FOXBOROUGH — Jerod Mayo doesn’t plan on resting much during the Patriots’ five-week break between the end of minicamp and the start of training camp.
Mayo said the true test of his recovery from a pectoral muscle tear will be when the Patriots throw on the pads during training camp.
Until then, the linebacker said, he will be pressing the gas pedal on his workouts, not pumping the brakes because of the healed muscle tear.
Entering his seventh year, Mayo, who tore the pectoral muscle against the Saints last Oct. 13 and missed the rest of the season, was fully cleared before OTAs and was at all three days of minicamp, which ended Thursday.
“I feel good,” Mayo said. “I don’t know if I’m fully healthy, no pads. Taking it one day at a time. Just trying to get a jump on things.”
The Patriots signed Mayo to a five-year contract extension in 2010, retaining one of their hardest workers and the quarterback of their defense through 2017. And though Mayo wasn’t suited up for the majority of last season, that doesn’t mean his presence wasn’t felt.
“Even when Jerod was injured last year, he was still around, he was still in meetings, he would still travel with the team, which shows you the type of guy he is, the type of leader he is,” said second-year cornerback Logan Ryan.
Without Mayo, who led the Patriots in tackles from 2008-12, a huge hole was left on the defense, forcing Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins to fill in. The duo combined for 140 tackles, a number Mayo has surpassed twice in his career — in 2010 with 175 and in 2012 with 147. The three will likely be the mainstays of the linebacking unit, with the veteran Mayo leading the way — fully healthy, he hopes.
“He understands that the team is bigger than he is and he’s still telling his backup how to get the job done,” Ryan said. “When one of your best players is one of your hardest workers, you’re doing the right thing. He’s a good guy to follow.”