When asked why he left New England to join the Ravens' staff three years ago, Pees shed no light Thursday, saying: "Personal reasons."

Pees has consistently denied that he was fired or that he left because of a medical condition that flared up when he had a bad reaction to asthma medicine, which had been speculated.

“I decided not to go back there,” Pees said in January when he was introduced as defensive coordinator. “My contract was up. I didn’t renew my contract. I was not fired, and I decided to explore other avenues. And this was a great avenue to explore.”

Pees said he has maintained a strong rapport with Belichick.

"My relationship with him is great," Pees said. "We still speak on occasions when we’re playing a team that’s a common opponent and we aren’t playing each other. In certain years, we’ll discuss things. It’s a great relationship."

Pollard practices

Strong safety Bernard Pollard returned to practice Thursday and reiterated that he will play Sunday despite a rib contusion.

"I'm ready to go," Pollard said. "I'm excited to be playing. Is my pain gone? Yeah, man, I'm ready to go. When my mind is made up that I'm going, I'm not going to hold anything back and I will not.

"Nobody really cares. Once I'm in uniform, everybody expects plays to be made and they expect you to win. I'm playing. It's going to be all good."

Defensive end Pernell McPhee (knee), cornerback Lardarius Webb (knee) and inside linebacker Jameel McClain (knee) also returned to practice on a limited basis. McPhee underwent arthroscopic surgery in the spring, but has started the first two games without incident.

McPhee said his knee is sturdy enough to hold up for the entire season.

"I'm a soldier," McPhee said. "I don't think anything is really wrong with my knee. We're just being cautious with it. I'm going to go out there and fight."

McClain downplayed the severity of the ailment.

"My knee is good," McClain said. "It's working like always."

Outside linebacker Paul Kruger (back) and offensive tackle Michael Oher (ankle) were upgraded to full participation.

Offensive tackle Jah Reid (strained right calf) didn't practice.

Dickson not angry

Although he's been supplanted on the depth chart by Dennis Pitta, tight end Ed Dickson isn't upset about the change in status after starting the season opener.

Pitta leads the Ravens with 13 receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown while being targeted a team-high 24 times.

Pitta played 44 snaps and caught eight passes for 65 yards while Dickson played 36 snaps against the Eagles, catching one pass for 23 yards.

"I'm not going to get upset about it," said Dickson, who has three catches for 45 yards. "I'll get a lot of playing time like Dennis. We both get opportunities to make plays. If they see me with a guy that can't guard me, they're going to go to me. If they see Dennis with a guy who can't guard him, they're going to go to him."

End zone

Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg lamented a lost chance on a fake punt run where Sean Considine tripped and came up a yard short. "We thought it was there," Rosburg said. "It looked good at the start, it didn’t look very good at the end. I didn’t coach the timing of that play well enough. If we had the timing down, it wouldn’t have mattered what happened. He probably would have stopped somewhere out there by General Washington’s encampment." ... Making a joking reference to NFL Network's "A Football Life: Ray Lewis," McClain said Lewis, "wouldn't cheat me in Monopoly." Lewis' sons accused him of cheating during a family board game. ... For the Patriots, defensive tackle Justin Francis (ankle) and tight end Aaron Hernandez (ankle) didn't practice. The following players were limited: center Dan Connolly (concussion), defensive end Brandon Deaderick (ankle), cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring), tight end Daniel Fells (shin), wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (thigh), offensive guard Logan Mankins (hip), center Nick McDonald (shoulder), cornerback Sterling Moore (knee) running back Shane Vereen (foot) and offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back). Safety Patrick Chung (shoulder) participated fully.