Tom Brady was supposed to be absent from Patriots practice on Thursday because of a left shoulder injury.
And then he showed up.
So the mystery surrounding his left shoulder continues.
CSNNE.com's Tom E. Curran reported Wednesday that Brady had "dinged" his left shoulder Saturday against the Dolphins, but X-rays were negative and that the problem wasn't expected to keep him out of Sunday's game. But ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Thursday morning that Brady -- who, according to the Patriots, had a "non-injury related" absence from practice Wednesday -- wouldn't practice Thursday, either, and that the shoulder injury would be the reason.
But Brady was on the field for the beginning of practice Thursday. The media can only watch the warmups, but the Patriots listed him as a "limited" participant because of the shoulder.
The only two players missing from Thursday's practice were offensive linemen Logan Mankins (knee) and Sebastian Vollmer (backfoot).
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
DID NOT PRACTICE: G Logan Mankins (knee), T Sebastian Vollmer (backfoot).
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: CB Kyle Arrington (foot), QB Tom Brady (left shoulder), WR Deion Branch (groin), S Patrick Chung (foot), C Dan Connolly (groin), WR Julian Edelman (back), LB Dane Fletcher (thumb), S James Ihedigbo (shoulder), T Matt Light (ankle), CB Devin McCourty (shoulder), LB Rob Ninkovich (hip), WR Matthew Slater (shoulder), LB Brandon Spikes (knee), RB Shane Vereen (hamstring), G Brian Waters (ankle), WR Wes Welker (knee), LB Tracy White (abdomen).
DID NOT PRACTICE: LT Demetrius Bell (knee), TE Mike Caussin (knee), K Dave Rayner (groin), QBWR Brad Smith (hamstring), G Kraig Urbik (knee).
FULL PARTICIPATION: WR Ruvell Martin (hamstring), RB Johnny White (concussion).
Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett are starting to make a habit of this.
After clinching the AFC East title during the regular season, they made sure to grab a picture together that they could throw on their respective social-media pages. They did the same again on Sunday night.
Sporting their brand new AFC Championship hats -- and Brissett, who didn't dress for the game, in a championship t-shirt -- the trio posed in front of their lockers like the three best friends that anyone could have.
When Brady posted the shot on his Instagram page Monday morning, he captioned it with a speech from the movie "The Hangover," calling Garoppolo and Brissett part of his "wolf pack."
After LeGarrette Blount plunged into the end zone from one yard away, giving the Patriots a 27-9 lead over the Steelers in the third quarter of the AFC title game, the Gillette Stadium crowd partied like it was 1989.
While fans celebrated, the massive in-stadium video board showed Rob Gronkowski, Donnie Wahlberg and Jon Bon Jovi all sharing a booth while Bon Jovi's hit from 30 years ago, "Livin' on a Prayer," blasted over the public-address system. The crowd belted out the words while the man who made them famous orchestrated from his perch.
Of course it caught Bill Belichick's attention.
"I was definitely aware of it," said Belichick, who calls Bon Jovi a friend. "Jon, I've heard him play that song dozens of times. But he had the place rocking . . . Maybe a little more than we did. Pretty impressive."
Belichick and Bon Jovi met while Belichick was coaching with the Giants, where he spent 12 years as an assistant. Bon Jovi's style of music wasn't exactly Giants head coach Bill Parcells' cup of tea, but for some of the younger coaches on the Giants staff, one of the perks of the job was that there was a rock star from Jersey to wanted to hang around the team.
Thus, a friendship was born. Once last night's game ended with Belichick making his record seventh Super Bowl as a head coach, Bon Jovi came down from his box to celebrate with his pal on the field.
"He's a great friend," Belichick said. "He's been a great friend for a long time, all the way back into the 80s and we shared a lot of great moments together, including the 1990 Super Bowl in Tampa, when he was in the locker room after the game, taking crazy pictures and stuff like that. Great memories from there. It was great to have Jon here. Always appreciate his great support. It was quite a moment. One you usually don't see at a professional football game so it was special."