FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When Patriots players arrived for the start of the team’s voluntary offseason program on Monday, some had their eyes opened by a change inside Gillette Stadium.
As part of ongoing construction at the team’s home facility, which will upgrade scouting and coaching offices, there is also a new training room for players, which includes new hot tubs, steam rooms and saunas.
“The new training room is really nice,” kicker Stephen Gostkowski said Monday after taking part in the Speaker Series at the Patriots Hall of Fame, where he answered questions from fans and signed autographs for 90 minutes. “It’s all new stuff, bigger, more conducive for as many players as we always have [on the roster].
“It’s like colleges that have the nicest stuff. It makes the players excited. They show up and it’s like, ‘This is awesome.’ We’re here every day for 8-10-12 hours a day during the season, so you want it to be a place you want to come to. They’re doing a job of keeping things new and keeping things up to date to be on par with other teams in the NFL; it’s state-of-the-art and top-of-the-line.”
Gillette Stadium opened in 2002, so while it’s still relatively new, upgrades were still eyed by owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick.
As for the voluntary offseason program, which officially started Monday, the Patriots have traditionally had excellent attendance and this year is no exception with quarterback Tom Brady and cornerback Darrelle Revis among those present.
“The first week back is always like the first week of school. Everybody is excited to see each other. Everybody is exciting to get back to work," Gostkowski explained.
"It’s just a positive, refreshing atmosphere. The last time you saw everybody, it’s the playoffs, it’s so intense, and you’re so down when you lose. So when you see new faces, new guys that you sign or you haven’t seen for a long time, it’s always exciting to have a fresh start because everyone is at the same point and you have something to work towards. It’s good to be back, good to be in a routine.”
Gostkowski said today’s workout was “running and working out” and included a brief hello to position coaches to confirm a player’s presence.