FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New England Patriots training camp:
The Patriots turned over the bottom of their tight end depth chart, waiving undrafted rookies Justin Jones and Asa Watson, and signing veterans Ben Hartsock and Steve Maneri, and undrafted rookie Terrence Miller. Bill Belichick explained the moves this way: "We’re looking for guys that are improving and kind of when they stop making improvement, then sometimes you feel like you’ve got to move on. We signed three players that we feel like will be competitive, but we’ll see."
Tight end Rob Gronkowski didn't travel with the Patriots to joint practices with the Washington Redskins last week, but he was back on the practice field Sunday. He said there have been no setbacks. "Basically went hard during the practices and all last week, so a little time off to let the knee heal a little bit more," he said.
Rookie center Bryan Stork, who has remained out since sustaining a lower-leg injury during the fifth training camp practice, joined his teammates at practice for the first time. Stork wasn't in full pads, but his presence was a sign that he might not be that far from a return.
Undrafted cornerback Malcolm Butler of West Alabama is making a name for himself. He was one of the players drawing a media crowd after practice after he turned in an impressive performance in the preseason opener.
The Patriots practiced in full pads for the ninth time since training camp began July 24. They've had 12 practices overall. Sunday's practice was closed to the public because of the Luke Bryan concert taking place at Gillette Stadium.
The team is back on the practice field Monday (2:30 p.m. ET). The practice is open to the public.