Business at Gillette is usually a little more relaxed during the bye week.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick was in a swell enough mood Tuesday, offering up quotes for the media that measured more in inches than the usual millimeters. One topic Belichick rapped about was linebacker Jerod Mayo's resurfacing in practice.
Mayo, a defensive captain and 2010's league-leader in tackles, sat out the last two games with a left MCL injury. Initially, his timetable was set at 6-8 weeks; last Friday's return to practice was something of a surprise.
Belichick was asked about Mayo's involvement with the team during those two weeks -- about any player whose status turns questionable. His answer wasn't terribly surprising. The trainer's office just sounded more crowded than one might imagine.
"Not to give you a long-winded answer, but we have a lot of players in our system. The guys who are playing, they need treatment on some of their stuff too. They get it during the break periods before the meetings, at lunch, maybe after practice. That room fills up pretty quickly with those guys.
"Sometimes the players who arent able to participate or who need more rehabilitation, some of that work gets done during the meeting time so that our medical staff can be more hands-on and can do more things with them because they have so many other guys to deal with at other points of time during the day."
Excusing himself for saying too much? There's a new one. When it came to applying the process specifically to Mayo, though, Belichick wasn't interested.
"I know you guys think its like this big secret society going on here, but whats most important to us is to get healthy players on the field. Believe it or not, thats at the absolute top of our list is to get players healthy and get them on the field. The quicker that happens, the better it is for the player, the better it is for the team, the more work we can get done and the more we can improve."
No secret societies. Got it.
The conversation continued to wind through the alleys of individual players and their progress, like offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer ("I think he's doing better. We'll see where he is." and receiverspecial teamer Julian Edelman (It's the same process with everybody.")
But after all that, and after refusing any interest in Carson Palmer-trade talk, Belichick was thrown a curveball. What's with the new hoodie? Is this limited bye-week edition or what?
He replied with a dinger.
"Might be," Belichick said, smiling that steel-trap smile of his. "You dont want to make it too popular and take over the gray one."