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Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski return to practice as Patriots open mandatory minicamp today: schedule, rules, preview

New England returns to work.

New England Patriots Practice Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

For the past few weeks, the New England Patriots' offseason workouts were – despite solid participation numbers – strictly voluntary. However, this all changes today when the team kicks it preparation for the 2018 season into a higher gear and officially opens its mandatory minicamp: Over the next three days, all healthy members of the Patriots' current roster will practice at Gillette Stadium.

The schedule for the first of the three days looks as follows (via ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss):

Patriots Tuesday mandatory minicamp schedule:

Bill Belichick media availability (11 a.m. ET),

Practice (11:25 a.m.),

Player interviews (1:30 p.m.).

How the practice sessions themselves look like is strictly defined by the collective bargaining agreement: The camp cannot exceed three days and has to take place between Tuesday and Thursday, with Monday reserved for physicals and Friday as an off-day. Overall, minicamp is regulated just like organized team activities as neither live-contact nor one-on-one drills are allowed.

Furthermore, according to the CBA, two-a-day practice sessions are permitted on two of the three practice days. The second practice each day, however, cannot be anything else but a walkthrough. Players are also not allowed to be on the field for more than three-and-a-half hours per day, while one practice session cannot exceed two-and-a-half hours in length.

All in all, New England's entire healthy roster is in for a lot of work. Most eyes, however, will be on two players in particular: For the first time this offseason, quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski will practice alongside their teammates. Both have decided to skip the voluntary portion of workouts so far this year but finally returned to Foxboro yesterday.