FOXBOROUGH — Patriots center Dan Koppen has had a couple of conversations with fellow offensive lineman Logan Mankins but he is staying out of the way of any contract business.
Mankins is unhappy with his contract situation and is not participating in offseason workouts as a result. While Mankins goes through negotiations, Koppen said he has had contact with his friend and is doing good.
“That’s between him and the Patriots,” Koppen said. “It doesn’t concern me at all. It’s one of those things where I’m not negotiating the deal on either side. I’m sure the Patriots are doing what they feel is right and Logan is doing what he feels is right for him and his family, so whatever he decides or gets done is his business.”
Meanwhile, Koppen said he was pleased to see offensive guard Stephen Neal return to the Patriots.
“I was happy,” Koppen said. “I talked to Steve a couple of times. Really towards the end there he didn’t know what he wanted to do but that’s understandable. He’s earned that right to take some time at the end of the year and reevaluate and talk with his family and see what he wants to do. … Just to have him back, the type of player he is, the type of guy he is in that locker room, just a good friend and we’re lucky to have him back.”
As Koppen enters his eighth season with the Patriots, he said there is some comfort in being part of a consistent line.
“That’s one thing that it’s nice coming into the season to know but it’s something we can’t rely on,” Koppen said. “We really have to go back and recommit ourselves starting now in the offseason and all through training camp and the regular season. I think this is going to be an important offseason for us.”
With the arrival of Tom Brady last week, Koppen said teammates greeted the quarterback with a few lighthearted jabs about his Earth Hour spot. The entire ad had a general “make fun of this” kind of feel, Koppen said.
“He deserved it,” Koppen said. “He understood it. It was for a good cause so … ”
Throughout the offseason, members of the Patriots have reflected on leadership and Koppen said maybe it is time for him to also be more vocal this fall.
“I think [leadership] is good but it could be better,” Koppen said. “I think everybody needs to do their part. Really that starts with just doing your job and coming in and working out hard everyday. People like myself, that haven’t been as vocal in the past, maybe I need to step up and be a little more vocal. We’ve got a few other guys that are ready to take those roles and I think we’ll see that develop in the offseason.”