FOXBORO -- Jerod Mayo hasn't paid much attention to his team's offseason maneuverings, but he knows there will be a few fresh faces in Patriots defensive meetings this season.
In last month's draft, the team took linebacker Jamie Collins in the second round out of Southern Mississippi. Mayo didn't get a chance to meet Collins when he was in town for rookie minicamp last week, but the six-year veteran said he is looking forward to working with the young 'backer as well as the rest of the new additions to the New England defense.
"Not only can they learn from me just because they're on the defensive side of the ball," Mayo said, "but they can learn from Tom [Brady], from Vince [Wilfork]. Guys that have been here, won championships. We have a lot of great leaders here. What's the saying? It takes a community to raise a child? It's kind of the same thing here."
In New England, a place that strives to raise its rookies right, there's a lot to learn. Throw in the significant lifestyle change that comes with an NFL job, and there are a lot of adjustments to be made. Mayo remembers what it was like.
"The biggest challenge for me was just the hours," Mayo said. "But it was a welcome challenge. It was better than being in study hall. I enjoy watching film."
Just as Mayo helped mentor Dont'a Hightower during his rookie season last year, he'll have another highly-touted pupil in Collins. Right now it's hard to say just how well the rookie will fit in, but it will help if he can match his Patriots teammates' passion for the game.
"If you love football, this is the place for you," Mayo said. "Everyone around here loves to play football, they love to play the game. You go to some teams, see some players, hear some other players say they're just doing it for a paycheck. But guys here, they genuinely love the game, the coaches love the game and we're all trying to get better."