Patriots now in Phase 3 of offseason

New England Patriots players participating in the team's voluntary offseason program return to work Tuesday with the team entering "Phase 3" of the league-mandated rules.

What is Phase 3?

Here is the rundown:

Organized team activities. Teams can have up to 10 OTAs over a three-week span. There can be a maximum of three OTAs each week over the first two weeks. A fourth work day is allowed over the first two weeks, but with reduced hours and drills.

Hours increase. In Phase 1 and Phase 2, teams were limited to four-hour work days. In Phase 3, the maximum is now six hours.

Acceptable practice gear. No pads are allowed except protective knee and elbow pads. Helmets are permitted.

A feel for contact. There is no live contact drills between offensive linemen and defensive linemen, or wide receivers and defensive backs.

Drills in focus. 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 are allowed.

The following is the Patriots' schedule:

Organized team activities

Week 1: May 27, 29, 30*

Week 2: June 2, 3, 5*

Week 3: June 9, 10, 12*,13

* Open to reporters

Full-team mandatory minicamp

June 17-19