He's also not afraid to express his opinion off the field, and on Thursday, the straight-shooting Mankins gave a dose of his honest personality to a national reporter who asked if “Spygate” comments, like those from Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo on Twitter earlier this week, still get Mankins fired up.
"Nah, that was a long time ago," brushed off Mankins.
The reporter kept digging, asking if the reference "got under his skin at all."
"No, but you are," Mankins retorted, smiling.
There was a lighthearted element to the exchange -- it was hardly contentious -- but it still captured what Mankins is all about.
When the Patriots square off with the Ravens on Sunday with a trip to Super Bowl XLVII at stake, it will be sure to be a physical, spirited affair. Baltimore may have Ray Lewis as their fiery defensive leader, but New England will have Mankins in its corner.
"We're two emotional teams, so stuff happens out there," Mankins said. "You just always have to be smart about it. Any penalty just hurts your team, so you can take it a little ways. You just have to make sure you never take it too far."
But where does that edgy style of play come from?
"It's just who I am, I guess. That's the only way I know how to play," Mankins said. "I'm going to keep doing it until they tell us we can't."