SUDBURY, Mass. — After more than a month’s worth of downtime, the New England Patriots will get back to work this week. The team’s first training camp practice is scheduled for Thursday morning.

Julian Edelman, for one, can’t wait to get started.

“I’m extremely excited for the new year,” the Patriots wide receiver said Saturday morning at his Julian Edelman Football Clinic. “This is a new team. Training camp coming up, this is kind of like when school’s back in session. We had summer break, (and now) you get to see all the fellas. This is where you learn your team and learn each other and become accountable for each other and work hard together and create a consistency together.

“This is like the beginning shape form of your team, these next few weeks. It’s a crucial point. We put a lot of hard work in during the spring, and (this) is the next step to playing other teams, so it’s definitely exciting.”

Edelman, who’s coming off an MVP performance in the New England’s Super Bowl LIII victory over the Los Angeles Rams, began his final weekend of the offseason by hosting close to 600 boys and girls for a day of drills and instruction at Lincoln-Sudbury High School.

“It’s fun,” said Edelman, who recalled attending San Francisco 49ers camps as a kid in his native Bay Area. “You get to come out here and you get to see the future. … (The kids) get to go play football with a bunch of great coaches. You get to see some guy that you liked or whatever, whether that’s the case or not, and then you get to eat a burger and have fun. That’s what summer’s about.

“And I think it’s really important for these kids to come out here and actually do physical activity instead of staying in the house and playing video games. This generation is definitely different — and I’m part of that — and this is fun to get them out here and run around.”

Edelman led all Patriots players with 850 receiving yards last season despite serving a four-game suspension, then averaged 8.7 receptions and 129.3 yards per game during New England’s playoff run. With star tight end Rob Gronkowski now retired and the Patriots’ depth chart at receiver unsettled, the 33-year-old again projects as quarterback Tom Brady’s top target entering the 2019 campaign.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images