Quick Hits: Brady, Banta-Cain, Evans & More

Is that Tom Brady really running? (AP Photo)

The New England Patriots held their first day of minicamp yesterday. Here are some quick hits from camp, and around the league.

Minicamp Notes: Day 1

Tom Brady was moving around at practice without noticeable limitations. On Monday Brady admitted it was tough to get into the flow of things.

"Football's a tough game. You don't play for four months, because we finish the games in late December, and you go out there and try to be sharp," Brady said at the team's recent golf tournament "It's a bit challenging."

The veteran signal caller is working his way back from a devastating knee injury suffered in the season opener last year. According to Brady's doctor Neal ELAttrache, the 31 year old former MVP is well ahead of schedule. Though being ahead of schedule doesn't mean Brady hasn't experienced his fair share of miscues.

His coach wouldn't single Brady out for extra work, but did concur the team needs to get sharper. I think everybody has a long way to go," Bill Belichick said after practice Wednesday. "But we are making progress and will take it one day at a time."

MIA List
According to most estimates, 13 players were not in attendance on Wednesday including five would-be starters: DL Jarvis Green, LB Jerod Mayo, S Brandon Meriweather, RB Sammy Morris and DL Ty Warren. Others not spotted at practice were: S Brandon McGowan, S Ray Ventrone, DB Mike Richardson, OL Mark LeVoir a pair of Navy players in WR Tyree Barnes and WR Shun White and the two known injured players LB Tyrone McKenzie and WR Brandon Tate

Smack Talk Time
Jets coach Rex Ryan issued some tough talk during one of his recent press appearances trying to explain that the Jets we're intimidated by the Patriots or anyone else in the division. "I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick's … rings," Ryan said on WFAN. "I came to win, let's put it that way. So we'll see what happens. I'm certainly not intimidated by New England or anybody else."

Bill Belichick chose not to get into a war of words with Ryan, "I have a lot of respect for Rex. What he did in Baltimore - the defense his team has played," Belichick said after practice. "Right now I'm just trying to coach our team and get our guys ready to have a good week of practice and get them ready for training camp."

Missing New England Or… Not?
Former Patriots fullback Heath Evans told reporters in his new team (New Orleans) that losing to the Giants in the Super Bowl was a tough pill to swallow. ""I have a taste in my mouth that's bitter, and I crave success more than anybody in this locker room," Evans told the Times- Picayune." Losing the Super Bowl like we did is tough. Being 18-1, I'll never live that down."

Glad To Be Back
New Patriots fullback Patrick Pass was back with the team. He rejoined New England after a two-year hiatus, one that he used to address family matters. Pass was out of football last year, but glad to have an opportunity to try to get back into the game with his former team, the Patriots.

“This was the team I started with, and this is the team I want to end with,” Pass told the Providence Journal. Pass Was signed by the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent on June 4, 2009. He spent seven years (2000-06) in new Englnad before leaving via free agency.

The Grass Wasn't Greener
Another former Patriot, Tully Banta-Cain was back on the field with the Patriots. Once in line to assume Willie McGinest's position on the outside, things didn't work out for Banta-Cain. He left New England as a free agent, spending the past two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. When the opportunity to return was presented to him, he leapt at it.

"I realized that most of my success came in New England, and it was natural for me to want to come back," he told the Providence Journal Tuesday. "I got a phone call, and I was definitely excited."

Banta-Cain is expected to compete for a role on the outside along with Pierre Woods, Shawn Crable and Vince Redd.

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