Patriots

Jerod Mayo details how he uses social media to motivate Patriots linebackers

Jerod Mayo details how he uses social media to motivate Patriots linebackers

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is notoriously averse to social media.

But that doesn't mean his assistants can't hop on Instagram every once in a while.

Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo has done exactly that, frequently posting motivational and thought-provoking messages to his Instagram story throughout his first season as an NFL assistant.

Turns out those posts aren't just for cheap likes. During a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Mayo admitted to our Phil Perry that he uses the messages in part to motivate the Patriots' linebacking corps.

"I read a lot. Sometimes people need those nuggets," Mayo said. "I don’t like to post about just things, material things. I just like to drop little nuggets of wisdom, and I’m hopeful, honestly, that my linebackers see those posts. It definitely helps motivate me."

Whatever Mayo is doing to motivate New England's linebackers, it's working: The "Boogeymen" arguably have been the best linebacking corps in the NFL through nine games, with Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy playing some of the best football of their careers.

That group is being tested amid the Patriots' toughest stretch of the season -- five straight games against NFL playoff hopefuls -- but Mayo hopes his social media messages can play a small part in keeping morale high.

"The season is long. Sometimes you need those words of encouragement," Mayo added. "It’s definitely an up-and-down season, even though we’re sitting here at 8-1. Sometimes you’ve got to take a step back and realize that, and some of those quotes helps with that."

Credit Mayo for utilizing a tool that was much less relevant when he played in New England from 2008 to 2015. Mayo has seen first-hand how social media has changed NFL locker room dynamics -- to an extent.

"I remember when I first came into the league, you think about the room: Junior Seau, Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi -- guys who had flip phones," Mayo said. " ... They weren’t even really thinking about social media. So, when you would go in the locker room, I would say that just the overall vibe, you were in there playing cards and things like that.

"Now, the younger generation, they’re checking their social media and things like that. But I think the players around here do a good job, when they’re in the building, really focusing on football."

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WATCH: Cam Newton, N'Keal Harry meet for first workout as Patriots teammates

WATCH: Cam Newton, N'Keal Harry meet for first workout as Patriots teammates

Cam Newton is wasting no time getting to know his New England Patriots wide receivers.

The new Patriots quarterback, who officially signed a one-contract with the team Wednesday, linked up with wideout Mohamed Sanu last week for a few throwing sessions in Los Angeles.

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This Wednesday, it was N'Keal Harry's turn to catch passes from Newton, according to Boston.com, which obtained video of the duo's L.A. workout from EBA Sports.

The video shows Newton meeting Harry for the first time as a member of the Patriots before throwing the second-year receiver a handful of passes.

Newton and Harry worked out together for about two hours and were later joined by Cleveland Browns star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., per Boston.com.

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Harry has been working hard this offseason to improve his game after a disappointing rookie campaign. The Patriots' 2019 first-round pick appeared in just seven games last season due to a nagging ankle injury, catching 12 passes on 24 targets for 105 yards and two touchdowns.

It's encouraging to see the 22-year-old on the practice field with Newton, who's aiming to bounce back from his own foot injury that limited him to two games in 2019.

Newton will have to beat out second-year QB Jarrett Stidham for the starting job, and it appears he's eager to get started while developing chemistry with his new pass-catchers.

Is Antonio Brown still angling for Patriots return despite Tom Brady's exit?

Is Antonio Brown still angling for Patriots return despite Tom Brady's exit?

Wherever Tom Brady goes, Antonio Brown will try to follow. That was the expectation, anyway.

But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reportedly aren't interested in signing the free agent wide receiver, who is under NFL investigation for multiple allegations of sexual assault and misconduct and has yet to be cleared to play in 2020.

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So, might Brown try to return to the team he last played for instead? The wideout raised a few eyebrows Wednesday by posting an Instagram photo of himself in a New England Patriots uniform with an alarm emoji as the caption.

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Either Brown is in a nostalgic mood, or he's sending a signal to the Patriots that he wants to return to New England.

Patriots running back Brandon Bolden replied to Brown's post with three 😤 (snorting) emojis, so perhaps he wouldn't mind this development.

While Brady is long gone, Brown may be intrigued by teaming up with new Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, who's aiming to return to Pro Bowl form in 2020 after an injury-shortened 2019 season.

Brown's post also could be another attempt to keep his name in the NFL conversation, as the 31-year-old has done throughout the offseason by posting workout videos and photos and film clips of his past accomplishments.

It seems unlikely the Patriots would re-sign Brown considering he lasted less than two weeks with the team last September, but we suppose you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.