Trainer: McCourty 'completely healthy' heading into camp


Trainer: McCourty 'completely healthy' heading into camp

Good Energy Training owner Pete Ohnegian can say this about client Devin McCourty:

"He really has no limitations at all for his shoulder."

The AC joint separation, suffered in 2011's Week 10 win over the Jets, forced the second-year Patriots cornerback to miss two games and more practices.

There was some question last season as to whether McCourty's sophomore season struggles were exacerbated by the injury. Though McCourty resembled a shell of his rookie, Pro Bowl self before that November night, it was fair to think a bungled shoulder might have bothered his attempts to climb out of the slump.

McCourty maintains one had nothing to do with the other. Still, his trainer isn't taking any chances.

"We don't do rehab here -- that's why I say 'pre-hab' -- but everything is posture-conscious," Ohnegian said. "So even if it's speed work, we're looking at the chest, we're looking at the arm action, we're looking at the shoulder-back and the head neutral. I want to make sure when he leaves here, he's more than ready to go."

McCourty has been working out with Ohnegian since he was a junior at New Jersey's Saint Joseph Regional High School.

This offseason McCourty is at GE multiple times a week. Though he also works out at his alma mater Rutgers, he keeps Ohnegian "on call."


McCourty recently took flight to the Dominican Republic for a few days with his brother, and Titans defensive back, Jason. Neither disconnected from the NFL completely. Ohnegian called the pair's hotel to find out what workout equipment was available and created specific plans.

Trust -- that McCourty can train in a way that complements New England's lofty expectations -- is key to the long-term relationship.

With training camp due to start in two weeks, the cornerback works now on strength, mobility and flexibility. He practices coming in and out of cuts. During cone drills, he makes sure he's exploding properly off his plant leg, that his foot is under his shoulder, and his all-around mechanics are good.

Ohnegian mentions McCourty is "naturally gifted" that way.

So what about 2011? What about the drop from seven interceptions to two, and all the surrendered yardage? Can the trainer offer any theory as to why McCourty struggled?

"I think it just happens."

No, it's not entirely that simple. And Ohnegian knows it.

He said he didn't dissect the film -- and certainly wouldn't any more than McCourty and the Patriots did. He can't pinpoint where the problems came from.

But Ohnegian states the more important takeaway is he believes the same issues shouldn't surface again.

"If anyone can handle it, it would be Devin. He and his brother haven't changed since high school -- they're just straight-up, first-class young men, completely humble. I wouldn't be surprised if he duplicates his rookie year."

It's hard not to mix hope in with analysis.

Yet Ohnegian has known McCourty for six years. He understands the athlete's body (both in potential and reality), the mind, and competitive spirit. Surely, Ohnegian's evaluation is worth some weight.

Some 193 pounds or so.

"I think other guys you can attribute it to not working as hard, or getting complacent, or being focused on other things, but none of that is true in his case. That's why I feel like he's going to have a great year."

Felger and Mazz throw markers to predict tight ends drafted

Felger and Mazz throw markers to predict tight ends drafted

Felger and Mazz have correctly predicted at least one Patriots draft pick for 5 straight seasons by throwing markers at their big board. Here are this year's tight end draft class.

Their three tight ends include:

1. Michigan's Jake Butt

2. Drake's Eric Saubert 

3. Oklahoma State's Blake Jarwin

Bills decline to match Patriots offer to RB Mike Gillislee

Bills decline to match Patriots offer to RB Mike Gillislee

The Patriots have themselves another "big back" option for 2017. 

The Bills announced that they have opted not to match the restricted free agent offer sheet that New England made to Mike Gillislee last week. That means the 5-foot-11, 219-pounder is now a member of the Patriots. Buffalo had until 4 p.m. on Monday to match.

Gillislee was reportedly extended an offer sheet by the Patriots that is worth $6.4 million and $4 million in the first year. The Bills had the cap space to match the offer, but with LeSean McCoy already atop their depth chart, the price tag may have been too rich for them to choose to hold onto the 26-year-old.

Because Gillislee was given the original-round tender by the Bills, the Patriots will send Buffalo a fifth-round pick as compensation. That gives Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio six picks in this weekend's draft: two thirds, a fourth, a fifth, a sixth and a seventh.

Gillislee joins Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis, James White, Brandon Bolden and DJ Foster on the running back depth chart in New England.