Training camp is still months away, but players have already made their way back to Foxboro Stadium for the offseason workout and conditioning program.
The workouts are voluntary for the players, but the Patriots are expecting full participation in the program, which began Monday for veterans. The veterans will stay in the area through the end of the first mini-camp, which will run from June 5-7.
Many veterans receive bonuses for participating in the workouts and usually aim to get in at least 40 workouts with the team. This year several new faces are around, including fullback Marc Edwards who said after signing little more than a week ago that he was looking forward to meeting his teammates for the first time.
First-year developmental players have already been working out since March 12. These players and rookies who join the team following the league draft on April 21-22 will stay and workout until June 29. The only exception is for the drafted players, who will go to Virginia from June 24-27 for the Rookie Symposium run by the league.
The only players who definitely will not participate in the voluntary program are playing in NFL Europe this summer. New England has seven allocations for this summer. Quarterback Michael Bishop, safety Tony George and offensive lineman Josh Rawlings are playing for Frankfurt. Wide receiver Tony Simmons and cornerback/wide receiver Sean Morey are with Barcelona, while defensive end John Eskridge is with Amsterdam. Punter Brad Costello will also play in the league.