FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth of the New England Patriots returned to practice Tuesday, one day after pleading no contest to a charge of simple assault.

Haynesworth was in pads and participated in drills at the beginning of the afternoon practice. He’s one piece of the Patriots’ rebuilt defense.

Haynesworth last practiced Aug. 4 and was in pads but didn’t practice Saturday. Coach Bill Belichick had been describing Haynesworth’s situation as “day to day” for two weeks.

The no-contest plea Monday resolved the case in which he was accused of touching a waitress’ breast while having drinks with friends at a Washington hotel. He must stay out of trouble in the next 18 months and complete 160 hours of community service.

“It helps every player to be out there in practice,” Belichick said Tuesday before practice when asked about Haynesworth, calling the legal situation a “personal matter” he wouldn’t comment on.

He also declined to speculate on whether the NFL might take action against him.

“Whatever the league does, they’ll announce,” Belichick said.

Linebacker Jerod Mayo said he was looking forward to Haynesworth’s return.

“When we come in here, it’s all about football,” Mayo said. “We don’t even talk about it. He’s a great player and I’m sure when he’s healthy, he’ll get out there and make some plays.”