By Tom E. Curran
It doesn't sound like bygones are necessarily bygones for Logan Mankins. Tuesday at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, Mankins took a sarcastic swipe at Patriots owner Robert Kraft and said "32 teams" are in play for his services once free agency opens.
Speaking to Karen Guregian of The Boston Herald, Mankins was asked whether he apologized to Patriots owner Robert Kraft for questioning Kraft's integrity last summer.
"Well, everyone knows I apologized to Mr. Kraft. He told everyone," Mankins said in what Guregian said was a tone laced with sarcasm. Mankins was one of the players caught up in a CBA loophole that prevented him from becoming a free agent last spring. He was instead a restricted free agent bound to the Patriots. Mankins expected a contract extension anyway. The Patriots offered a five-year deal that would have made Mankins one of the highest-paid players at his position in the league. Mankins and his agent, Frank Bauer, turned their nose up to that and went on the offensive. Mankins joined the Patriots after missing seven games and was brilliant, being selected not only for the Pro Bowl but also as an All-Pro. His price tag has only gone up. And while he didn't rule out the Patriots, the fact he basically lumped them in with everyone else shows the mindset Mankins is working with. "There are 32 teams in play," Mankins told Guregian. "Whatever one I feel is the best situation for me.Theres always a possibility for the Patriots. But to tell you the truth, I havent given it much thought right now. If there was a CBA, Im sure Id be thinking about it a lot more."The Patriots could franchise Mankins (if there's a franchise tag when the new CBA is ratified), but that won't likely be a hit with Mankins. Based on the cordial relations the Pats and Mankins seemed to have from the time he reported (three weeks earlier than he needed to to get an accrued season) through the end of the year, I wondered if an informal agreement had been reached between Mankins and the team. An agreement that would see him signed before the ink was dry on a new CBA. But his comments on Tuesday indicate he - at least outwardly - has no such special allegiance to the Patriots.