<
>

Crowds put a charge into the day

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The fourth day of Patriots training camp has concluded, and this one had great energy. The crowds were overflowing; the team reporting that 10,010 fans were at the afternoon practice (thought to be a record), while approximately 7,000 were at the morning session.

Imagine that, almost 17,000 spectators … for two training camp practices.

The tone was set around 9:30 a.m. when fans noticed recovering receiver Wes Welker walking up the steps to the practice fields and they broke out in a cheer. Every time Welker caught a pass, there was a roar.

Randy Moss's playful exchange with a young fan in the morning added to the overall vibe, and then in the afternoon session, Welker caught an innocent pass over the middle (no defense in the drill), turned to the bleachers and urged the crowd to cheer (very similar to what he did in the Carolina Panthers game last December).

You can imagine the response to that.

Fittingly, the day ended with Welker walking toward the bleachers to sign autographs.

All the stars seemed to be aligned to create such an atmosphere: Great weather. A weekend day. Welker's return. Even Bill Belichick was spotted running sprints after the morning practice.

The real fun starts when the regular season begins, but when it comes to training camp, this was about as good as it gets.

Maybe the only day that rivals it was when Tom Brady and Moss put on a dominating show back in 2007.