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Some days off: Patriots cancel final two OTA practices, start summer vacation early

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The team will return in late July.

NFL: New England Patriots-Minicamp Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Almost two months ago, on April 16, the New England Patriots officially kicked off their offseason workout program. Since then, the team went through various phases of voluntary and mandatory work – from the strength and conditioning program to organized team activities to minicamp. This week, the team was scheduled to hold its final four OTA practices before the start of summer vacation on Friday.

According to Patriots owner Robert Kraft, however, the team canceled the final two sessions. “Our players will be let off today at 2:00,” Kraft told reporters earlier today at the 2018 Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards. “Part of it, I think, is that there were great things that have happened last week, having everyone here, and then yesterday they had a team building activity that was really good.”

After last week's mandatory minicamp, voluntary workouts were on the schedule again this week with one session each on Monday and Tuesday as well as Thursday and Friday. After the first two sessions, one of which a field trip to Boston to visit Fenway Park, the coaching staff decided to forgo the two final installments and send players home earlier than was originally planned – not an unprecedented move for the team, which did the same in 2016.

New England's players will not have to return to Gillette Stadium until late next month: The Patriots are expected to start their training camp on July 26, with rookies reporting on July 22 and veterans two days later.