick.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO -- Over the first two practices of training camp, no player has stood out more than wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins.

The second-year receiver has made a number of impressive connections with quarterback Tom Brady. He’s distinguished himself as the best and most consistent performer to this point in the summer, laying out for balls and doing a nice job going up and competing for passes at the high point.'s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Rob Gronkowski's meeting with the media on Friday. Gronk said he doesn't anticipate changing the way he plays, noting that he wants to "keep smashing and dashing."
Julian Edelman joins Merloni, Fauria, and Benz after Patriots training camp.

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[0:03:31] ... pretty much the main thing. Join a jolt they came for all patriots fans across New England when it was announced that gronkowski would be able to participate in training camp. And was cleared to play ...