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Logan Mankins said he’s already spoken with first-round pick Nate Solder

05.23.11 at 2:30 pm ET
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NORTON ‘€” Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins said he’s already spoken with first-round pick Nate Solder in an attempt to try and make the rookie feel at ease.

Speaking before Joe Andruzzi‘s Charity Golf Tournament at TPC Boston on Monday afternoon, Mankins said he’s all for helping out a teammate, especially one who is caught up in the throes of the lockout and hasn’t had a chance to get into the system yet.

“Yeah, I have spoken to Nate. He seems like a great guy. I gave him a little advice. Tried to help him out the best you can in the situation that we’re in right now,” Mankins said of Solder, a left tackle who was selected in the first round of last month’s draft by New England. “I’m more than willing to help any young guy who needs anything. Look ‘€” he’s in a tough situation right now. He doesn’t know what’s going on. he has no coaches to talk to. He’s just trying to make it in this league, and if I can help him, I will.”

As a rookie, Mankins recalled just how beneficial the spring practice sessions ‘€” the organized team activities, the workouts and the rest ‘€” were for him before getting into training camp. He doesn’t envy this group of rookies, who won’t have that luxury because of the lockout.

“Oh, they’re going to be way behind,” Mankins said. “I remember when I was a rookie, I started Day One and I still felt like I didn’t know everything, and I was there the whole offseason, the whole training camp. Everything. So they’re going to be way behind, and I guess you’ll see the guys who can pick it up pretty fast.”

As for his future with the team, Mankins smiled when he was asked about the possibility of a long-term deal with the Patriots.

“Shoot ‘€” the NFL and the players can’t even agree on anything right now,” he said. “We’ll worry about that once they can strike a deal.”

Read More: Joe Andruzzi, Logan Mankins, Nate Solder,

Linebacker Jerod Mayo checks in at No. 62 in NFL Network’s ‘Top 100′

05.22.11 at 9:35 pm ET
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Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo was slotted at No. 62 Sunday night in the NFL Network’€™s list of Top 100 players, a list put together through a players-only vote. Mayo was presented by New England coach Bill Belichick, who praised Mayo as a ‘€œfootball guy.’€

‘€œHe handles the whole front, the defensive line, the linebackers, stunts, adjustments ‘€” and in a lot of the cases, he controls the entire defense,’€ Belichick said. ‘€œPlayers elected him captain his second year. I think that speaks to his leadership and the respect that he has on this team.’€

Belichick was asked if one particular play stood out when it came to Mayo, the 2008 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year who has led the Patriots in tackles the last three seasons.

‘€œWhen he leads the league in tackles like he did last year, it’€™s hard to single out one,’€ Belichick said of Mayo, the first member of the Patriots to be included in the Top 100. ‘€œBut I think that some of the plays that he’€™s made when he chases guys down across the field, quarterback’€™s scrambling in the pocket. The sack he made last year, [Ryan] Fitzpatrick against Buffalo. His range and his tackling ability are really outstanding.

‘€œAlthough he’€™s an emotional player, he’€™s not a very demonstrative player. He does his job, he plays hard, and I think his teammates rally around that because he does make a lot of positive plays for our football team.’€

Mayo’s teammate and BFF Gary Guyton told me he’s happy his pal made the list.

‘€œThe only thing I know is that Jerod’€™s a great player. To me, he’€™s the No. 1 player in my eyes,’€ Guyton said of Mayo. ‘€œHe does great things. He’€™s a student of the game. I wish and I pray nothing but the best for him. He’€™s a good player and a good guy and a good person.’€

Read More: Bill Belichick, Gary Guyton, Jerod Mayo,

BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the spotlight

05.22.11 at 8:19 pm ET
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The fellas over at Meat Locker Sports are having a good couple of weeks. First, they had a Q&A with Patriots safety James Sanders, and on Sunday, they checked in with an interview with Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The feature traces Green-Ellis all the way back to his college days, and includes his thoughts on making it to the NFL despite being an undrafted free agent, why he didn’t get upset about being cut initially by the Patriots and how he’s staying in shape during the lockout.

On his post-college, pre-draft thoughts: ‘€œComing into the draft after the season they have a grading system, and on that grading system I was figured into the third or fourth round. It was a real funny year and with the draft, it is what it is. It just didn’€™t pan out the way I wanted it to. I just had to pick up the pieces and keep moving on.’€

‘€œI’€™ve always been the type of person to put in the effort to work hard and to do things that would allow me to become successful. Hard work is something that kind of comes along with the area I come from. Being from New Orleans, the odds are against us’€¦ We weren’€™t supposed to make it out of the city, we were supposed to be dealing drugs or something like that. Your back was always against the wall, you had no choice but to go out there and work hard to try and not become a statistic.’€

On being cut as a rookie before being signed again by the Patriots: ‘€œI never thought I couldn’€™t compete with those guys because I was already there practicing against them. I was there for a reason. Again, it was just kind of how it panned out and ultimately I felt like I could continue to compete with those guys and beat them. Not necessarily the guys that I was competing against at running back, but going up against different defenses, I felt like it wasn’€™t a big drop off. I always felt like if I was confident in my abilities, everything would take care of itself.’€

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Read More: Andre Dirrell, Angelo Dundee, BenJarvus Green Ellis, David Haye

What does Wes Welker think of the Patriots decision not to draft any wide receivers?

