‘Excited to be back’: New England Patriots training camp kicks off

FOXBOROUGH, MASS. (WHDH) - The New England Patriots hit the ground running as training camp practices kicked off Thursday.

Head coach Bill Belichick told the media Thursday that he’s excited to get down to work ahead of the 2018 season.

“Getting the group organized, making sure everybody knows what to do and how to do it even though some of us have done it before,” he explained the team’s plans for training camp. “It’s a new group, it’s a new year and it’s good to reset it.”

Belichick made clear Wednesday, while players reported for duty, that he is zoning in on the upcoming season and not dwelling on the past.

“Right now, my focus is on the 2018 season, not 2017, not 2014, not 2007, not 2004, not 2001, not 2000, not focused on any of those seasons. They’re done,” he said.

The Patriots will be without a star player during the first four games of the season after wide receiver Julian Edelman received a suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. Belichick says he’s focusing on doing the best with the players he has.

“We’re all disappointed but it is what it is,” he said. “He’s moved on; we’ve moved on.”

Belichick shut down questions about his decision to bench Malcolm Butler during Super Bowl LII, which New England lost to the Philadelphia Eagles.

“We’ve talked about that. That’s multiple months ago,” he said. “I’m focused on training camp.”

All eyes are on quarterback Tom Brady as he enters his 19th season and approaches his 41st birthday.

Special team captain Matthew Slater praised Brady’s hard work over the years, saying, “What he’s been able to accomplish is really special and to be able to witness it, up close and personal, is really a blessing.”

Slater added that he is looking forward to getting back on the field with his team.

“It’s always exciting to start a new year with a clean slate, with a new group of guys,” he said. “It’s like the first day of school, so we’re excited to be back; we’re excited to go to work.”

The Patriots first workout began at 9:15 a.m., which is free and open to the public.

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