<
>

Mankins, Connolly team up to train

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots offensive linemen Logan Mankins and Dan Connolly have teamed up when it comes to offseason training, which has brought them back to their roots in a sense.

“It’s been a good partnership right now,” Mankins said Thursday at Gillette Stadium. “In years past, I had surgeries, he had surgeries, we had the whole lockout thing. We used to [train] a long time ago until certain things changed that, so this year was nice to get back together.”

Mankins, of course, is the starting left guard and team captain who has been with the club since 2005. Connolly, who first joined the Patriots in 2007, has been the team’s starting right guard the past two seasons.

“We meet every morning at a certain time and get after it for a few hours then go home. It’s always nice to have someone to work out with, especially at your own position, that you are working on the same things,” Mankins said. “We’ve been pushing each other and it’s been working out well.”

The training is “grunt work and big boys in there throwing around weights”, according to Mankins, who expects more running next week when more teammates join as part of the voluntary offseason program.

With center Ryan Wendell signing a two-year deal in late March, he’s since joined the workouts at Gillette, while veteran offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer and youngsters Jordan Devey (tackle) and Chris Barker (center/guard) have been regulars at the facility as well.

Vollmer is coming off a broken leg/ankle sustained Oct. 27 in a game against the Miami Dolphins.

“He looks good right now, too. I don’t know his whole update right now, but he looks good and I know he’s working hard,” he said. “There’s good promise there.”

Mankins is ready for the Patriots’ voluntary offseason program starting Monday.

“I look forward to seeing everyone get back and everyone getting to work together finally,” he said. “It’s always exciting, kind of like your first day back at school, I guess. You get to see everyone after the break, get to catch up with some friends you haven’t seen too much of lately, and get to work together, push each other, and see if other guys have been working as hard as you have.”