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Bill Belichick calls Jerod Mayo ‘one of the best’ team leaders he’s ever been around

07.25.14 at 9:45 am ET
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FOXBORO — Bill Belichick knows a team leader when he sees one. And in Jerod Mayo, he’s sees one of the best he’s ever been around in the NFL.

That’s saying something from a coach who has been in the presence of Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Carl Banks, Pepper Johnson, Rodney Harrison, Tedy Bruschi, Tom Brady and Junior Seau.

But on Friday, Mayo was put in that lofty group by Belichick when the Patriots coach was asked about what Mayo means to the Patriots, after missing half of last season with a torn pectoral muscle.

“Yeah, I think he means a lot to our team,” Belichick began. “I’d say he’s really the guy that the team probably revolves around more than any other player. Not that there aren’t other players instrumental in that. He pretty much touches everybody, not just the defensive players but all the guys, and not the just the older guys, the younger guys. Even when he was captain in the second year, he had a relationship with the older guys.

“Now, he’s more a veteran player but he’s still pretty attached to the younger guys like Jamie Collins, [Dont’a] Hightower, guys like that, in addition to players not at his position. He’s got a great work ethic, great presence on the football field, great personality that I would I say in a very good way professional but also has good rapport with all the players and the coaches. He’s as as well-respected as any player in the locker room. I’d say he’s one of the best overall team leaders and players, kind of a glue-chemistry guy, I’ve been around.”

Mayo, the 10th overall pick by the Patriots out of Tennessee in 2008, is already entering his seventh season. He has enjoyed a career that included NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in ’08 and a Super Bowl appearance in February 2012.

On Thursday, Mayo showed some of his leadership by telling everyone that this talented Patriots defense still needs to prove itself on the field. Mayo cautioned that no one knows after just one practice just how good this defensive unit can be until all the pieces are on the field together.

Other takeaways from Belichick on Friday:

  • The Patriots will practice one more day in shells and shorts before going to full pads on Saturday: “One down. A lot of practices in front of us,” Belichick said. ” think we saw a lot of things [Thursday] out there that we can build on, certainly a lot of things we need to correct and improve on. Just try to put one foot in front of the other, string some good days together and see how it goes today. Another day without pads. Get into pads [Saturday]. Still have a lot of things we can teach on [Friday] and prepare for our first day of [pads] practice. I think overall our players are in decent condition.”
  • Belichick said NFL officials will be in Foxboro during the second week of the preseason as the Patriots practice with the Eagles to go over rules changes and points of emphasis.
  • Friday was also slip-and-slide day in Foxboro for Patriots rookies.
  • Belichick also said that he, like Tom Brady on Thursday, has been impressed with second-year receiver Kenbrell Thompkins: “He’s very attentive, a very hard worker.”
  • Belichick said the first couple of days of training camp will be used for “re-installation” to reteach the playbook. “There’s a lot of little things, fine points we need to go over,” Belichick said.
Read More: 2014 training camp, Bill Belichick, Jerod Mayo, Lawrence Taylor
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