Next week, the New England Patriots will finally return to work: On Monday, April 16, the team's offseason workout program will officially be kicked off as players will begin working on their strength and conditioning and to generally get back into football shape. While participation is not mandatory, the Patriots historically have very good attendance this early during the process.
However, the team's best player is expected not to be present when the work begins next week. According to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, quarterback Tom Brady will be in Qatar – 13 flight hours away from Boston – as part of a Best Buddies event:
Patriots QB Tom Brady is off to Qatar on Thursday to do work for his charity, Best Buddies. I’m told the plan is for him to head back to the states late on Monday—and I’m sure no one will freak out if he’s not at the start of the Patriots’ offseason program that morning because of it. Right?
The event was originally announced last week.
As Breer notes, Brady not joining his teammates on Monday will likely cause people to freak out, create speculative headlines and fuel questions about his commitment to the Patriots – questions that are absolutely unfounded, however: The NFL's best quarterback has already been working out earlier this offseason alongside wide receiver Julian Edelman and is expected to be back at Gillette Stadium later during the week.
Even though there have been reports about tension within the organization – with Brady being at the center due to his role as one of its key players –, him missing one or two optional workouts should not be considered the writing on the wall that the Patriots' dynastic run is coming to an end. One day, it probably will but this day is not next Monday.