FOXBORO, Mass. — Leigh Bodden is an eight-year NFL veteran who has signed two contracts that were potentially worth in excess of $20 million. He has proven himself time and again, and he has become an important part of the Patriots' defense.
Now, though, after coming off a season-long shoulder injury, Bodden is leaning on someone with far less experience by looking at cornerback Devin McCourty, among others, to help get caught up to speed.
Bodden said it's nothing new for him to open his ears to seek advice from multiple angles, but it's more important right now after missing out on last season. Plus, it's only fair after Bodden continuously served in a leadership capacity for the younger corners in the locker room last year.
"I always ask questions, no matter how old I get or how many years I've been in the league," Bodden said Sunday. "You can never think you know everything, and I certainly don't know everything because they did things last year that I wasn't a part of. I do have to ask those guys how to play this, how should I do this? I'm never too big or too old to ask any questions."
Bodden said he's 100 percent recovered from shoulder surgery, which is a positive sign after he said in March that he wasn't fully done with his rehabilitation process. He's been a full participant in each of the Patriots' practice sessions in training camp, too.
He actually thought he'd be rustier during his return to the field, but he said he's come along a little quicker than he might have expected. Again, it's just another big step in the process, and if Bodden returns to the same form he displayed in 2009, when he led New England with five interceptions, the Patriots could have their best tandem of starting cornerbacks since Ty Law and Otis Smith.
"I've just got to keep working and keep getting better," Bodden said. "I'm far from where I want to be, so hopefully by the first preseason game [Aug. 11 against the Jaguars], I'll be where I want to be."