- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes was absent from the team's first organized team activity, held at Gillette Stadium on Monday, a league source confirms. The reason for the absence was unclear, but as colleague Mike Reiss noted on Sunday, Spikes has not been present much at the team's facility throughout the offseason.
OTA's are not mandatory, and Spikes has the right to miss out on one or any of the sessions. Nonetheless, absences are notable as the team normally has close to perfect attendance at the on-field sessions. OTA's provide an opportunity for players to work with their new teammates and coaches for the first time since the conclusion of last season, and are often used to install a substantial portion of the playbook.
There are cases of players around the league who choose not to attend OTA's for a variety of reasons, and the Patriots have had those players in the past. For example, Mike Vrabel preferred to spend his offseasons at home in Ohio, while others miss out on one of more of the sessions for personal reasons or another commitment.
The first media-accessible OTA will be held on Tuesday, an Spikes' attendance will be one of the story lines of note as the session begins.
Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald first reported Spikes' absence.