Yesterday, the New England Patriots officially started the first phase of their offseason workout program: Over the next two weeks, players will work on their strength and conditioning to get back into football shape. The biggest story, of course, was the absences of quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski – the former due to various personal and professional reasons, the latter in an apparent contract holdout.
Despite the two superstars missing, though, the team still had very good attendance as a look at a recently released video by the Patriots' social media staff shows:
It's time to get back to work. pic.twitter.com/4h609QmsXi— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 16, 2018
As can be seen in the video, key members of the team in all three phases of the game took part in yesterday's first workout. The list of attendees also includes plenty of players that ended the 2017 season on the sidelines due to injury: Wide receivers Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell were present, as was special teams ace Nate Ebner, defensive edge Derek Rivers and linebacker/defensive team captain Dont'a Hightower.
Hightower was not the only Patriots captain at Gillette Stadium yesterday: While offensive captains Brady and Gronkowski were absent, fellow defensive leaders Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon were on the field together with special teams captain Matthew Slater. Even though the NFL's best quarterback and tight end were getting most of the attention, their presence for the first voluntary workout of the year should not go unnoticed.