FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots’ first mandatory practice of minicamp was an uneventful one for fourth-year linebacker Brandon Spikes, who participated in just a handful of drills after being the lone no-show for voluntary workouts.
However, his session with the media following the workout was a bit more interesting.
Spikes passed on the opening eight weeks of team workouts, and chose instead to spend his time training at a private center in Florida.
“Honestly, I just felt like I was trying to put myself in the best position to compete for a spot on the team and also help this team win a championship,” Spikes said.
“I mean you guys know me. I frequently do things a little bit different from everybody else,” he continued. “I don’t think they’re bad, or a shocker. Honestly, if everybody in the world was a conformist, it would be one boring place.”
Spikes said he remained in contact with several of his teammates in order to avoid falling too far behind.
“I’ve been making sure that things weren’t changing in the meeting room and stuff like that,” he said. “I just wanted to stay on top of my game and when I do stuff on my own I normally do better and [am able to] be productive that way.“
The 25-year-old said he was “ready to go” after using the offseason to rehab from a knee injury.
Spikes — who is in the final year of his rookie contract — had 92 tackles, 1 sack, and 5 forced fumbles in 15 games (14 starts) last season. His absence from the OTAs doesn’t appear to be contract related.
Asked if he was upset with his current situation, Spikes responded, “You know I can’t speak on that. Why would you ask me that? No comment, guys.”
However, he did go on to say he would not be a holdout when training camp begins around the end of July.
Whether the coaching staff has a problem with the absence of the inside linebacker was not immediately clear. However, coach Bill Belichick did make a point to bring up the team attendance.
“All of our players except one have been here regularly through the offseason up until this week,” Belichick said.
Spikes managed to fly relatively under the radar on Tuesday, thanks in large part to hoopla caused by the arrival of his former college teammate, quarterback Tim Tebow.
“I was happy for him [when I heard he’d been signed],” Spikes said. “He got to get his job back and come out here and compete. So that’s good to see him smile, you know that big smile I’m used to seeing for the last few years down in Florida.”
Asked about the distraction that could come with bringing in a player of Tebow’s stature, Spikes responded, “Honestly, I don’t pay attention to that type of stuff. I’m just about winning ballgames and everything else is irrelevant.
“[Tim’s] a hard worker, a competitor, and he loves the game and you need guys like that.”
Ryan weighs in
Jets coach Rex Ryan spoke to the media regarding the Patriots signing of Tebow. He opened with a zing and then backtracked a bit. “If they want to replace [Tom] Brady with him, that’s fine,” Ryan said. “It’s not a surprise to me that Tim would be picked up. Obviously, as I said before, you know, tremendous young man. Very competitive. So, I’m happy for him, and look forward to competing against him.” . . . The Patriots continue to search for talent at wide receiver, and held a private workout for former Colts receiver Austin Collie before minicamp practice, a league source told the Globe. Collie, 27, is trying to get his career back on track after suffering a torn patellar tendon in his right knee Sept. 24, ending his 2012 season with just one catch for 6 yards. Collie was cleared by doctors last week to return to football activities, and left New England without a contract offer. A 2009 fourth-round pick out of BYU, Collie had 172 catches for 1,839 yards and 16 touchdowns in his first three NFL seasons, all with the Colts.
Speaking for the first time since having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip, Texans safety Ed Reed expressed an interesting theory as to when he suffered the tear. “Only play I can look at is when I got kicked by a certain quarterback but even then I played in the Super Bowl and you saw what happened there,” Reed told the Houston Chronicle. The kick in question came during the AFC Championship game against the Ravens back in January, when Brady raised his foot as he went into a slide. The NFL investigated the incident . . . After being carted off the field during last week’s OTAs, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was on the field on Tuesday . . . Running back Brandon Bolden, who was not present for any of the media attended OTAs due to a sprained ankle, was back on the field as well.
Rookie wide receiver Aaron Dobson said he’s adjusting well to the NFL. “Everything’s going good,” said the 6-foot-3-inch second-round pick (59th overall). “It’s fun to be out here . . . I’m just taking it day-by-day trying to get comfortable with the system.” Given the difficulties in picking up the playbook experienced by former New England receivers, Dobson was asked how things were progressing. “I’m definitely becoming accustomed to [the playbook],” he said. “You’ve just got to stay in and study it and just get to know it really . . . It’s a lot of information.” As far as Dobson becoming acquainted with quarterback Brady? “[Tom and the wide receivers] just talk a little bit after practice and we just all try to get on the same page,” Dobson said. “It takes time. You’ve got to run routes with him, you know, just play some throw and catch.” . . . Quarterback Mike Kafka, who was waved by the Patriots in order to clear a roster spot for Tebow, became the fourth New England player cut this offseason to be brought in by the Jaguars. Kafka joins Kyle Love, Brandon Deaderick, and Jeremy Ebert . . . Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, along with one of his assistants, was on the sideline during the workout.
Shalise Manza Young and Ben Volin of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Shalise Manza Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on twitter @shalisemyoung. Ben Volin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on twitter @BenVolin.