FOXBOROUGH — Returning Patriots guard Logan Mankins addressed the media at Gillette Stadium this morning and said it’s time for him to play football.
“It was just time,” Mankins said of his decision to return to the Patriots this week. “I had my reasons for the date that I came back but I’m not going to explain them to everyone…
“I’ve been training quite a bit so we’ll see today how it goes. See how good of shape I’m in. I’ve played football a long time now. I’ve been through a lot of offseasons. I took this offseason like I take every other one and did all the things I’ve been taught through the years. I didn’t hit anyone, or do anything like that, so that will all be new to me.”
Mankins shared his thoughts about getting back out on the practice field with his teammates for the first time this season. “Anxious, nervous. A little bit of everything,” he said. “I haven’t done it for a while and everyone else has been doing it for a few months. I’m sure I’m behind and have a long way to go to catch up.”
Mankins was asked the issue of acting on principle vs. playing football. “It was tough, but I don’t really think about that stuff a lot,” he said. “I do a little bit. Once you get into the routine of doing other things, it kind of makes it a little easier but I love football, and I wanted to be out there playing but we had some other things going on.”
Did Mankins regret his decision to hold out? “Maybe. Not right now,” he said. “But maybe down the road, I’ll look back and wish I didn’t, or maybe I’ll look back and be happy I did.”
“I’ve talked to everyone here,” Mankins said when asked if there were any leftover bad feelings with management.. “We’re all on the same page right now, so I don’t see that there should be any problems.”
Mankins said that contrary to popular belief, he spent his time off in New England, not on the West Coast. “Everyone thought I was in California,” he said. “I’ve been here since April. I’ve seen the guys all the time. We’ve played golf together. Went out together, ate together. That was the hardest part … being away from guys I truly like and like to be around.”
Below is the full transcript provided by the Patriots:
Q: Did you miss us?
Logan Mankins: Definitely.
Q: Seriously, not the full beard?
LM: No. Just a little Fu Manchu.
Q: Can you walk us through how you came back?
LM: It was just time. I had my reasons for the date that I came back, but I’m not going to explain them to everyone.
Q: What have you been doing?
LM: Hanging out. Playing a lot of golf. Hanging out with my family a lot. It was a good time to spend a lot of time with them.
Q: How have you been staying in shape?
LM: I’ve been training quite a bit so we’ll see today how it goes; see how good of shape I’m in.
Q: What football-related things do you do when you’re not with the team?
LM: Well, I’ve played football a long time and I’ve been through a lot of off seasons, so I took this offseason like I take every other one and I did all of the things that I’ve been taught through the years. I didn’t hit anyone or do anything like that, so that will all be new today.
Q: What were your emotions when you walked through the door for the first time?
LM: It was good. I’m happy to be back. I have a lot of friends here, a lot of guys I have a lot of respect for and love playing with, so it was good to see everyone again, and when I let a bunch of guys know the day before everyone was pretty happy I was coming back, so I knew I had a lot of support here.
Q: Are you anxious to see how you’re going to do at practice?
LM: Oh yeah. Anxious. Nervous. A little bit of everything. I haven’t done it in a while and everyone else has been doing it for a few months so I’m sure I’m behind and I have a long ways to go to catch up.
Q: Logan, how tough has it been for you to balance a business principle that you believe in versus your love for the game and wanting to be here?
LM: It was tough, but I don’t really think about that stuff a lot I guess. I do a little bit, but once you get in the routine of doing other things, it makes it a little easier. I love football and I wanted to be out there playing, but we had some other things going on. But now I’m back and ready to go.
Q: Do you see yourself playing here long term?
LM: I’m not going to comment on the past or the future. Right now I’m here to help the team, help them get ready for Cleveland, so that’s what I’m looking at right now.
Q: What are you expectations for how quickly you’ll be involved?
LM: [I have] no expectations at this moment. [I’m] taking it day by day and we’ll see how everything happens day by day.
Q: You missed seven games. Was it at all productive for you, staying away?
LM: I don’t know. We’ll find out.
Q: Did you get what you wanted from it?
LM: What I wanted from it? Not at the moment.
Q: Do you sense that there might be lingering bad feelings with management and you after this or now that it is settled is it forgotten about and are you just another guy trying to help the team?
LM: Yeah. I’ve talked to everyone here and we’re all on the same page right now, so I don’t see that there should be any problems right now.
Q: Did you watch [the games]?
LM: Yeah. I watched all of the games except the last one. I was busy trick or treating with my kids so I missed that one, and I wasn’t going to watch it on TiVo because I already knew who won.
Q: What do you think of the offensive line and how Dan Connolly has played without you?
LM: They’ve played great. They’ve had a lot of good games. I know one thing: I had a lot more faith in Dan Connolly than you guys did before the season started. Dan is a great friend of mind and he’s done a great job. It was fun watching him play and get the opportunity to play to prove to everyone that he could do it.
Q: When you watched the games this year, how much do you miss it?
LM: Yeah, you miss it. It’s a game. It’s fun. That’s why we play it. And you always miss something that you enjoy doing.
Q: Do you ever regret taking the stand that you did and having to miss those games?
LM: Not right now. Maybe down the road I’ll look back and wish I didn’t or maybe I’ll be happy I did. I don’t know. We’ll find out, though.
Q: What did you miss the most?
LM: The most? Being with the guys. Playing football. It’s pretty special to play football. You become really good friends with all of those guys. Any time you line up with someone and you see all of the work they put in and that you put in together and you go out there and do it together, that’s pretty special. So I miss doing that with these guys. I’m close with all of these guys. We’re all friends. Like everyone thought I was in California – I’ve been here since April. I’ve seen the guys all the time. We’ve played golf together, gone out together, ate together. So that was the hardest part: being away from guys that I truly like and like to be around.
Q: So you were local the whole time? You weren’t out west?
LM: Yeah. No.
Q: Tom [Brady] was saying how much you guys talk. Was his advice helpful?
LM: Yeah. Tom’s a great guy and he looks at things and really thinks about it and when you talk to Tom and you’re getting advice from Tom you always know it’s good advice because he’s really thinking about what he’s saying. He’s not telling you something [just] to say it. He’s actually putting thought into it.
Q: You could have come back three weeks from now and basically been in the same situation. Why now?
LM: That’s what I said earlier. I’m not getting into why I came back now. But I’m not looking at it as if I’m early. Actually I’m eight week late. So I’m not early.
Q: Did you get encouragement from inside here to come back now?
LM: I’m not going to get into it. It was just something that I felt like it was the time to come back.
Q: Was it principal or money?
LM: I’m not too worried about that right now. After the season is when that will come up. If you guys want to talk about money after the season –if you can find me— I’ll talk about it.