FOXBORO - The Patriots' standard set of captains doesn't figure to change much this season: Brady, Wilfork, Mayo, Slater, Mankins and McCourty.
But this preseason, when the Patriots rested a fleet of front-line players against the Eagles, they sent out a different set of players for the pregame coin toss. One of them was Kyle Love.
Pregame coin flip in the preseason with the varsity in shorts and t-shirts? Woot. Woot. Put that on the Hall of Fame bust.
Context, though. Context.
Love, undrafted in 2010, has arguably had the most impressive rise among the fleet of undrafted players that make up a large portion of the Patriots' roster.
He wedged himself into use in 2010, playing in nine games. In 2011, he started 13 and - along with Vince Wilfork - was the most potent inside force the team had.
The son of a retired Army colonel, Love's attention to detail and steady improvement have led to success and a new contract.
But he's paying no attention to the trappings of what he's done.
"I don't really try to get into it too much," Love answered when asked if he's reflected at all on his success. "I just do my job."
In a profession where the employees are constantly reminded, "You're either getting better or you're getting worse..." reflection is anathema to success.
"It doesn't stop," said Love. "It doesn't stop at all. Can't never get complacent, can't never get to the point where you feel relaxed. That's in any field, any job. There's always somebody behind you working hard who wants to do what you can."
NFL careers can be fleeting. By the time a player is conscious he hasn't stopped to smell the roses, the roses may be dead or dying.
Not much they can do about it. Simply a fact. For Love, though, the roses are just reaching bloom.
(See what I did there? It all just tied up real nice...)