Gaffney leaves practice early

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The Patriots dialed back the intensity of practice on Thursday afternoon for their seventh overall session since training camp began on July 26.

After four straight full-pads practices, players were in shorts and shells (light shoulder pads). The pace was much slower.

Receiver Jabar Gaffney left practice early. Before leaving, he was sitting with towels over his head, so it might have been a heat-related issue.

Receiver Deion Branch was in uniform, but left practice early for the second straight day.

Rookie defensive end Jake Bequette observed practice from the sideline, not in his regular jersey.

Center/guard Dan Connolly, who missed Wednesday night’s session, was back on the field.

Receiver Brandon Lloyd, safety/cornerback Will Allen and defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene were held out for the second straight practice. Lloyd observed parts of the practice from the sideline in a T-shirt.

Fullback Spencer Larsen missed his first practice of camp, while fellow fullback Tony Fiammetta remained out for the third straight day.

Reserve offensive tackle Matt Kopa, who left Wednesday’s practice after coming up limping following a play, was not on the field.

New offensive lineman Derek Dennis will wear No. 75, which reflects his longshot status, as Vince Wilfork wears that number.