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Patriots Begin Organized Team Activities; Dane Fletcher Returns

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The New England Patriots are starting their off-season regiment with a familiar face.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots start their off-season organized team activities (OTAs) on Tuesday, and will have a back-to-back on Thursday-Friday. Friday's activities are the only ones open to the press. Here's the full schedule:

Tuesday, May 26th

Thursday, May 28th

Friday, May 29th

Monday, June 1st

Wednesday, June 3rd

Thursday, June 4th

Monday, June 8th

Tuesday, June 9th

Thursday, June 11th

Friday, June 12th

Following these OTAs, the Patriots will host a mandatory minicamp from Tuesday, June 16th, through Thursday, June 18th.

OTAs are non-contact, but allow the offense to align against the defense in 7-on-7s, 9-on-7s, and 11-on-11s to simulate real game activity. OTAs are also considered the third-stage in the Collective Bargaining Agreement's (CBA) off-season regiment, following phase 1's lifting and conditioning back in April, and phase 2's individual drills and coaching.

ESPN's Mike Reiss noted that linebacker Dane Fletcher is present at today's OTAs, which adds another familiar face to an already-strong linebacking corps. Fletcher joins Brandon Spikes as former Patriots making a homecoming.

With Jerod Mayo and Dont'a Hightower recovering from injuries, the Patriots need bodies to help with off-season reps, and Fletcher and Spikes know the system and will be able to contribute. Fletcher, who was a viable spot-starter in the Patriots defense, also adds value on special teams. The terms of his return are still unknown, but his capabilities jumps him to the top of the Patriots back-ups.