Rookie CB Dowling returns to practice

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Cornerback Ras-I Dowling, the team's top pick of the second round (33rd overall), has returned to practice for the first time in three weeks. Dowling had participated in just one practice with the team before being sidelined with a hamstring injury.

His return comes at a time when the Patriots are without veteran starter Leigh Bodden for the second straight practice. Bodden played just seven snaps in the team's preseason win over the Buccaneers, leaving after the fourth series.

In addition to Dowling, receiver Taylor Price also returned to practice after missing last week. Price was one of the team's stars in the preseason opener against the Jaguars with five receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Linebacker Gary Guyton, who played in Thursday's preseason game in Tampa, and was at the team's walkthrough on Saturday, was in shorts for the practice. The rest of the players were in full pads.

Running back Danny Woodhead, who absorbed a big hit while covering a punt on Thursday and came up wobbling, was present in practice, but like Guyton, was in shorts, not a uniform or pads.

Meanwhile, linebacker Dane Fletcher (right thumb) remained out of practice.

Players not present for the media-access portion of practice included:

RB Stevan Ridley

CB Leigh Bodden

RB Shane Vereen

S Josh Barrett

CB Malcolm Williams

RB Eric Kettani

LB Jeff Tarpinian

LB Dane Fletcher

LB Brandon Spikes

OL Marcus Cannon (active/NFI)

OL Ryan Wendell

TE Lee Smith

DL Albert Haynesworth

LB Jermaine Cunningham

DL Mike Wright

Running back Kevin Faulk, as well as defensive linemen Brandon Deaderick and Ron Brace remain on the active/physically unable to perform list.