Jerod Mayo‘s return to the practice field is a thing of beauty for teammates and fans alike. The New England Patriots sorely missed his leadership and intensity last year after his season was cut short on October 13 due to a torn pectoral muscle. Coach Belichick is one who’s thrilled to have him back healthy. He had nothing but high praise for Mayo Friday prior to beginning Day 2 of training camp.
Mayo’s absence left a massive hole in the middle of the Patriots defense. He’s served as the team’s field general for several years now. He became captain in his second season, calling the shots for the defensive unit. Replacing a player of his caliber is impossible and it that was more than evident.
Belichick’s been around thousands of different players over the course of his 40-year NFL career, but Mayo is a guy who stands out from the rest in his mind. He understands Mayo’s value and what his characteristics mean to the success of the club.
“I think he’s as well respected as any player in the locker room and I’d say one of the best overall team leaders, players and kind of a glue chemistry guy that I’ve been around,” said Belichick of Mayo.
Mayo’s veteran presence will certainly help to further develop and mold young linebackers Jamie Collins and Donta’ Hightower. Both youngsters project to be starters alongside Mayo this season.
Now in his seventh year, Mayo’s professionalism serves as a great model for all of the younger players on New England’s defense.
“He has a great work ethic, a great presence on the football field, and a great personality that in a very good way is professional but also has a good rapport with all the players and coaches,” added Belichick of the former Tennessee Volunteer.
Belichick even compared Mayo to former Patriots great Tedy Bruschi. Such a comparison speaks volumes based on what Bruschi meant to the team for so long of a time.