Nearly the entirety of the Patriots roster was on the field Thursday morning for OTA action in Foxborough. It was the third day of the workouts, but the first that offered access to the media.
As such there are plenty of observations and storylines coming out of Gillette this morning.
One of the hottest topics was fourth-year cornerback Malcolm Butler meeting with the media for the first time following a rollercoaster offseason that had many believing the veteran might not be a Patriot in 2017.
According to the Boston Globe, Butler is playing the role of good soldier for at least the time being as he heads into another season in New England.
The Boston Globe seems to think it sees some signs that Tom Brady could retire in the next year or two, flying in the face of the quarterback's assertions that he wants to play into his mid-40s. The *Globe *media column looks at Sunday Night Football's dominance in the ratings.
The Boston Herald says it was good to see the same old Rob Gronkowski on the field for OTA action. The Herald also declares that Butler won't let his contract situation be a distraction. The Herald Patriots notebook writes about Stephon Gilmore getting off to a strong start in Foxborough.
The Herald *also has Brandin Cooks giving everyone a glimpse of what may be to come with his new team. The *Herald writes about the new-look Patriots running back group.
The Providence Journal has Butler saying "the past is the past" in regards to the offseason. The ProJo also says the Patriots have lots of running backs and only a few roster spots.
ESPNBoston.com declares that Brady is still the hardest working player at Patriots OTAs. ESPNBoston.com breaks down Gronkowski celebrating a TD among other OTA thoughts. ESPNBoston.com also notes that Butler is "all-in" at the voluntary OTA workouts.
WEEI.com says this is likely Butler's last year in New England, so enjoy him while you can. WEEI.com writes that the Patriots could be simply unstoppable in the red zone. WEEI.com passes along Cooks talking about the relaxing of the NFL's rules on celebration, even if his own post-score performance remains flag-worthy. Throwing bombs from atop a high horse in a glass house far, far away, one WEEI.com writer says the media flubbed Bill Belichick's press conference on Thursday by not asking about Brady's supposed concussions.
CSNNE.com has Belichick admitting the Patriots have caught up at this point after starting the offseason "five weeks behind." CSNNE.com notes Butler's reaction to New England's free agent signing of Gilmore.
CBSBoston.com wonders if the Patriots are throwing Brady a sort of going away party this season.