FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Next stop, training camp.
New England Patriots players were scheduled to have two final voluntary organized team activities on Thursday and Friday, but coach Bill Belichick canceled them.
“Part of that is that there were great things that happened last week, having everyone here, and then [Monday] they had a team-building activity that was really good,” owner Robert Kraft explained after Tuesday’s Myra Kraft Community MVP event at Gillette Stadium in which $275,000 was donated to 25 non-profit groups.
“The new, young players we have here, the free agents, I’m excited about this team. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun this year. I understand sometimes people in the media have to work things up a little bit, but I’ll just tell you, I and my family are very excited about the upcoming season.”
As it turned out, the Patriots had eight spring practices -- five organized team activities and three practices as part of mandatory minicamp. Quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski were only part of the mandatory minicamp.
Another part of the offseason program was to bring the team together, and it included a visit from Kobe Bryant and a trip to Fenway Park, as well as one final team-building “event” at the stadium on Tuesday.
Belichick said multiple times that the purpose of the offseason program was teaching-based and to prepare players for the start of training camp, which comes in late July (date TBA). He called it a good process.
Now, the next time players take the field, there won’t be another extended break until the 2019 offseason.