FOXBORO, Mass. — Even as linebacker Jerod Mayo deflected the praise, he was still proud to admit he accomplished something special in 2010.
Mayo led the NFL with a career-best 193 total tackles, which was also the third-highest single-season total in team history. He's a genuine team-first guy who prefers victories over individual accolades, but he was definitely happy to reflect upon the achievement.
"It's a great honor to do things like that," Mayo said Tuesday. "But at the same time, those guys up front allowed me to run around and make a lot of tackles, so it was a great honor."
Mayo has led the Patriots in tackles during each of his first three seasons with the team — 139 in 2008 and 114 in 2009, when he missed three games due to injury — and he also topped all rookies in total stops in 2008.
Mayo was the man in charge of coordinating workouts in Foxboro throughout the lockout, gathering about 12-15 players three times a week at a local gym. He was serious about staying in peak condition, and as a result, he hasn't been hampered by any type of injury throughout training camp, which has claimed more than two dozen victims to various medical setbacks in less than three weeks.
He should be ready for another big season, and he has kept New England's defense in good form throughout its string of practices. It's been a unique challenge in the post-lockout world where free agency has coincided with an abbreviated training camp, but the defensive captain likes where they're heading.
"It feels pretty good to be back out here with the guys," Mayo said. "[There are] different guys on the team, so coming out here and building that camaraderie is huge for us."