The Patriots kicked things off early with an 8:30am start at Gillette Stadium, and it ended up being quite an interesting practice for the fans who were on hand Saturday.

The team was in full pads for the first time this year, and there were some hard hits and spirited moments, which left Gary Guyton Tweeting out a single, “Whew”¬†after the morning session.

Chad Ochocinco was back out on the field once again on Saturday, however, this time he was a much more active participant.  According to reports Ochocinco even got into a fun spirited incident with Jerod Mayo following a reception as Mayo tried to yank the ball out.

Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com pointed out that linebacker Brandon¬†Spikes had a big moment during the session,¬†blowing¬†up offensive lineman Mark LeVoir on one rep.¬† Reiss says Spikes, “Looks like he’s arrived with a purpose.”


Albert Haynesworth apparently wasn’t quite prepared for the Patriots conditioning test and hasn’t practiced yet. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

Defensively all¬†indications so far show that they may be¬†moving toward a potential change to a 4-3 alignment, and there were several groupings out there that would lead fans to believe we’ll see more of it this season.¬† One big potential part of that wasn’t out on the field, with Albert Haynesworth reportedly sidelined after apparently failing his conditioning test.¬† That’s not exactly news for Haynesworth, who struggled in Washington but really didn’t have much time to prepare for the one he’d have to complete here in New England.

Said head coach Bill Belichick regarding Haynesworth, he can practice “when he’s ready”.

Ochocinco had a chance to meet with the media on Saturday for the first time, and told the media that¬†he’ll be a little quieter than he was in Cincinnati, saying¬†“probably won’t be talking to the media much. Just want to play ball … There’s a certain way the Patriots do it.”

He also gave a nice comment to his former head coach, Marvin Lewis, saying,¬†“Kudos to Marvin for everything he put up with me. I thank Cincinnati.”

You can see the interview in its entirety here at the team’s official site.

A fun moment from today pointed out by The Boston Herald’s Ian Rapoport, where CSNNE’s¬†Tom Curran¬†said to Belichick that Ochocinco has a big personality, to which Belichick responded, “Any other news breaking stories?”

Reports say Aaron Hernandez was on the field practicing this morning, which was great to see as the second year tight end is coming off hip surgery this offseason.  He was wearing #81, his old uniform number from college Рwhich with Randy Moss no longer in New England Рhe was able to take back his number while allowing him to hand over #85 to Ochocinco.

Some fans joked about the fact that Ochocinco also brings depth at the kicking position, which Wes Welker actually had to step up and take over some kicking duties following the injury to Stephen Gostkowksi last season.¬† Welker was seen kicking a field goal today, which – should Gostkowski go down again – is something he’ll now have a little help with this season¬†after Ochocinco proved last year against the Patriots that he can also get it done.

Fans got to witness the first skirmish of the year with Alex Silvestro and Dan Connolly reportedly getting really chippy.  They were seen jawing back and forth before the helmets came off and the two went at it.

According to Christopher Price of WEEI.com, the following players were not spotted on the field: Ras-I Dowling, Kyle Arrington, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Sammy Morris, Eric Kettani, Nate Solder, Myron Pryor, Albert Haynesworth, Kevin Faulk, Ron Brace and Shane Vereen.

Price also reports that the following players spent the session on the exercise bikes and in sweats on the sidelines: James Sanders, Eric Berry, Matt Katula, Josh Barrett, Brandon Deaderick and Marcus Cannon.

Many of the missing players are likely out due to the new regulations surrounding the Collective Bargaining Agreement, so fans shouldn’t read too much into many of them not being here.

An interesting comment from now former Patriot Tony Carter this morning on Twitter, with Carter saying, “Things happen for a reason even though we may not understand why”.¬† He had been released by the team yesterday.

Patriots runningback Kevin Faulk reportedly signed a 1-year deal, which was a pleasant surprise for most fans who hoped to see him potentially return this season. Faulk met with the media this morning, and you can check it out through this press conference link on Patriots.com.

You can also watch Chad Ochocinco’s interview as well, and¬†Patriots.com¬†also has¬†some great photos from Saturday’s session.

We’ll have more later this evening.