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Patriots notebook

Candid comments by Mankins

By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / April 27, 2011

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FOXBOROUGH — Logan Mankins is one of 10 plaintiffs named in the players’ lawsuit against the NFL, and he was candid about Monday’s judicial order to end the lockout.

Asked his thoughts on the notion that franchise tags could be eliminated under a new collective bargaining agreement, Mankins said, “I’ve heard there’s this thing in football called free agency, but I haven’t seen it. Maybe one of these days I could actually experience that.’’

Mankins, who had the franchise tag placed on him last season, is one of more than 200 players who would have been unrestricted free agents last season under the previous rules. But because it was an uncapped year, they remained restricted free agents.

New England tendered Mankins, then reduced the tender when he didn’t sign by June 15. Mankins returned to the team in early November and was immediately inserted as the starting left guard.

Once players are allowed to return to team facilities, Mankins won’t be heading to Gillette.

“I would if I had a contract,’’ he said. “But I’m not under contract, so I wouldn’t be allowed to work out even if we could.’’

There’s been talk the Patriots will draft a guard or two this week, but Mankins isn’t worried.

“They could draft three guards for all I care,’’ he said. “They’d still have to beat me out. Or if they release me, someone will pay me to play for them. I’m not worried about that.’’

Light on the subject Left tackle Matt Light and several teammates were at the Liberty Hotel yesterday for a lockout chat and breakfast that raised money for his Light Foundation.

Light, who remains the Patriots’ player rep (or, as they say now, “advocate’’) despite being a free agent, said there was a conference call set for last night.

“Guys are wondering, ‘Do I have to get on a plane today,’ ‘how do I proceed,’ ‘what’s going to happen as far as reporting to the individual team,’ and I can’t give them answers to all of those things, and hopefully later on tonight I’ll have some more for them,’’ said Light.

“It’s been interesting for all the free agents. For guys like myself, there’s not going to be any certainty until we get a deal in place and that’s unfortunate for the guys that are in my position, but the only thing we can do is continue to work out and get ourselves ready and I kind of take it day by day on that approach and hopefully we’ll have some more word soon.’’

Asked if he expects a civil workplace once things get back to normal, he said, “I think a lot of guys worry about that, but I can tell you one thing: The coaches are only focused on winning.’’

Shalise Manza Young can be reached at syoung@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.

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