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Half of Patriots team helps former teammate Aqib Talib celebrate wedding 03.28.16 at 1:13 pm ET
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Just because they aren’t teammates anymore doesn’t mean Aqib Talib and the Patriots players aren’t still close.

And while it wasn’t exactly half of the Patriots team, a number of current and past Patriots players attended Talib’s wedding over the weekend including Devin McCourty, Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork, Duron Harmon and LeGarrette Blount.

See some of the Instagram posts for proof:

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Read More: Aqib Talib, Jerod Mayo, LeGarrette Blount, Vince Wilfork
Jerod Mayo: ‘I could never see myself playing for another team’ 03.24.16 at 7:01 pm ET
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Jerod Mayo said Thursday he couldn't see himself playing for another team besides Patriots. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

Jerod Mayo said Thursday he couldn’t see himself playing for another team besides Patriots. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

While Jerod Mayo’s time in New England was up after this season, the 30-year-old former first-round pick likely could have found a job with another team, but he didn’t want to do that and was happy to announce his retirement.

“I could never play for someone else. I told Bill [Belichick] that,” Mayo said Thursday while speaking to’s “PFW in Progress”. “If teams were calling, I would never go. I could never see myself playing for another team. I’m big into loyalty. … The Kraft family and Coach Belichick, they’ve always been loyal to me and I owe it to them. It hasn’t been about money. … It honestly was never really about the money after you finish that first contract. I just love the game of football. It’s all about relationships, I’ve formed some great relationships, from the people in the kitchen to the janitors and the coaches. I’ve always tried to treat everyone the same, leave a legacy of giving back.”

While many thought Mayo might get into coaching, he said he plans on joining Optum, a health services and innovation company.

Earlier this week at the NFL owners meetings, Belichick had a lot of praise for Mayo, saying he learned more from him than Mayo learned from Belichick.

“I find that hard to believe,” Mayo said. “It’s a great compliment. Maybe about things in the locker room and things like that. Bill’s a great guy. They really don’t see him the same way that I see him, but he’s a great teacher, a great mentor, and not only about football, about becoming a man and being a pillar in the community. “A lot of people don’t talk about that with Bill, but he does give back a lot. Any time I had a charity, he would sign something. He would ask me before I would ask him. ‘Hey do you need something for this?’ I try to use those principles now with my kids and with family. Hopefully I can use some of those principles that he used to lead these great football teams in the next aspect of my life.”

Mayo finishes his NFL career with 802 tackles and three interceptions.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jerod Mayo,
Bill Belichick pays tribute to Logan Mankins, Jerod Mayo: ‘Pillars in the organization’ 03.22.16 at 9:36 am ET
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Jerod Mayo retired this offseason after eight seasons with the Patriots. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Jerod Mayo retired this offseason after eight seasons with the Patriots. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

This offseason has seen the retirement of linebacker Jerod Mayo and offensive lineman Logan Mankins, two players who were fundamental to the success of the Patriots for roughly a decade. On Tuesday morning, New England coach Bill Belichick took time out at the owners’ meetings in Florida to pay tribute to two players he said were “pillars” in their time as players.

“There have been very few players in my career that I’ve had the opportunity to coach that have had the sort of impact on a team that Jerod has,” Belichick said of Mayo. “He’s been a pleasure to coach and a great addition to our team, both on and off the field. I’m sure I’ve learned a lot more from him than he learned from me.”

Mayo played nine seasons with the Patriots. A former All-Pro, the Tennessee product led the team in tackles every year from 2008 through 2012, and his 175 tackles (per ESPN) in 2010 led the league.

“The attitude, work ethic and love for football he brought was special,” Belichick added on Mayo. “He was very special.”

As for Mankins, he didn’t get the chance to finish his career in a Patriots uniform, but carved out a legacy of toughness that will be tough to mach. The former Fresno State star also reached All-Pro status, playing in New England for nine seasons and in Tampa for another two.

“Like Jerod, [Logan] was a No. 1 draft choice — came in and made an immediate impact on our team. Just a great person to have on our team,” Belichick said. “His family, Jerod and his family, they were more than just players. They were pillars in the organization, from a total standpoint.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Jerod Mayo, Logan Mankins,
Patriots position-by-position breakdown: Linebacker 02.18.16 at 6:00 am ET
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When he was healthy, Jamie Collins was one of the most dynamic defensive playmakers in the league in 2015. (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

When he was healthy, Jamie Collins was one of the most dynamic defensive playmakers in the league in 2015. (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

With the Patriots done for the season, we’ve got an end-of-the-year position-by-position breakdown of where the Patriots stand and what figures to be the strengths and weaknesses for the team at that position going forward. We started our overview with the quarterbacks, the secondary and the running backs. Now, it’s the linebackers.

