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Patriots call audible and keep Jerod Mayo's No. 51 out of circulation

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- As a rookie with the New England Patriots, linebacker Elandon Roberts knows Bill Belichick's expectations: take what's given to him, don't ask questions, and put in an honest day's work.

So as he arrived for his first in-person media availability on Thursday, and was donning No. 52 instead of the No. 51 that was initially assigned to him, Roberts didn't appear comfortable providing an answer as to the reason for the switch.

But his facial expression -- a smile from cheek to cheek -- said it all.

It was apparently too early for anyone in the organization to wear Jerod Mayo's old No. 51, a point that Roberts (who donned No. 44 at the University of Houston) seemed to acknowledge when asked if he knew about Mayo and then flashed the smile.

"I don't ask questions, I just do what I'm asked to do, and whatever number they put me in is great with me," he said.

It was the respectful answer on a Patriots decision that shows respect to the career of Mayo, the 2008 first-round draft choice who announced his retirement earlier this offseason.