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Bill Belichick says Logan Mankins as tough as anyone he’s coached

12.30.13 at 1:48 pm ET

Patriots coach Bill Belichick praised the toughness of left guard Logan Mankins, who left Sunday’s regular season finale with what appeared to be a significant ankle injury before returning to the field after missing just one series.

“I’€™ve coached a lot of tough guys. I don’€™t think there’€™s any that I would put ahead of him. Maybe some on that level, but none ahead,” Belichick said in a conference call on Monday. “Anytime Logan needs help getting off the field, you feel like it’€™s something serious. Usually he ends up just staying out there but for him to need assistance getting off the field was definitely a concerning moment. Then when [head athletic trainer] Jim Whelan came back and told me, as you mentioned, after the next series that Logan was back, I was a little bit surprised to hear that. He’€™s a tough individual, tough-minded, physically and mentally tough.”

Belichick — who suggested that it remained to be seen what kind of availability might be expected from the guard going forward — said that the trait was one that Mankins shares with other key members of the Patriots.

“I think we have a lot of that on our team but certainly he along with really all of our captains — Tom has a lot of toughness and obviously Logan and [Matthew] Slater has played all year, most of the year with the broken thumb and all that,” said Belichick. “Devin [McCourty], Rob Ninkovich, they’€™re all very physically and mentally tough guys. They’€™ve given us a lot of leadership and a lot of toughness but Logan certainly gave us a lot yesterday. It was an incredible performance.”

Belichick said that the Patriots would spend the next few days reviewing the last two games against the Bills and Ravens before beginning to turn its scouting attention to potential playoff opponents for the divisional playoff round on Jan. 11.

“I’€™d say for right now, our focus is really just trying to get through the Buffalo and as I said, even to a certain extent the Baltimore game and make sure we take care of what’€™s in our house and do the best we can to, regardless of who we play, get some things straightened out and adjusted,” said Belichick. “Then at some point we’€™ll turn and look toward our next matchup. But we’€™re really not going to know who that is until Sunday night. We can maybe do some preliminary work but there’€™s a good chance that if we work on all those teams, as you mentioned, then two-thirds of it is going to be, I don’€™t want to say a waste of time, but a waste of time for the moment. We’€™ll just have to try to figure out how to make the best of our opportunity with that time. I think it starts with just the Patriots.”

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