This offseason, members of the Philadelphia Eagles and former Patriots defensive end Cassius Marsh said that players don’t have fun inside the Pats’ locker room. As the team wrapped up its offseason program this week, it doesn’t look like that’s the case.

No days off?

Well, not exactly.

No fun in Foxboro?

That’s not the case, either.

This offseason, members of the Philadelphia Eagles and former Patriots defensive end Cassius Marsh said that players don’t have fun inside the Pats’ locker room. As the team wrapped up its offseason program this week, it doesn’t look like that’s the case.

In the wake of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski sitting out of organized team activities, there was a notion that the foundation in Foxboro was shaky. Instead, as the players break for part of the summer, it looks like things are solid around the franchise.

Over the last two months, Bill Belichick had an interesting approach. And players were seen actually having fun.

“I enjoy my time with the Patriots, man,” running back James White said. “Work hard, get around the guys, we have a tight group of guys. We work hard, have fun and just play for each other.”

It started in OTAs. That’s when Belichick brought in future NBA Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant to meet and talk with the players. You’d be hard-pressed to find many professional athletes turn into fans for a day, but that’s what happened when Bryant showed up.

It didn’t take long to see selfies popping up on Instagram. Even Stephon Gilmore admitted he was “star struck” and rarely asks other people to take photos with him.

"I had to,” Gilmore said of his rare selfie. “I couldn’t let him walk out the door.”

The Patriots' intensity level picked up in minicamp, especially in the team’s 11-on-11 drills. By midweek, the trash talk started as players were fighting on each possession. The three-day camp was a reminder of how tough Patriots practices are. On the final day, players were sent to the "hill" to run sprints. That hill near the practice field is legendary to the players. It’s hard, but by the end of the season, those sprints help greatly with conditioning.

“This is one of the most rigorous offseason programs in the league,” wide receiver Phillip Dorsett said. “It’s worth it, though. Definitely worth it.”

The Patriots were pushed so hard during minicamp that Belichick surprised everyone this past week. Originally, the team was schedule to finish OTAs with four practices — Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

In years past, players would usually get the final day off. One year they arrived at the stadium expecting to practice, but actually played indoor soccer at the field house. This year, the fun started on Monday. Players came to the stadium, but were put on buses and sent to Fenway Park. Their field trip included games of corn hole.

According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Belichick had another surprise for the players on Tuesday. He turned the day into a history lesson. Players wore leather helmets on the practice field. In the meeting rooms, the digital clocks were covered and black and white recordings of old football plays were shown. Even the lunch menu was changed to something players would eat in the 1930s.

By 2 p.m., players were in for another surprise — practice on Thursday and Friday was canceled and players were free until training camp starts up again in late July.

There’s no denying that this offseason workout program was tough. Players were screamed at for hours on end. Rookie running back Sony Michel was on the receiving end at the start of OTAs. After making a one-handed catch, running backs coach Ivan Fears lit into him for cutting his route short.

After that practice, the rookie was asked about the play and whether or not this setting could be frustrating.

“He’s going to do what’s best for the team and help me,” Michel said. “I’m blessed to be here. There’s nothing frustrating about being given an opportunity like this.”

Was he having fun?

“Oh yeah. Definitely, fun,” Michel said.

That seemed to be a common theme this offseason in Foxboro.

Mark Daniels writes for the Providence Journal of GateHouse Media.