A couple of days after signing a four-year contract to remain with the Patriots, Sebastian Vollmer explained why he wanted to remain with the team.
“Overall I’m just happy to be here,” the right tackle said in a conference call Thursday. “This is the place I wanted to be, and luckily I’m still here, and I think ‘thankful’ would describe it most.
“Thankful for Mr. [Robert] Kraft and his family and Coach [Bill Belichick] and whoever else was involved. They gave me the opportunity, and I want to continue to prove myself and I’m excited and happy to be here.”
Asked if he had taken free agent visits with other teams, Vollmer said that didn’t matter; he wanted to be with the Patriots.
There were two likely reasons Vollmer wanted to stay: an allegiance to the team that drafted him, and offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.
“Just being drafted here out of Houston four years ago, I certainly haven’t forgotten that,” the 28-year-old Vollmer said. “And the whole tradition of winning and the coaches that are here, the players you’re with, you know what you have here.
“I do appreciate the program and the leadership from Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick and the players we have. I really enjoy being part of this and want to continue to be part of this.”
Of Scarnecchia, who is regarded in some circles as the best offensive line coach in the league, Vollmer said, “He’s been a tremendous influence on me. Coming from a smaller program and coming to a program like the Patriots, being with Dante and learning the game under his tutelage and really focusing on technique and schemes and whatever else goes with it, I’m really grateful having him as a coach.”
Vollmer underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee last last month; he had just left the weight room before Thursday’s conference call and said he’s “feeling really good.”
With Vollmer re-signed, the Patriots return the five players who started the majority of the games on the offensive line last season.
“I certainly like it,” Vollmer said. “When you play next to a guy for a few years and you practice next to a guy, you get certain things down, you kind of know how the guys play certain situations, and you get a feel for each other, and I think that is important.
“But injuries do happen and that’s why we practice with different combinations.”
Vollmer will return to to his native Germany in the coming days for his sister’s wedding.
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The Patriots signed veteran receiver Michael Jenkins, 30, a 6-foot-4-inch, 215-pound first-round pick of the Falcons in 2004. He has largely been a disappointment: He has never caught more than 53 passes or recorded more than 777 yards in a season.
Jenkins spent the last two seasons with the Vikings. He had 40 catches for 449 yards and two touchdowns in 16 games last season. He has the unfortunate nickname “Molasses Mike” for his lack of speed, but he is known as a strong blocker.