Bare walls, clean slate at Gillette

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In the process of a little spring cleaning, the New England Patriots might have unintentionally stumbled upon a mantra for the 2010 season and it centers around not dwelling on past success.

During the offseason, the team began removing pictures and mementos from the team's victories, including three Super Bowl seasons, that have accumulated since the Patriots moved into their new facilities at Gillette Stadium following the first of those titles in 2002. The now-bare walls, once adorned with celebratory shots of Tedy Bruschi, Troy Brown, and Rodney Harrison, immediately resonated with players and staff.

Intentional or not, the bare walls sent a message that nothing short of taking a bulldozer to the Hall at Patriot Place could have provided.

For a team now facing a six-year championship drought, a team that hasn't won a playoff game in two seasons, and a team that's no longer assumed to dominate its own division, it's time to rebuild New England's reputation as a championship franchise.

A new year, a clean slate.

"Whatever the organization wants to do to motivate, by all means, go ahead," said defensive tackle Ty Warren, a member of two of those championship teams. "[The pictures] really don't have anything to do with coming out here and defending the run, playing the pass, completing a pass, or anything like that. That's life. You gotta come out here and do that."

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