The Patriots kicked off their voluntary organized team activities on Monday at Gillette Stadium, and the team's initial session was for younger players who still need to catch up to speed with New England's longstanding veterans.
Quarterback Tom Brady was among the missing, but he wasn’t asked to report to Gillette until at least next week, according to a source. However, newly signed veteran wide receivers Torry Holt and David Patten were in attendance for the team's first organized practice, which was conducted by head coach Bill Belichick.
Linebacker Jerod Mayo, who is entering his third season, was not asked to practice because he's so familiar with the system, but Mayo still attended for learning purposes.
Wide receiver Wes Welker, who is rehabbing his left knee, did not participate in practice, but he was outside running with the team's trainers.
Rookie wide receiver Taylor Price, who was drafted in the third round last month, could not attend due to NFL rules because Ohio University has not yet graduated its senior class. Every other player who was asked to be at Gillette on Monday was present, according to the source, who said roughly 75 percent of the Patriots' roster was in attendance.
The rest of the veterans will start trickling into practice next week, according to the source. The Patriots' first mandatory sessions are during their minicamp from June 15-17.
Monday's session was fairly laid back. There was no contact and players wore helmets, shorts and practice jerseys. They conducted meetings and ran seven-on-seven passing drills on the practice fields.
The goal of the first week of OTAs is to get the younger players more involved with the playbook and heavier reps at practice, so they can have a better understanding of the system when Brady, Randy Moss, Vince Wilfork, Brandon Meriweather and the rest of the high-profile veterans swing into camp.