BOSTON (CBS) — Football is back. Yes, it’s short-and-T-shirts. No, there’s no contact, and no opponent, and no real football, per se.

But football, nevertheless, is back.

The Patriots hit the practice field on Wednesday, their first on-field session of 2021 training camp.  With the Patriots’ first preseason game vs. Washington a little over two weeks away, the team doesn’t have too long to get things in order as they prepare for the real season to begin in September.

Here’s what stood out on Wednesday.

Cam Newton, Mac Jones Receive Ovation From Fans

Cam played a full season for the Patriots but never got to hear from New England fans. They welcomed him to the practice field on Wednesday with a roar, and they did the same for rookie QB Mac Jones.

Attendance

Some of the players who had been placed on the PUP list — like Kyle Van Noy and Trent Brown — were participating, indicating that their stay on the PUP list is over.

Notable absences included Stephon Gilmore and Jarrett Stidham (both on the PUP list) and Devin Asiasi, who reportedly is recovering from COVID-19.

Chase Winovich and Stephon Gilmore later appeared, though they weren’t participating in the team practice.

Fumblerooski

If you fumble the ball at camp, you run a lap. Mac Jones experienced that shame for the first time.

As the old saying goes: Ball security is job security.

Not The Best Day For Cam

As WBZ-TV’s Levan Reid put it, Cam Newton was “not having the best afternoon.”

QB Competition Is On

Bill Belichick all but confirmed on Tuesday that the quarterback position is up for grabs, much like any position on the roster. To that end, neither Cam nor Mac Jones was perfect. But there was plenty to like about the rookie’s day.

Odds & Ends

The Patriots will be back at it again on Thursday morning, and then again on Friday and Saturday.

CBSBoston.com Staff