In the later hours of Wednesday night, ESPN's Mike Reiss revealed on Twitter why the Patriots canceled their OTA session set for Thursday, and it wasn't for a fun reason.
According to league sources connected to the situation, Reiss reports that New England was docked their practice set for Thursday and will also lose another OTAs session next week due to a violation of offseason rules.
What rule they broke was not listed, but generally, when a team is punished in this situation, it usually means they allowed contact/tackling or players were dressed in pads during practice, both of which violate the rules of the league's collective bargaining agreement.
As cited by Reiss in his article on the matter, this is not uncommon for a team to violate the offseason rules, unfortunately. Many teams in recent years have been penalized in varying degrees for their violations, with the Patriots as the most recent team to deal with the consequences.
"In recent seasons, the Cowboys (2021, 2022), Bears (2022), Commanders (2022), Texans (2022), 49ers (2021), Jaguars (2021), Ravens (2018) and Seahawks (2016) have been penalized for violations of offseason rules."
He also revealed the Patriots declined to comment on the situation.
Is this a big deal in the big scheme of things? No. But this can negatively impact the team personally and publicly in a few ways.
Firstly, most fans and media members outside of New England are running away with this news as if it's some prize. So we're back to seeing the Patriots and cheating in the same sentence, feeling all too familiar with what's been said over the last twenty years.
Then, of course, there's losing an extra offseason activity day. That is never a good thing, even if it isn't mandatory for players to participate. It's usually a great way to observe your rookies and new players early in the offseason, and now Bill Belichick and the other coaches won't have that.
Hopefully, this is the extent of their punishment, which is fairly mild compared to some other teams in the past. And maybe within the next 24-hours, we will get a clearer understanding of what exactly they did to violate the rules, leading them to this fate.