FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When tight end Rob Gronkowski left the field after catching a pass from quarterback Tom Brady during Saturday's practice, some might have feared the worst. Had Gronkowski injured himself?
About 15 minutes later, Gronkowski returned to the field with a bandage over his chin, drawing a cheer from the attentive crowd.
While Gronkowski avoided injury, rookie defensive end Justin Francis (Rutgers) wasn't as fortunate. He was carted off the field with what looked like a knee injury [update 5:22 p.m.: A source says Francis was cramping up]. Francis, a long shot to make the roster, had shown up in Friday's practice with a disruptive rush on backup quarterback Brian Hoyer.
Veteran linebacker Tracy White also left practice with an apparent injury.
Rookie cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, who didn't finish Friday's practice after appearing to injure his hamstring, did not participate today.
This was the Patriots' first full-pads practice of camp (third overall practice), and there was spirited work with the running game and pass rush/protection.
More observations to come.