Brady and teammates work out

Tom Brady has done plenty of traveling this offseason – to

Brazil for Carnival, to Mexico where he navigated a water slide and

to the Kentucky Derby where he sported a Panama hat over his long

locks.

All captured, of course, on camera.

Now the globe-trotting quarterback of the New England Patriots

is back in town with teammates at informal workouts from which

reporters and photographers were barred.

”Oh,” a smiling wide receiver Wes Welker told them as he left,

”you found us.”

Only 20 miles north of his home stadium in Foxborough, Brady

helped lead the session at Boston College on Thursday.

More than 40 players, including several draft choices, attended.

There was no hitting – since injuries would not be covered by the

club – uniforms or football pads. Most players wore T-shirts and

shorts. Still, they were together while the NFL lockout kept them

from practicing at Gillette Stadium.

”We’re running around and we’re just doing some basic stuff,”

linebacker Rob Ninkovich said after the two-hour session, ”but it

feels good because we’re together and everyone’s out there having

fun. So we’re just waiting for all this stuff to be over with and

then we’ll be back, hopefully soon.”

The workouts began Wednesday and were expected to continue

Friday.

While many players have been working out regularly in the area,

Brady has been doing it elsewhere.

He returned for the workouts and activities of Best Buddies

International, which supports programs for people with intellectual

and developmental disabilities. He’ll participate in a touch

football game on Friday at Harvard and a charity bike ride on

Saturday which coach Bill Belichick is expected to attend.

On Thursday, though, there were no coaches. The lockout forbids

them from running team practices. So Brady took charge of the

offense and linebacker Jerod Mayo ran the defense.

”The best thing about it is just that we get to hear some plays

again,” running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis said. ”Everybody got

familiar with the sounds and the terms.”

There were positional drills, pass routes run at slow speed and

sprints from sideline to sideline on a sunny, breezy morning.

Brady walked without a noticeable limp 4 1/2 months after

undergoing surgery for a stress fracture on his right foot.

At one point, he dropped back, pumped his arm toward the middle

then threw a completion on the right side to another quarterback,

Brian Hoyer.

Hardly typical of a disciplined Belichick practice.

”It’s just good to be around all these guys,” Hoyer said.

”That’s the main thing.”

During the closed workout, several reporters stood behind a

locked gate and peered through binoculars at the players.

While Hoyer was conducting a 23-second interview as he left,

Brady passed by, smiled and said, ”Come on, Hoy, no media

interviews.”

Among those attending were wide receiver Deion Branch, tight end

Rob Gronkowski, center Dan Koppen and defensive backs Devin

McCourty and Brandon Meriweather. The draft picks included

first-rounder Nate Solder, a tackle from Colorado, and

third-rounder Ryan Mallett, a quarterback from Arkansas.

Several players sidelined for most of last season also

participated – running back Kevin Faulk, defensive end Ty Warren

and defensive tackle Mike Wright.

Faulk has spent 12 seasons with the Patriots, although he played

only two games last year because of a torn ligament in his right

knee, and is unsigned. Danny Woodhead took over his role as the

third-down back and also was at the workout.

”I’m fine, just trying to get back into form, that’s all,”

Faulk said. ”Right now, you can’t say anybody’s ready. We’re just

trying to get back into football.”

Ninkovich said he has been working out regularly with Mayo and

about 10 other players who remained in the area after the season

ended with a 28-21 loss to the New York Jets in the first round of

the playoffs.

The large turnout this week showed ”team camaraderie,”

Ninkovich said.

”Last year we didn’t end it the way we wanted to, so this year

we’ve got to start all over again,” he said. ”I’m just getting

ready to play ball and whenever they tell me to play, I’ll be

ready. That’s all you can do.”