The New England Patriots were extremely thin at the wide receiver position in Thursday’s practice.
Wideouts Josh Gordon and Cordarrelle Patterson both were not present at the start of practice, which was held inside Gillette Stadium.
Gordon’s absence was expected after he announced earlier in the day he was taking a leave of absence to focus on his mental health. He reportedly is facing an indefinite suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Patterson’s, though, was surprising. He was a full participant Wednesday and had not missed a practice all season.
Patterson, who’s been used as a receiver, running back, H-back and kick returner this season, has played in all 15 games for the Patriots, catching 20 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns and carrying the ball 38 times for 162 yards and one score.
The Patriots’ receiving corps at practice consisted of Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Matthew Slater and practice squadder Damoun Patterson.
Slater, who rarely sees the field on offense and often focuses on special teams work in practice, ran through drills with the receivers during the brief portion of practice that was open to the media.
All other Patriots players were present and accounted for. New England will hold one additional practice Friday before welcoming the Buffalo Bills to Gillette on Sunday afternoon.