Depth chart: Jamie Collins (90 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 1 INT, 6 passes defensed, 5 forced fumbles), Dont’a Hightower (62 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 6 quarterback hits, 2 passes defensed), Jerod Mayo (49 tackles, 1 sack, 3 quarterback hits, 1 pass defensed), Jonathan Freeny (43 tackles, 1 sack, 1 quarterback hit, 1 pass defensed), Jon Bostic (1 tackle, 1 quarterback hit), Eric Martin (3 special teams tackles), Darius Fleming (2 tackles), Dekoda Watson (2 special teams tackles), Dane Fletcher.

Overview: In 2015, when the Collins/Hightower duo was healthy and on its game, there were few linebacking duos who were better. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Collins was a do-everything freak of nature who could work the “A” gap and run with tight ends and running backs in coverage, while the 6-foot-2, 266-pound Hightower was the next generation thumper/leader that assumed more of a leadership role with Mayo on the sidelines. One of the issues was that they both missed a chunk of the season — Collins was out four games with a mystery illness while Hightower also missed four games, primarily because of knee issues. As a result, when they weren’t in there, the the lack of positional depth showed. While there’s a collection of backups/special teamers that make up the rest of the depth chart, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Patriots go after another linebacker — specifically, one who excels in coverage — to take some of the workload off the likes of Collins.

In the end, the good news is the fact that with the NFL being a pass-first league and the New England secondary a highly competitive group, linebacker depth isn’t that big a deal, especially when you have a pair of defenders like Collins and Hightower holding things down at linebacker in a nickel defense. What the Patriots do have to deal with is the significant drop-off between the elite-level talent in Collins and Hightower and the second-teamers, especially if there’s an injury. That’s the main reason New England needs an infusion of depth at the position this offseason.

Who will stay? Collins and Hightower are the two guarantees to stick. In addition, it’s likely that at least two of the rest of the group who served as backups/special teamers last year (Bostic, Freeny, Fleming, Watson and Martin) will also be around, with the rest likely relegated to the practice squad. And veteran Dane Fletcher returned prior to the start of the 2015 season, but spent the year on the sidelines because of a knee issue. If he’s healthy, he’ll be part of the conversation as well.

Who will go? After eight seasons in New England, it’s time to say so long to Mayo. Even though he was not the same performer he has been in his first four seasons in the league, he was still one of the unquestioned leaders of the locker room, a rare individual who could command respect from offensive and defensive players alike. While the Patriots should have no issues replacing him from an on-field perspective — in some ways, Hightower has evolved into Mayo 2.0 — his leadership skills will leave a void on the roster that will be tough to replace.

By the numbers: 9.5, 3 — Despite the fact that he missed four games in the middle of the 2015 season because of a mystery illness, Collins is the only player in the league who had at least 9.5 sacks and three interceptions since the start of the 2014 season.

Read More: 2016 position-by-position breakdown, Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Jerod Mayo
Devin McCourty: ‘Tough’ to replace Jerod Mayo 02.17.16 at 1:37 pm ET
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It’s clear Jerod Mayo meant much more to the Patriots than what he did on the field. It went beyond football as Mayo was a person who cared about everyone in the organization and everyone felt the same way about him.

Speaking on Sirius XM NFL Radio Wednesday, safety Devin McCourty talked about what it will be like without Mayo on the team after the linebacker announced he will be retiring Tuesday night.

“First of all, I just think we’ll miss probably one of the best leaders that I have ever got a chance to play with,” McCourty said. “The thing I think with Mayo, he’s a special person. I think that is why going through the last couple years of his career — injuries, not being able to do the things he wants to do on the field because of rehab and different things like that, it didn’t bother him as much just hanging it up because he knows he has so much more he wants to do. I’m happy for him to be able to be at a space and time in his life where he’s OK not playing again.

“For us, from a football standpoint, it will be tough. That guy, no matter what, if he was on the field, if he was rehabbing, he kept the locker room light. He kept practice always entertaining and fun. I don’t think you will find a person in the building, top to bottom that doesn’t love Mayo and loved having him around. It will be tough.

“I don’t think we can replace him with a guy or even several guys. It will just be different, especially for me being there six years and him being there every year I was there. It will be tough going out here envision him playing and practicing and doing all those things not hearing his voice and him there in person.”

Mayo spent eight seasons in the league, all with the Patriots after being selected No. 10 overall in the 2008 draft.

