FOXBORO, Mass. — Patriots inside linebacker Jerod Mayo indicated Thursday that he wasn’t at full strength in 2009, and the knee injury he suffered during the season opener hampered him throughout the year.
"Last year was pretty tough on me," Mayo said after the team's first training camp practice. "Going into the year, got hurt the first game, just trying to get back in shape and get ready for the season. I feel good this year, and I'm ready to go."
Mayo missed three games last season but still led the Patriots in tackles by a wide margin. He recorded 114 total tackles — his average of 8.69 stops per game equaled his rookie output — which was 23 more than Gary Guyton, who finished second.
While Mayo might not have dropped off statistically, it looked clear at times that he wasn’t the same player. Mayo was asked if he rushed back to the field, but he declined to acknowledge that.
"I don’t know," Mayo said. "I'm not really going to talk about the injury stuff like that. I'll leave that question alone."