NORTH ANDOVER — The Patriots start training camp in a little more than two weeks, but receiver Aaron Dobson wasn’t saying on Tuesday whether he’ll be ready to go.
“I don’t know, it’s hard to say,” Dobson said before meeting with kids taking part in a football camp Merrimack College. “I’m taking it one day at a time, rehabbing hard, just to get back out there as quick as I can.”
A second-round pick last year, Dobson underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot in early March, and wasn’t able to take part in the on-field sessions of the offseason program.
Bill Belichick has always said the offseason after a the rookie year is hugely important for players, and it was hard for the West Virginia native not to be a full participant.
“It’s frustrating but I’m just trying to stay humble and do what I can do to stay fresh on everything — still thinking about plays, upperbody lifting, core, everything that I can do that can help me benefit on the field while I was down, but like I said, I’m just trying to get better every day.”
That included lots of time in the classroom and film room, a place where Dobson’s having an easier time these days.
“In the film room it just feels different, being in there my second year, I just feel more comfortable so I’ve just got to build off what I left off last year,” he said. “Coming into this offense, it was definitely a lot, a lot thrown on a rookie’s shoulders to do, but I think I handled it pretty well, coming into my second year feeling more comfortable so I just have to build off that.”
He added that it wasn’t fun watching his teammates on the field and only being able to watch: “It’s definitely tough going through that, seeing them go out there and practice and I really can’t feel the vibe of practice, everything I’m watching is on film, no sound, no anything, so it was tough.
“But I just have to stay into it, stay into the playbook. I can’t find myself not paying attention, because I’m not on the field, so I had to learn from other people’s mistakes.”
Dobson said he was excited to be part of the Sports International camp and work with the young players. He got started in football when he was 6 or 7, and was eager to have some fun with the campers.
Saying the forced layoff has made him hungrier, Dobson is looking forward to the challenge of matching up against new Patriot Darrelle Revis.
“Just going from [Aqib] Talib last year and going to Revis this year, I feel like I’m in a great situation going against the best in the game doing it right now,” he said. “So I’m very excited to go against him this coming season.”Shalise Manza Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.