FOXBORO -- Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was not on the field with his teammates for the start of their third and final practice of the week.
The 6-foot-6, 265-pound All-Pro has been dealing with a hamstring issue since suffering the injury in a joint training camp practice with the Bears back on Aug. 15. In every Patriots practice of the regular season, Gronkowski has been listed as a limited participant due to the hamstring injury. He has yet to miss a regular-season practice this season.
Gronkowski appeared to be as healthy as he's been since the summer last weekend. In a 33-13 win over the Browns, he caught five passes for 109 yards, including a rumbling 34-yarder in the first quarter during which he broke multiple tackles.
The team will release an injury report later in the day on Friday, providing an update on his status for Sunday's game against the Bengals at Gillette Stadium.
Other Patriots missing from the practice were linebacker Jonathan Freeny (shoulder) and tight end Greg Scruggs (knee). Neither player practiced on Thursday.
The Patriots did see running back Brandon Bolden (knee) return to the practice field for the first time since he was injured in the fourth quarter of New England's Week 4 loss to the Bills.
Bill Belichick is a teacher. His father was a teacher. His mother was a teacher. He is very much their son in that regard.
The glimpses into Belichick's essence aren't as rare as you might think, but they still generate an inordinate amount of interest because he's arguably the best to ever execute the kind of teaching he's made his life's work.
Every time he takes several minutes to answer a conference call or press conference question thoughtfully, the hundreds of words found in the text of the transcribed answer typically create a stir on Twitter. NFL Films productions that show Belichick operating behind the scenes are devoured. Exclusive interviews, where he shares his insight on individual games and matchups, NFL Films productions that show Belichick operating behind the scenes are devoured. Exclusive interviews, where he shares his insight on individual games and matchups, make every installment of the ‘Do Your Job’ series a must-watch.
Clips of Belichick on the practice field aren't necessarily hard to find, there just aren't many of them considering how many practices he's run over the course of his decades-long career. But thanks to more lax media policies at the college programs he visits for pro days, video of his on-the-field work pops up on a regular basis this time of year. They are mini-clinics dotting the internet.
This is Belichick in his element. Even in the middle of a random university campus. Even with scouts, coaches and front-office people from around the league watching his every move. Whether he's coaching players one-on-one or three or four at a time, Belichick is imparting his wisdom on eager close-to-blank slates. All the while he's trying to evaluate how they're absorbing what he's giving them. Do they pay attention? How do they process information? Are they error-repeaters?
It's a fascinating give-and-take between the 60-something coach trying to build a roster and the 20-something players trying to make one, some of whom hadn't yet hit kindergarten when Belichick won his first ring in New England. And he seems to enjoy it.
Here's a quick look at some of what Belichick has been up to the last few days at Georgia, South Carolina and NC State.
Linebacker Marquis Flowers is headed back to the Patriots on a one-year deal worth up to $2.55 million, according to his agent, Sean Stellato.
Flowers, 26, a sixth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2014, was acquired by the Patriots near the end of training camp last year for a seventh-round pick.
More to come...