"Let's get things straight. Me and Mr. Kraft never had a problem. I never said he lied," Mankins told reporters. "When I said the organization, I never said he did. So let's get that straight right now. Me and Mr. Kraft never had a problem. We've talked last offseason, we've talked last season, we've talked this offseason, we've talked in training camp, so everything is good between me and him."
Mankins was referring to remarks he made to ESPNBoston.com in June 2010, when he felt as though the Patriots weren't being true to their word regarding a long-term extension.
"After the 2008 season, me and my agent approached the Patriots about an extension and I was told that Mr. Kraft did not want to do an extension because of the [uncertain collective bargaining agreement]," Mankins had said in June 2010. "I was asked to play '09 out, and that they would address the contract during the uncapped year. I'm a team player, I took them at their word, and I felt I played out an undervalued contract.
"That's the big thing. Right now, this is about principle with me and keeping your word and how you treat people. This is what I thought the foundation of the Patriots was built on. Apparently, I was wrong. Growing up, I was taught a man's word is his bond. Obviously this isn't the case with the Patriots."
At that time Mankins was unhappy with the Patriots' decision to offer him a one-year, $3.26 million tender, and he requested a trade. He ultimately didn't report until the eighth game last season in a bitter dispute with the Patriots, who
sliced his tender to $1.54 million, which was prorated over the final nine games of the season.
Mankins said Thursday that he was happy to be back with the team in 2011. When asked why he decided to sign his $10.1 million franchise tender so quickly, he said, "I figured I'm getting paid a lot of money this year, I should put in a full year."
When it comes to a potential longer contract, Mankins said, "This year I'm putting everything behind me. I'm going to try to have a good year, help the team, and if I play good, things will take care of themselves."
An extension with the Patriots is a possibility. The sides have until Sept. 20 to work out a long-term contract, per the new labor deal.
"Oh yeah, there's always a chance. I've talked to the coaches, ownership, everyone. We're all on the same page. We'll just see what happens," Mankins said.
At the same time, Mankins said he understands "it's a business more now than ever."
Mankins was one of 10 named plaintiffs in the players' antitrust lawsuit against the league, which was officially settled with Thursday's ratification of the new collective bargaining agreement.
Mankins, 29, was a first-round draft pick of the Patriots in 2005. He has been to three Pro Bowls, including 2010, despite the holdout.
ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.