But Belichick didn't inform the team of the move until the players were actually on the field in practice attire shortly after 12:00 pm.
Most players took the cancellation as a good sign for what Deion Branch called all the "great work" the team has accomplished over the course of the offseason.
Ras-I Dowling, who said he was taped and ready to go for practice, did say that the team still had a 1:15 pm meeting. Dowling also was excited to get home early.
Branch, Dowling, Bobby Carpenter and Devin McCourty were among those players who talked to the media after the non-practice.
New England will next return to the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium in about five weeks, in late July for the start of training camp.
With practice being cancelled there weren't any real observations to make, other than the fact that defensive coordinator Matt Patricia had a wardrobe wrinkle as he wore gray socks pulled up nearly to his knee. Patricia had been alternating between black and white high socks throughout spring workouts.