FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — Training camp at Gillette Stadium will look a lot different this year as restrictions are in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the New England Patriots training camp begins Monday, players won’t be putting on the pads just yet. Rookies, quarterbacks, and injured players will begin their first round of COVID-19 testing Monday. Veterans will do their share of testing on Tuesday.
The Patriots are holding virtual meetings all week and the pads aren’t expected to be worn until the middle of August.
Even though it is a much slower pace than the team is used to, agreements have been reached between the players association and the teams. Part of the agreement includes daily testing requirements for players, at least for the first two weeks of camp.
If a team has under a 5% positivity rate after two weeks, tests can be administered every other way.
The Patriots also trimmed their roster to 80 players on Sunday ahead of training camp allowing a full squad to practice together. The NFL is allowing teams to keep a 90-man roster until Aug. 16 but must practice in a split-squad setting.
Another different feeling at training camp this year is that fans are not allowed to attend. Rather, the team will offer a virtual viewing of the camp experience.
It will also be the first camp with quarterback Cam Newton on the team, and for the first time in 20 years, three-time MVP Tom Brady won’t be checking in.
Brady is already busy at work down in Florida after signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March. Brady will be playing alongside New England’s former tight end Rob Gronkowski who came out of retirement with one year remaining on his contract.