"This year off with no pounding on the body, I'm going to come back fresher," Bodden said, "and I'm going to have my best season yet."
Bodden's last season was a complete wash. He suffered a minor knee injury that limited him early in training camp, but he returned for New England's third preseason game against the Rams. That's when Bodden tore his rotator cuff.
While it was a difficult blow for the Patriots' young defense, it created optimism for 2011. Rookie cornerback Devin McCourty turned into a New England superstar, and Kyle Arrington rose above expectations during his first season in the starting role.
Bodden remained a consistent presence in the Patriots' locker room throughout his rehabilitation process, and his younger teammates really respected his veteran leadership behind the scenes.
Now, the 29-year-old who led the Patriots with five interceptions in 2009 is preparing to add even more value in the spotlight next season.
"I'm pretty much 100 percent, close," Bodden said. "There's still rehab to do. You can't slack off with it. I'm going to continue to work and work hard to get both of my shoulders strong."
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