FOXBORO -- The Patriots welcomed a familiar face to the practice fields for a shorts-and-shells session on Sunday afternoon.

For the first time since last season, receiver Danny Amendola donned his helmet and participated in practice. On the physically unable to perform list since the start of training camp, Amendola was added to the 53-man active roster on Saturday.

"We wouldn’t activate a player unless we had the medical department clear them and we felt like he would be able to perform and participate," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said during a Sunday morning conference call when asked about Amendola's activation. "Danny works hard like he always does and we feel he’s ready to come off of that reserve designation."

Meanwhile, the Patriots began their first practice of the week without both tight end Rob Gronkowski and linebacker Barkevious Mingo. Neither player has dealt with any apparent injuries lately, and Mingo was spotted in the Patriots locker room earlier in the day on Sunday. 

Left tackle Nate Solder was practicing on Sunday after suffering an apparent hamstring injury in the preseason finale against the Giants. Also, a handful of players who were cut and subsequently cleared waivers -- Geneo Grissom, Rufus Johnson, Devin Lucien, Chris Barker, and Woodrow Hamilton -- were practicing, indicating that they've been signed to the practice squad. 

The Patriots also had a new offensive lineman present, Clay DeBord, who has been signed to the practice squad, according to ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss. DeBord, 6-foot-6, 305 pounds, went undrafted out of Eastern Kentucky this year. The Patriots were one of the teams at his pro day, however, and clearly they saw enough to add him to the practice squad. DeBord spent time with the Cardinals during training camp before being released. 


ESPN also reported that both running back Bishop Sankey and receiver Devin Street were signed to the practice squad, though neither player was present for Sunday's practice.