FOXBOROUGH — Donning a classic gray hoodie with cut-off sleeves, Patriots coach Bill Belichick elected to keep mum on the first day of training camp Wednesday.
Belichick showed little interest in discussing a variety of topics, as the defending Super Bowl champions ramp up their preparations for the upcoming season. Veterans were required to report to camp Wednesday morning, while practices with the full squad begin Thursday.
So, did every player expected to show up at Gillette Stadium, in fact, show up?
“We’ll have something at the end of the day,” Belichick told reporters. “If we have any announcements, we’ll make them at the end of the day. It’s pretty early. It’s like 10 a.m.”
ESPN’s Field Yates later reported that new wide receiver Dontrelle Inman will be a late arrival because of personal reasons. Inman is among the new faces comprising the team’s receiving corps, joining rookie N’Keal Harry and 26-year-old Maurice Harris.
What about fellow receiver Josh Gordon, who was suspended in December as a result of multiple violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy? Is there an update on his status?
“That’ll be a league matter,” Belichick said.
Little else was divulged, with Belichick effectively evading questions about players and other team personnel. In his 20th season at the helm in New England, Belichick stayed true to form.
Is an extension in the works for quarterback Tom Brady, who will turn 42 on Aug. 3? Brady’s contract is set to expire at the end of the upcoming season.
“I’m not going to talk about player contracts — or any other contracts, for that matter,” Belichick said.
Is there concern for running back Sony Michel, who will open camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list? After a successful first-year campaign in which he rushed for 931 yards and six touchdowns, Michel underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his knee and sat out offseason workouts earlier in the spring.
“I think Sony’s working hard,” Belichick said. “We have players at a lot of different stages of physical readiness.”
On the flip side, is it promising that offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn is ready to go? Wynn, a first-round draft pick in 2018, missed last season because of an ankle injury suffered in a preseason game. He was not listed as one of the six players on the PUP list.
“We’ll see where everyone is,” Belichick said.
In regard to the lingering effects from coaching turnover — the Patriots lost multiple members of their staff, most notably de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores — Belichick noted their situation is no different than others around the league.
“It’s the National Football League,” he said. “There are changes on every team every year. Every team changes players. I imagine every team in the league has had staff changes.”
So, where do they go from here?
“We obviously have a long, long, long way to go,” Belichick said.
Thursday and Friday are expected to be a continuation of minicamp, with no pads and no contact, before practice escalates on Saturday. The team will remain in Foxborough until Aug. 4, when it departs for a week of joint practices in Detroit, where the Patriots will also play their first preseason game. The team will then travel to Nashville for a week of joint practices with the Tennessee Titans.
“Training camp is a very necessary part of getting a football team ready,” Belichick said. “I enjoy all parts of football season, from beginning to end.”
As for whether he thinks about the pressures of repeating as champions?
“I’m thinking about trying to have a good day today,” Belichick said. “That’s what I’m thinking about.”