Pats offseason program begins today

A new phase in the Patriots' offseason begins today with the start of the team's offseason program. Today marks the earliest date possible that NFL clubs can begin offseason programs.

Last night, second-year cornerback Darius Butler (@DariusButler28) reminded his Twitter followers of the importance of the date, tweeting: "At the airport in Ft. Lauderdale heading back to work in the morning up in Foxboro."

Upon his arrival in town Sunday night, Butler tweeted: "Finally back up in the COLD!"

Then this morning around 7:20, Butler wrote: "Early Bird gets the worm ... Weightroom."

The offseason program, led by strength coaches Mike Woicik and Harold Nash, is a combination of conditioning and classroom work that can often be a solid foundation on which teams can build. Nose tackle Vince Wilfork made that point last week when he talked about the Patriots' fresh start in 2010.

"We’re going to have to start in the offseason training," Wilfork said.

The offseason program marks the first time a large portion of the team will be together since the 33-14 playoff loss to the Ravens.