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The Patriots return to training camp July 27 to begin their quest for a third Super Bowl title in four seasons. Their summer of celebration — from the post-Super Bowl parade to the ring ceremony — is officially over, and it’s time to look ahead to 2017-18.

The Patriots kick off the season in Foxborough against the Chiefs on Thursday, Sept. 7.

Training camp officially is three days away. The Globe will count down each day by highlighting a player, coach, and fact about the team.

Quick fact: Players making seven figures this season (total cap figure): 36.

Player Spotlight: David Harris


The Jets released the veteran middle linebacker on June 6 after the sides couldn’t come to a salary agreement. The news came as a surprise, considering Harris sits third all-time in Jets history with 1,087 tackles. After playing against the Patriots for the past 10 years, Harris will now join them.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Patriots and Harris agreed on a two-year deal on June 21.

Harris’s best years may be behind him, but his 95 tackles in 2016 were 22 more than the next Jets player. More impressive than his on-field production is his incredible durability: He has missed one game in the past eight years. He was the longest tenured player on the Jets, and his 147 starts are the 10th-most in franchise history.

We will have to wait to see how Patriots coach Bill Belichick plans to use Harris, who has been a nearly every down player for the past decade. The Patriots have several younger options alongside him.

Pro Bowler Dont’a Hightower is clearly the best linebacker on the roster. Several others specialize in running situations (Elandon Roberts and Jonathan Freeny) and passing plays (Shea McClellin, Kyle Van Noy, and Trevor Bates).


Hightower has missed 11 regular-season games in the past three seasons. Adding Harris will help lessen Hightower’s workload.

Coach S p otlight: Nick Caley

Josh McDaniels isn’t the only Patriots coach with Canton, Ohio, roots. Caley, too, was born and raised in the city best known for hosting the Pro Football Hall of Fame .

Caley was hired to coach the Patriots tight ends in late February.

Like several of the Patriots coaches, Caley didn’t play major college football. His meandering path to the NFL included stops at John Carroll, Akron, Auburn, Iowa State, Eastern Illinois, Arkansas, and Florida Atlantic. He focused on the defensive side of the ball, particularly the safeties.

He served as a Patriots coaching assistant for two years before his promotion to cover the tight ends. Caley inherits one of the top units in the league, led by four-time Pro Bowler Rob Gronkowski.

Dwayne Allen replaced Martellus Bennett as the team’s second tight end after Bennett signed a three-year deal with the Packers. Last year Bennett enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career, largely in the absence of Gronkowski, finishing with 701 yards and seven touchdowns.

Caley walks into a great situation in his first big NFL position.

Brad Almquist can be reached at brad.almquist@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bquist13.