FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- At one point last year, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick made reference to the team losing its top three defensive linemen to injury -- Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly and Armond Armstead.
That Armstead was included in the mix was a reflection of how he was viewed by the coaching staff at this time last year. Media members, including this one, contributed to the buzz.
That’s why the former Southern Cal and Canadian Football League standout has been a player of interest in the Patriots’ 2014 offseason program after missing the entire '13 season with an infection. Armstead participated in practice on a limited basis during the first week of organized team activities (OTAs) but hasn’t been spotted on the field since. With his well-documented injury history, his absence has been particularly notable.
Head coach Bill Belichick, in a Tuesday morning news conference leading into the team’s mandatory three-day minicamp, played it coy when asked if there was any reason the team shouldn’t expect Armstead to be ready for action at some point.
“If we have anything on that, you’ll be the first to know,” he said, showing a rare willingness to give ESPN.com the scoop (wink, wink).
On a more serious note, Belichick was complimentary of Armstead’s work behind the scenes.
“Armond has really worked hard. He’s had a lot of adversity personally that he’s had to deal with, unusual compared to most other players," he said. "He’s always had a great attitude, worked hard, and really done everything we’ve asked him to do.”