In case you hadn't heard, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is in town for his charity work with Best Buddies International, and he's doing his best to get as many Patriots players together for organized team workouts this week. According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, the practice held this morning broke just before noon, and had more than 40 players in attendance.
Among those in attendance were Aaron Hernandez, Mike Wright, and Ty Warren: all players who ended their 2011 seasons with surgery. Rookies in attendance included Nate Solder, Ras-I Dowling, Shane Vereen, and Ryan Mallett. A large handful of veteran starters from both sides of the ball also attended the workout. It is particularly encouraging to see Warren, who missed all of 2010 with an ailing hip, getting out there even if its just a t-shirt and shorts workout.
I suppose these workouts will be the closest Patriots fans will get to actual football until the CBA issues are resolved. In a lot of ways, these workouts are overrated: there are no playbooks or coaches, no official gear, no real media access, etc. But there is something exciting about them nonetheless. There's something uplifting about hearing how teams are coming together, and working to improve despite the mess that is the NFL labor situation.
It might not mean much in the long run, but there has certainly got to be some chemistry building through these workouts. I doubt that these workouts are going to be the difference in the 2011 NFL season (knock on wood), but they are certainly a bright spot for the time being. However, I wouldn't expect the shine from these workouts to last for long.
Its just a hunch, but I have a feeling that a lot of fans are reaching their "breaking point" when it comes to the NFL labor impasse.