Check out photos of the Patriots during Super Bowl bye week media access.
Normally, the Patriots' work week begins on Wednesdays, but head coach Bill Belichick decided to alter his team's schedule a bit this week before Super Bowl Week. The AFC Champs didn't practice until today, which officially launches their on-field preparations for Super Bowl LII. New England will continue working through the weekend before boarding their team plane to Minneapolis on Monday morning.
Missing from action today were tight end Rob Gronkowski and rookie defensive lineman Deatrich Wise. Both players suffered concussions in the AFC title game versus Jacksonville this past Sunday. Defensive lineman Malcom Brown also sat out due to a foot injury that appears to have been sustained either during or since the Jaguars game.
Quarterback Tom Brady's injured right (throwing) hand – a major discussion point last week – caused him to be a limited participant in Thursday's session. Media were allowed to watch a portion of practice and Brady threw some passes during that time with no apparent problems.
Afterward, media interviews with players took place in the locker room. Among those stopping to spend time with reporters was wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who's grateful for the opportunity to play in his first Super Bowl.
"You've got to be able to treat it like you're never going to get this opportunity again," Cooks remarked. "We're fortunate as a team, so we've got to look at it from that standpoint. We never know if we can get back here, so give it all you've got."