05.22.11 at 4:33 pm ET
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The Patriots selected two running backs, two offensive linemen, two defensive backs, a quarterback, a tight end and an outside linebacker in the 2011 draft, but no wide receivers. New England has usually gone after a receiver ‘€” seven of the last nine drafts before this past season, they have drafted a wideout ‘€” but none this year.

While the Patriots might go after some wide receivers in free agency, veteran Wes Welker thinks the fact that New England didn’t try and add any receivers in in the draft could be seen as a show of support for some of the young receivers on the roster, particularly Brandon Tate and Taylor Price ‘€” two youngsters who didn’t see many reps the last season or two. (That duo combined for 27 receptions in 2010, with 24 of them coming from Tate.)

‘€œOh yeah ‘€” those guys have a lot of ability. They’€™re still young,” said Welker of the youngsters. “It takes time for a receiver, especially in this offense. I think it’€™s always hard, especially in our system, for young, drafted receivers to come in and really do something. They really have to do their homework and it’€™s hard for young guys to understand that. They’€™ve been great and hopefully we just keep working these guys along and bring them along, and hopefully be a threat for us next year.’€

Read More: Brandon Tate, Taylor Price, Wes Welker,

Players open up their wallets in an attempt to stay ready during NFL lockout

05.21.11 at 4:38 pm ET
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PEABODY ‘€” It’€™s been an interesting offseason for NFL players: Locked out of their facilities, more and more groups are starting to come together and hold teamwide workouts. The Patriots are one of those teams ‘€” just over two dozen players have been getting together locally over the last few weeks.

New England wide receiver Wes Welker isn’€™t training locally ‘€” instead, he’€™s one of several NFL players who have been training at Bonmaritos Performance in Florida. He’s just one of tons of players across the league who are forced to work out on their own dime.

‘€œFor me, I still have a house down there from when I played [with the Dolphins]. So having my house there, having a trainer that I knew, having that other guys that train the same place I do,’€ said Welker, speaking Saturday at his football camp. ‘€œTraffic is not as bad as a lot of places, especially L.A. ‘€” I can find parking, which is nice.

‘€œThen it’€™s a one-stop shop there ‘€“ I can get massages there, I can train there, they have a swimming pool, a field like this outside. They have everything. It’€™s been nice to go to my own home and stay there, and kind of enjoy it.’€

That being said, it’€™s a different experience for many veterans. Used to being able to work out at their respective facilities, they are now forced to pay for their own gym time.

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Read More: Wes Welker,

Wes Welker says he’s ‘not worried’ about his contract situation

05.21.11 at 2:00 pm ET
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PEABODY ‘€” Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker is entering the final year of a five-year, $17 million deal he signed with New England in 2007. But when he was asked about his contract situation on Saturday, he didn’t sound too concerned about his future.

‘€œI’€™m really not worried about it at all,” he said when he was asked if he wanted to see a resolution to an uncertain contract situation. “Either way ‘€” before, after, during [the season]. It really doesn’€™t matter. I enjoy playing ball. Whenever it comes, it comes. It’€™s probably the last thing on my mind. I just want to go out and play some winning football for my team and get out there and play.’€

In the wake of the NFL lockout, Welker doesn’t sound all the excited about the idea of talking about money.

“Being players and growing up and not having much and the fact that we’re squabbling about money is kind of ridiculous to me,” he said. “I came into this league … I probably made more money than I thought I ever would in a lifetime. Everything from here is just icing on the cake. Hopefully, we get something fair done and we get to a point where we can play football.”

After he spent all of last offseason rehabbing an injured knee and shoulder, Welker is putting that in the rearview and looking forward.

“It was definitely a tough year, and I’m excited about this year,” he said of the 2010 season. “I’m excited about the training I’ve been able to get in and all the running and pounding I’ve been able to do and come out of it just fine. I’m just real excited about where I’m at right now and where I’m heading in the future.”

Read More: Wes Welker,

Wes Welker: ‘World of difference’ between this offseason and last offseason

05.21.11 at 12:25 pm ET
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PEABODY ‘€” Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, speaking during a break at his football camp Saturday morning, said there’s been a “world of difference” when it comes to training this offseason when compared to last offseason, when he was working his way back from a brutal knee injury.

“It’s been great. I’ve actually been able to train instead of rehabbing,” he said. “It’s been a world of difference. I’ve actually been able to bench press for the first time. I’ve been able to squat because of my shoulder ‘€” I can reach back there to grab the bar. Some of those things are kind of key when it comes to football. I’m definitely excited about that and that’s encouraging to see. Hopefully, I’ll be able to use some of those skills I’m working on now during the season.

“I feel so much better. It’s been great, really. Being able to train … I have confidence and everything. I feel good out there. The running, there’s no achiness. There’s none of that. It’s just being able to go out there and being able to do everything I’ve been able to do in the past and not have the aches and pains in the morning or anytime through it all. It’s been nice to see.”

Welker said he spoke with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on Friday, and said he and the quarterback are trying to coordinate their schedules to get some work in this offseason.

“We’re always trying to coordinate a schedule,” Welker said. “He’s really busy ‘€” I’m really busy. It’s kind of tough just not being able to go up to the Patriots’ facility and really get together and do something, but we’re working on our schedules to get together and make sure we do something.”

Read More: Tom Brady, Wes Welker,
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