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PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK

Players will tackle training camp beginning July 27

The Patriots will open training camp July 27 on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. Two practices are scheduled that day -- at 8:45 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Practices will be closed July 28 because of the New England Country Musical Festival being held that day at Gillette. Two practices will be held July 29 (8:45 a.m., 5:30 p.m.), and a single practice is scheduled for July 30 (2:30 p.m.).

Training camp practices are open to the public.

Funeral plans
The Patriots will hold a voluntary passing camp at Gillette today (closed to the public), the first official team activity since the death of defensive lineman Marquise Hill. The passing camp continues through tomorrow morning, with most team members scheduled to board a private charter late tomorrow morning to attend the wake (tomorrow) and funeral (Saturday) for Hill in New Orleans.

Former Patriots defensive back Mike Haynes, the NFL's vice president of player and employee development, plans to represent the NFL at Hill's funeral.

Brown visits
Free agent linebacker Chad Brown visited with the Patriots yesterday at Gillette. Brown, who will turn 37 in July, has played 14 NFL seasons. He suited up in 15 games for the Patriots in 2005 and played in eight for the Steelers last season. The Patriots have 12 linebackers on their roster, and went to training camp with 14 last year . . . The Patriots officially announced the re-signings of cornerback Randall Gay (restricted free agent) and linebacker Eric Alexander (exclusive-rights free agent).

Funds set up
Two funds have been set up in memory of Hill, with the first to help support his 20-month-old son, Ma'shy. Those wishing to contribute to the Ma'shy Hill Health Care and Education Fund can do so via mail at Regions Bank, 8440 Jefferson Highway, 1st Floor; Baton Rouge, LA, 70809; attention: Maureen Dunham.

Donations can also be sent to the Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church, 2240 Simon Blvd., New Orleans, LA, 70113.

Mike Reiss can be reached at mreiss@globe.com.

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