Mallett returns for Pats; Mayo absent

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett returned to practice Tuesday after missing the last two days, while linebacker Jerod Mayo is a new absence as the team begins joint practices with the Eagles.

Mallett played the first half of the preseason opener against Washington last Thursday and late in the first quarter slid awkwardly on a running play. It was unclear if that was the reason for his absence the last two practices.

Meanwhile, Mayo has participated in every practice since training camp began July 24. The defensive captain has been lauded by coach Bill Belichick as one of the best leaders he's ever been around in 40 years coaching in the NFL. It is not known why he wasn't practicing Tuesday.

Other players not present for the Patriots today include tight ends Michael Hoomanawanui and D.J. Williams; linebacker Cameron Gordon; center Bryan Stork; offensive tackle Chris Martin; receiver Jeremy Gallon; and defensive linemen Sealver Siliga and Chris Jones.