Read More: Devin McCourty, Jerod Mayo,
Free agent snapshot: Danny Trevathan at 11:53 am ET
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Danny Trevathan (59) makes one of two fumble recoveries in Super Bowl 50. (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)

Danny Trevathan (59) makes one of two fumble recoveries in Super Bowl 50. (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)

When free agency begins in early March, there are a handful of players across the league who could appeal to New England. With the understanding that the status of these players could change because of the franchise or transition tag, here are a few possibilities for the Patriots to consider. We have to stress that all of these guys are not necessarily considered the elite of the free agent class –€“€” instead, they’€™re players we think would be a good fit in New England. We started with Matt Forte, Anquan Boldin, Mohamed SanuAlshon Jeffery, Stevan Ridley, and now Danny Trevathan.

Player: Danny Trevathan

Position: Inside Linebacker

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 240 pounds

Age: 25 (turns 26, March 24)

The skinny: Trevathan is a speedy inside linebacker who has had a productive first four years in Denver since being drafted in the sixth round (188 overall) out of Kentucky in 2012. While technically listed on a lot of depth charts as an inside linebacker, Trevathan has enough closing speed to be considered a true weakside, sideline-to-sideline pursuing linebacker. He is undersized (at 6-foot-1) but is considered by scouts to be physical and tough. He turned into a special teams asset with the Broncos.

By the numbers: For a linebacker, Trevathan has put up some very impressive statistics in the turnover department, always a Bill Belichick defensive staple. Twice in the Super Bowl, he had huge recoveries for the Broncos. In the first half Panthers running back Mike Tolbert fumbled and Trevathan was there to recover. In the second half, Cam Newton fired a pass over the middle that was intercepted by T.J. Ward. But when Ward hesitated in his return and eventually fumbled, it was Trevathan there to save the day and keep possession with the Broncos. His best season came in 2013, when he started all 16 games for the AFC champs, intercepting three passes and forcing three fumbles. He had a career-best 129 tackles, two sacks and 10 passes defended. After an injury-plagued 2014, Trevathan bounced back this season to start all 15 games he played in, with two interceptions, including a pick-6. In essentially two seasons, (2012 special teams, ’14 injured), Trevathan has 19 passes defended, five interceptions, three sacks and three forced fumbles.

Why it would work: Bill Belichick will likely need someone to replace Jerod Mayo, assuming the eight-year veteran from Tennessee does not return. And while Dont’a Hightower certainly can fill the bill as a pure run-stopper, Trevathan has proven his ability over his first four years to be able to cover in passing downs. Trevathan is a three-down linebacker and could add remarkable quality depth to the linebacking corps, taking some of the burden off Hightower and Collins. In the Giants‘ glory days, Belichick had Lawrence Taylor, Pepper Johnson, Harry Carson and Carl Banks. Belichick has always had an affinity for great linebacking play. Add to the fact that Trevathan has proven himself as a special teams cog in Denver, and there’s plenty of reason to think Belichick could get his moneys-worth out of him.

Why it wouldn’€™€™t work: Trevathan looks for his payday. If the young linebacker hits the free market and agent Bus Cook looks to capitalize financially on the Super Bowl wave – and Trevathan’s role in one of the best defenses in recent memory – the Patriots would likely beg off. Trevathan would no doubt be welcome in Foxboro but only at the right price, as the Patriots have some other decisions to make financially after the 2016 season, namely Jamie Collins, Malcolm Butler, Dont’a Hightower and Chandler Jones. It’s highly unlikely the Patriots would spend big dollars on an unknown commodity (an outside player coming in) as opposed to committing dollars to a player they already know.

Our take: Denver has a lot of decisions to make on defense. They could tag Super Bowl MVP Von Miller or sign him to a long-term deal. They still have to address the future of defensive lineman Malik Jackson after re-signing Derek Wolfe to a four-year, $36 million extension just prior to their Super Bowl run in January. If somehow Trevathan slips through and becomes a free agent, this could be a player the Patriots pursue in free agency to add depth, versatility and youth to the linebacking corps. Look for the Patriots to make a play if Trevathan gets to the open market.

Read More: 2016 Free Agent Snapshot, Danny Trevathan, Denver Broncos, Jerod Mayo
Vince Wilfork calls Jerod Mayo ‘my brother,’ wishes him well in retirement at 10:38 am ET
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In the hours following Jerod Mayo announcing his retirement Tuesday night, a few Patriots players took to social media to pay tribute to their former teammate and captain. That continued throughout the night and on Wednesday.

Even a former teammate paid his respects in Vince Wilfork, who called Mayo “my brother.”

A photo posted by VINCE WILFORK (@vincewilfork) on

Fellow linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins always paid tribute as well.

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Read More: Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork



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