New England quarterback Tom Brady was absent from a Wednesday practice session after meeting with the media beforehand. No reason was given for his absence, WEEI-FM reported, but it might have been a day of late-season rest. He hadn't previously missed a practice this season. On a more positive note for the Patriots, tight end Rob Gronkowski did participate in practice. Gronkowski suffered a broken left forearm in November and hasn't played since Nov. 18. He returned to practice in a limited basis last Friday but did not play in the Patriots' loss to San Francisco on Monday night. Defensive back Alfonzo Dennard (knee) also practiced after injuring a knee against the 49ers on Monday night. The Patriots (10-4) are preparing for Sunday's game against Jacksonville.