FOXBOROUGH — Tom Brady was back on the field with the Patriots on Friday, one day after missing practice with what the team said was a calf injury. When the Patriots issued their participation report after Friday's practice — Brady was limited — he was listed as questionable to play in Sunday's season opener at Miami.
Appearing on Westwood One Radio during halftime of Thursday's NFL season opener between Seattle and Green Bay, Brady said he would be ready to play on Sunday. "Physically I had the day off [on Wednesday], but I got a lot of extra film in, I got a lot of mental reps in," he said on the broadcast.
On Friday, in the limited time media was given access to the workout behind Gillette Stadium, Brady was spotted jogging and stretching with his teammates. The access period ended before Brady could be seen throwing any passes or running any plays.
Before Friday's practice, Bill Belichick was peppered with questions about Brady's health and playing status. As expected, the coach didn't say much.
Question: Is Brady's injury a concern, can it heal quickly, or will it be something that might need to be managed?
Belichick: "We've listed it on the report like we're required to do."
Question: Are there any doubts that Brady will be able to start Sunday's game?
Belichick: "We'll list it today, we'll see what happens today. We'll list it the way it is today."
Question: Do you expect Brady to practice today?
Belichick: "We'll list what happens."
Question: How did the injury occur?
Belichick: "We've done everything we're required to do. We've listed the injury, we'll continue to list it, and we'll list the status based on what the requirements of the league are, just like we do with every other player."
Brady is expected to play but defensive linemen Michael Buchanan and Chris Jones will not. Both were downgraded on Friday to out; both have been dealing with ankle injuries.
Two other Patriots were listed as questionable. Tight end Rob Gronkowski didn't appear in any of the four preseason games while recovering from knee surgery, but said on Monday that he'll play against the Dolphins. Defensive tackle Sealver Siliga was limited in practice all week with a hand injury.
Because they are the road team — the Patriots flew to Florida on Friday — they'll have an opportunity on Saturday to downgrade more players. The Patriots need to designate five more players as out, no later than Sunday, to make up the seven-player inactive list.
Heat? No sweat
When the Patriots played at Miami last season, on Dec. 15, the temperature at kickoff was 84 degrees, with 70 percent humidity. Considering the weather in New England the week leading up to the game was in the teens and 20s, with wind and snow, it was a jarring climate difference.
The forecast for Sunday in Miami calls for a high in the upper 80s, not unlike the weather we've had recently in the Northeast. Does that mean the Patriots won't be at such a disadvantage?
"We've had our hot days here. I don't think it's that big a deal, I really don't,'' Belichick said. "We've been out here in training camp practicing in July and August. We're as ready as we're going to be. I'd say that's the least of our concerns. Our concerns are the Miami Dolphins. That's what we need to be concerned about, and that's what we are concerned about. How bright the sun is? That's pretty far down the list."
Rookie running back James White was born in Fort Lauderdale and played his high school ball at local powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas. Then he spent four years at Wisconsin, which is known for its brutally cold weather. He's happy to pass along some tips to playing in the humid South Florida heat.
"Don't make it a bigger deal than it is. They're playing in the same heat that we are," White said. "Every little bit helps. [The recent weather in New England] definitely gets us ready."
Easley makes trip
With the Patriots heading to Florida on Friday, players were packing their gear into travel bags. Among those getting ready for the trip: Defensive end Dominique Easley, the team's first-round draft pick who has practiced but did not play in any of the preseason games. Easley had knee surgery last September . . . Did you know? The first regular-season game the Patriots played after being bought by Robert Kraft was at Miami. On Sept. 4, 1994, the Patriots lost to the Dolphins, 39-35 . . . The Dolphins ruled four players out, including center Mike Pouncey.