FOXBORO, Mass. — Football's (almost) back. Are you ready?

For some, it may signify the beginning to the end of summer — Aug. 7 is this year's midway summertime point, the day before New England's first preseason game, away at Detroit — but for most fans, especially Patriots fans, it's the dawning of a new quest. The latest pursuit for a Vince Lombardi Trophy.

The New England Patriots publicly and officially open up training camp Thursday as they prepare for the upcoming 2019 regular season, which kicks off Sept. 8 at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers on NEWS CENTER Maine.

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Future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady turns 42 next Saturday, Aug. 3. He's in the final year of a two-year contract extension signed in February 2016.

In a press conference Wednesday, head coach Bill Belichick declined to comment on player contracts, specifically Brady's, and deferred a question regarding the status of wide receiver Josh Gordon to the NFL.

"It's a necessary part of football," said special teams captain Matthew Slater, commenting Wednesday on training camp. "There are days that you're out there that you're not having the most fun you've had in your life, but it's necessary."

Thursday's camp session at Gillette Stadium is scheduled to begin around 9:15 a.m. Gates to admit public spectators are scheduled to open at 8 a.m.