As was the case last spring, quarterback Tom Brady didn’t join the rest of the New England Patriots roster Monday as players reconvened for Phase 1 of the team’s offseason program.
And once again, Brady was not the only no-show.
Veteran defensive end Michael Bennett also was not present at Gillette Stadium for the Patriots’ first voluntary team workout, according to ESPN’s Field Yates, who noted Bennett lives in Hawaii during the offseason.
Though most players choose to participate in their team’s offseason program — and some have financial bonuses tied to their attendance — the vast majority of these spring workouts and practices are not mandatory. Only at training camp and the team’s three-day minicamp (June 4 through 6 for the Patriots this year) is attendance compulsory.
Last year, Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski both opted to skip all voluntary offseason sessions, including on-field organized team activities, before participating in minicamp and training camp. It’s unclear how long Bennett, who joined the Patriots via trade last month, plans to stay away, but he sat out until the first mandatory minicamp practice after signing with the Philadelphia Eagles last spring.
Bennett followed a similar script during his time with the Seattle Seahawks, so it’ll likely be a few months before he’s spotted around the Patriots facility.
“It’s voluntary,” the 33-year-old told reporters after his first Eagles practice last June, via NJ.com. “It’s the only job in the world that it’s voluntary and people expect you to show up. To me, the offseason is always about how to be a better parent, better husband.”
Some of the Patriots’ other newcomers were present Monday, with wide receiver Maurice Harris, defensive tackle Mike Pennel and returning running back Brandon Bolden all making appearances in team-released workout photos.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images