While OTAs started for the Patriots this week in Foxborough, there were some different faces performing football drills inside Gillette Stadium's Dana-Farber Field House on Thursday evening.
Hundreds of New England-area moms took part in a free clinic hosted by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft to educate themselves on topics such as equipment fitting, concussion awareness, and heat and hydration as part of USA Football's Heads Up Football program.
Hundreds of New England-area moms took part in the free clinic, which will included education on proper equipment fitting; concussion awareness; heat and hydration; and USA Football???s Heads Up Football program.
"It's important for us to talk about the rewards of playing the game of football," stressed Goodell as he stood next to Robert Kraft in a swarm of media during the event. "It's important for us to get the right information to moms and to families that are making the decisions - and to encourage our kids to play sports."
The event is first of its kind in New England and one of a series of NFL football clinics for moms across the country.
During the clinic, a panel of "football moms" including Goodell's wife Jane Skinner, Chris Golic, Rhonda Tippett and Bianca Wilfork spoke to the attendees about their experiences with the sport before the crowd broke into groups for football drills with various Patriots players and coaches.
"All of us who are semi-intelligent understand that in the end, it's the mothers and wives that are making the decisions," said Kraft with a smile. "Even if the guys that think they're making the decisions, they're not making the decision. I can attest to that."
With a recent trend of children playing less sports in general, the urge to educate families on football and the role it plays in youth development has never been greater.
"When you're dealing with mothers, they have a great spirit and they're really into it themselves," said Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater, who was among the many players helping run drills on Thursday night.
"It was a joy to be with them."
Quick Hit Quotes from Thursday's Media Access
Roger Goodell on the idea of a Super Bowl in Foxborough: "It's something that if this community decides it's what they want to do, it's competitive. This process is more and more difficult as everybody wants one of these events. We had a great experience in New York and it's something we'll take up with the membership."
Robert Kraft on Tom Brady: "The way he takes care of himself and what he does - he's out there earning his job every year. I hope every player models himself they way he conducts himself."
Devin McCourty on Darrelle Revis: "He's a good teammate. He works hard and it's exciting for him to be here. I think he's focused on getting better as a player just like the rest of us. I'm excited for the season this year and for the secondary to start bonding and become a unit. I think right now we're just a bunch of names, and this time - and then in training camp - is when we start to become a unit."