TRAINING CAMP COUNTDOWN: 13 days until Patriots training camp

We’ll kick off this morning with a piece from Jeff Howe of NESN.com on linebacker Jerod Mayo.  Howe points out that despite a knee injury that he suffered in the opener that set him back for much of last year, Mayo still performed well.  With another year under his belt, he feels that this could be Mayo’s best year yet.

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald has a blog entry this morning regarding the unsettled situation between the Patriots and guard Logan Mankins.  According to the report Mankins’ agent, Frank Baur, claims that since the day Mankins demanded to be traded, there has been “zero” communication between the two sides.

“I think any time the door opens, a deal can get done,” Bauer said. “Look, I’m good friends with Bill (Belichick), I know Bob Kraft real well. But (labor) circumstances came out and turned everything sideways. … But you never know who is going to pick up a phone and say, ‘We need to get this thing done.’ But then again, I’ve been at this a long time. I’ve seen things. Logan’s a highly principled kid. You say one thing, do anything, things happen.”

Rapoport asked him if he felt the two sides could find some way to meet in the middle, and the answer wasn’t exactly promising.

“Well…” Bauer said. “Nah. I mean, well, Logan’s pretty, pretty, pretty upset over this whole thing. I’ll tell you one thing, I’m old-school, he’s old-school. We’re two highly principled guys. If everyone’s making two bucks, I’ll make two bucks. If everyone is making $8 million, I’m making $8 million.”

Meanwhile Rapoport also has an article on Wide Receiver Randy Moss, who has reportedly hired agent Joel Segal to represent him.  This comes on the heels of Moss firing long-time agent Tim Dipiero a couple of months ago, as Moss had stated he was looking for more local marketing opportunities.

Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald talks about defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, who after helping launch an interactive scavenger hunt with the team yesterday on their official website appears to have taken on a new role as a spokesperson for the franchise.  Wilfork has always said and done the right things, and he says he just tries to work hard and he’s glad to have this type of marketing opportunity.

“All my career, I’ve tried to separate myself from the average defensive lineman. I always try to separate myself on and off the field,” Wilfork said by phone from his Florida home yesterday. “I think the toughest part is separating myself off the field. It’s easy to be a running back or a quarterback or a receiver or a defensive back or a linebacker and get a lot of face time and a bunch of marketing deals or whatever it may be.

“When you’re in the trenches, it’s tougher, because we’re not seen all the time . . . but why can’t it be something different? Anybody can pick a quarterback or someone in a skill position and put their face on it. Why not go a different route. After all, at the end of the day, it all starts up front (on the field). It starts with the hogs up front.”

Wilfork also told the Boston Herald that he hopes Logan Mankins remains in New England, because he feels he’s the best offensive guard in football.

“I think he is the best offensive (guard) out there. Hands down,” Wilfork told the Herald in a phone interview today from his Florida home. “I’ll stand by that. I see the guy every year in camp and in practice we see each other. He’s every bit of what you look for in an offensive lineman. He’s got the toughness, he’s got the strength, he’s got the quickness, you name it, he’s a complete football player, and to have one of them on the offensive line, it’s very rare.”

The Huntington Herald-Dispatch has an article this morning on former Patriot wide receiver Troy Brown, who is entering the College Football Hall of Fame this weekend.  The former Marshall University receiver played 14 seasons here in New England, including being a part of their three Super Bowl Championships.

ProFootballTalk.com has a story on Wes Welker, who spoke to Fox Sports Radio on Thursday and talked about his knee, and having Terrell Owens in New England.

Christopher Price of WEEI.com talks about the Patriots decision to not make any selections in yesterday’s supplemental draft.  Despite their apparent interest in BYU runningback Harvey Unga they didn’t take him, with Unga joining the Bears.

Albert Breer of the Boston Globe scouts the Patriots 2010 schedule, taking a look at New England’s week 2 opponent, the New York Jets.

Our friends over at PatriotsDaily.com take a look at the defensive backfield, with a terific preview on both the safeties and cornerbacks.

OTHER NFL HEADLINES:

Pete Prisco of CBS Sportsline.com takes a look at the Buffalo Bills and their quarterback situation, which he says “is as muddled as ever“.

New Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan has his hands full in Washington as he looks to bring them back to an NFL contender.  CSN Washington takes a look at Shanahan’s coaching journey over the years with the Broncos, as he tries to repeat that success with his new team.

And finally the Miami Herald has an in-depth look at the who they feel will be the 2010 NFL Game changers at the runningback position.  There are several interesting observations in this piece, so be sure to check it out.

That’s it for this morning.  Hope everyone has a good day and be sure to check back later on for updates.