Bill Belichick has revealed who the New England Patriots key player is and the result may just surprise you. The long time Pats coach didn't choose franchise quarterback Tom Brady as most would expect, no, the honour went to linebacker Jerod Mayo.
The 28-year old former Tennessee Vol was one of a handful of key players that fell victim to the injury epidemic that swept through New England last year. Mayo tore his pectoral muscle in week 6 of the 2013 season that ruled him out for the rest of the Pats campaign.
Revolves Around Mayo
Mayo was cleared for training camps today and speaking to reporters this morning, Belichick made it known just how big that would be for his side.
"I think he means a lot to our team," Belichick said this morning. "He's really the guy that the team probably revolves around more than any other player. Not that there aren't other players that are instrumental in that, but I think he touches pretty much everybody."
Best Team Leader
The head coach focused not only on Mayo's ability on the field but his importance in the locker room, calling the seven-year pro and former two-time Pro Bowler a "glue-chemistry guy."
"Not just the defensive players, but all of the guys," Belichick said of Mayo's leadership. "Not just the older guys, but the younger guys. When he was captain in his second year, he had a relationship with other guys. ...He's as well respected as any player in the locker room. One of the best overall team leaders, players."
Mayo won the AP NFL defensive rookie of the year in 2008 and since then, the 6ft 1in, 250lb defender has continued to improve into one of the best linebackers in the league. He was a 1st round pick - 10th overall - in 2008 and has been named to the Pro Bowl in 2010 and 2012 as well as being an All-Pro in 2010.