FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Coach Bill Belichick rolled out a few soccer balls on the Patriots’ indoor practice field to conclude the team’s third mini-camp practice.
After the media had been escorted out of the building, cheers could be heard emanating from inside. With the sports world in the midst of the World Cup, the soccer balls apparently lightened the mood and set the players into the summer with smiles on their faces.
“Bill always has a fun side to him, and today is one of those days, once we finished practice and everything, we brought out soccer balls,” defensive lineman Vince Wilfork said. “There are so many things that you can do to bring a team together and I think Bill does a great job of that — finding whatever it may be that he can do to bring this team together.
“Today was one of those things, the last day of mini-camp, we finish our practice and everything, and he kind of surprised us with it. Everyone was pretty pumped up and happy about it. It was fun. This game is meant to be fun and we definitely had fun.”
That said, the 6-2, 325-pounder who is coming off a torn Achilles didn’t spend much time kicking the soccer balls.
“I don’t know how to kick a soccer ball,” Wilfork said. “That ball moves way too fast for me. I’ll stick to football. American football.”
–Cornerback Darrelle Revis returned to the practice field on Thursday, one day after he missed nearly the entirety of New England’s mini-camp workout for undisclosed reasons.
Revis also met with the media, and the man who once called coach Bill Belichick a “jerk” on ESPN’s SportsCenter revealed that he now sees the Patriots boss as a “player’s coach.”
“Well, one, he’s a great coach,” Revis said, describing Belichick. “I really respect him for winning three championships. He is. Another thing, I feel like he’s a player coach. A lot of people might not say that outside looking in, but we’re with Bill every day.
“We hang out with him every day. We’re in the meetings with him every day. So we’re around him all the time. I really feel like he’s a player’s coach. And I feel like he runs it how he wants to run it, but at the same time, we gotta go out here and work.”
–The Patriots’ final day of mini-camp practice moved into the team’s indoor practice facility and was a shorter session than the previous two workouts.
Thursday’s workout concluded with conditioning work before the players were left for a month-plus off until training camp.
–Defensive tackle Dominique Easley, New England’s first-round pick, made his practice field debut in front of the media on the final day of the Patriots’ mini-camp.
Easley got right to work in drills with his defensive line teammates, showing no signs of limitations as he comes back from a torn ACL that cost him the bulk of his final season at Florida.
Wearing a surgical sock on his right leg, Easley showed good burst and footwork in drills as he got to work for the first time in New England.