FOXBOROUGH — Bill Belichick apparently wasn’t delivering a Laurence Maroney-like kiss of death in June when he said end Jermaine Cunningham had a “great” offseason.
Belichick meant it.
Cunningham was one of 10 Patriots players to be honored in front of their teammates during a recent team meeting as top performers during the Patriots’ offseason program, a league source said.
The other Patriots, who will receive a premium front-row parking spot in the players’ lot as a reward:
- LB Jerod Mayo
- LB Bobby Carpenter
- LB Jeff Tarpinian
- SS Patrick Chung
- WR Julian Edelman
- LT Nate Solder
- DE Trevor Scott
- RB Danny Woodhead
- K Stephen Gostkowski
The players honored not only had stellar attendance but also made the most progress in the weight room and on the practice field during organized team activities.
What also should be noted is free agents Carpenter and Scott, and second-year players Tarpinian and Solder were honored after their first participation in the Patriots’ offseason program.
Cunningham, who had a forgettable sophomore campaign after showing no improvement following the lockout, impressed his teammates with his performance in the offseason.
“I just think that from his first year until now, obviously he’s matured a little bit,” Ninkovich said. “[He’s] just kind of taking more of an attitude toward what football is, and it’s busting your butt every day in the weight room and doing everything you can to put your best performance out on the field. So I think this offseason he was just working hard and trying to get back to where he was a couple years ago.
“Anytime you have a guy who’s always giving a ton of effort, you obviously respect what they’re doing so we all respect and think that Jermaine is going to go out there and give it everything he’s got.”