The Patriots began their offseason program yesterday, and the face of the franchise was part of the action.

Quarterback Tom Brady was among the players who arrived at Gillette Stadium for the first day of the voluntary offseason workout program.

As the unquestioned team leader, Brady’s attendance has always been a popular topic at this point in the NFL calendar. The 35-year-old routinely won the offseason award for workout attendance early in his career, which comes with a front-row parking spot and own hotel room during training camp. But that hasn’t always been the case lately, though teammates have never termed it an issue or distraction.

Of course, Brady also helped organize the players-only workouts at Boston College during the 2011 lockout, when a few dozen players traveled from around the country to gather together.

The first two weeks of the nine-week offseason program are strictly limited to conditioning before they open football drills for three weeks and organized team activities and minicamp over the final four weeks.

But really, this is a crucial time of year for players to build chemistry looking forward to the 2013 season. They sweat it out together, hang out away from the field and develop camaraderie after spending time apart. When they see Brady in the building, it should only help that cause.

Thoughts, prayers

The Patriots postponed their annual pre-draft news conference after yesterday’s deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon.