FOXBORO, Mass. — The phrase “meeting of the minds” often is thrown around too loosely. But there was a whole lot of coaching brainpower on the field Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens paid a visit to the New England Patriots’ first padded practice of training camp, walking onto the field with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels before the session.

Stevens wasn’t just an idle observer, either. The 40-year-old coach was spotted having lengthy chats with both Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Belichick’s director of football/head coach administration, Berj Najarian. He stuck around for the entire hour-and-a-half session and walked off the field with McDaniels and director of player personnel Nick Caserio.

Of course, Stevens is no stranger to Foxboro. The fourth-year Celtics coach stopped by a Patriots practice last season and attended New England’s AFC divisional-round playoff win over the Houston Texans in January. Stevens gushed about the knowledge he gleaned just by watching Belichick and his coaching staff operate in practice.

“Coach Belichick, his staff, Josh McDaniels and the people I’ve gotten to know pretty well over there are great resources for me,” Stevens said at the time, “because I think that they have a great idea about running a championship organization every minute of every day. …

“The tempo with which they operated, how much they got done, how little time they had to do it — just impressive.”

Stevens clearly has plenty of respect for Belichick and the Patriots, and that respect is mutual. The two coaches chatted last September at an event for Belichick’s charity, and the legendary New England coach had plenty of praise for Stevens.

“He has given me a lot of insight,” Belichick said at the time.

After Saturday’s visit to camp, we’re guessing Stevens picked up more insight from Belichick, too.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images