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Jermaine Cunningham and Rich Ohrnberger talk about the impact that the lockout will have on this year’s rookie class

06.18.11 at 8:01 pm ET
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With the spring portion of the NFL calendar now completely wiped out because of the lockout, the time missed for the rookies is incalculable ‘€” this year’€™s rookie class won’€™t have a chance to take part in the offseason team activities, the spring minicamps or get a head start on learning the playbook.

It’€™s something I’€™ve already covered here, and on Saturday afternoon, I had a chance to ask a couple more Patriots’€™ veterans about what sort of impact that missed time could have on this rookie class. Offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger and linebacker Jermaine Cunningham were appearing at the ‘€œFootball For YOU’€ clinic in Providence, and in between sessions with nearly 70 kids, they discussed what sort of consequences could go along with the rookies missing the entire spring calendar.

‘€œIt’€™s definitely important,’€ Ohrnberger said. ‘€œThe more time you can spend in the system, the more comfortable you’€™ll be and the better off you’€™ll be for it. So there will be some catching up for some of those guys. But it’€™s a different kind of offseason. They’€™re going to be pushed right into the mix when we get going. Just based on the kind of guys this organization brings in, I think they’€™ll be all right. We have good coaches, and I feel strongly about that. I think they’€™ll be OK.’€

‘€œAll that helps, just being around our teammates and learning the playbook and just getting better with the team. That all helps,’€ Cunningham said. ‘€œBut you can’€™t do anything about it now. Just stay in top of everything and be ready.’€

Both Cunningham and Ohrnberger are relatively young players ‘€” a rookie last season, this is Cunningham’s first NFL offseason ‘€” and have admittedly had trouble adjusting to the fact that with the lockout, the rules are different this offseason.

‘€œIt is weird. They say after your first year, that’€™s the biggest jump, when a guy makes that leap. But like I said, for me coming in, this first year, having this lockout, it’€™s kind of difficult. But you have to go with it and just be ready,’€ Cunningham said. ‘€œThe only think I can say is that I’€™m going to go into it like the season is coming and just be ready.’€

‘€œIt’€™s been different, but good,’€ Ohrnberger said. ‘€œI’€™ve gotten to see more of my family and my friends, but I haven’€™t been distracted from my job, which is to train hard and be ready for whenever everything gets sorted out. I’€™m excited for a season ‘€” I think there will be one. I just hopeful that both sides can come to an agreement soon.’€

Read More: Jermaine Cunningham, lockout, Rich Ohrnberger,
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