Tom Brady Misses Patriots Practice; Aaron Hernandez Returns

There's quarterback drama in the NFL. Joe Flacco is dealing with some criticism he took from Ed Reed. Eli Manning is sick. And now Tom Brady is not present at the start of practice. The New England Patriots practiced on Wednesday to prepare for Sunday's AFC Championship against the Baltimore Ravens and Brady was absent, according to media reports.

The Boston Herald points out that Brady talked to the press earlier on Wednesday, and he didn't appear to be injured following last weekend's game against the Denver Broncos, so it's likely nothing more than a rest day for the Patriots quarterback.

Brady had a shoulder injury earlier in the season, which NFL Network's Albert Breer noted was a "pain control" thing. It's unclear if that injury and Brady's absence are related. The Patriots will release an official participation report on Wednesday afternoon. The media only views a portion of the practice.

Returning to the practice field is TE Aaron Hernandez, who suffered a head injury last weekend. It appears he'll be good to go on Sunday.

For updates and analysis on these teams leading up to the 2012 AFC Championship, visit Ravens blog Baltimore Beat Down, Patriots blog Pats Pulpit and SB Nation Boston. Don't forget to check out SB Nation's NFL hub for all your playoff news.

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