Bruschi: Mankins' absence threatens Pats

When I was a kid, my favorite summer ritual was finding that first box of football cards on the local drugstore's candy shelf and cracking open a pack.

I had a reminiscent reaction Monday when I saw "Bruschi's Breakdown" is back for another season.

ESPNBoston.com reporter Mike Reiss and former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi reprised one of my favorite features with a 2010 training-camp preview.

Bruschi provides an inside look at what it's like to participate in camp, something he did 13 times before joining ESPN as an analyst.

But most interesting are Bruschi's comments specific to Patriots issues, including Tom Brady's contract situation, a defense with much to prove and unsigned Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins.

Says Bruschi:

"I don't remember anyone more serious about holding out than Logan is. His comments in the offseason were very strong, and Logan doesn't speak very often, so when he speaks he means the words he says. So when he says he is going to hold out until he gets something that he feels is fair, I believe him. The longer Logan Mankins holds out, the less effective this offense will be."

Bruschi explains he doesn't have much faith in Nick Kaczur as Mankins' replacement in terms of both size and technique. Kaczur is a career tackle.

We also learn Bruschi is going to try fantasy football for the first time this year. I wonder if he'll take a nose tackle in the first round.