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Paul Petrino says Mallett is in “great shape”

Ryan Mallett

New England Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett stretches during practice on Friday, Feb. 3, 2012, in Indianapolis. The Patriots are scheduled to face the New York Giants in NFL football Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


[Editor’s note: An earlier version of this item incorrectly attributed the quotes about Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett to former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino. Actually, the comments are from Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino. And so: (1) we apologize for the error; (2) the article has been revised accordingly; (3) there’s two of them?; and (4) since it wasn’t Bobby, the comments arguably are more inherently credible.]

One of the most talked-about 2011 draft prospects has become one of the most-forgotten quarterbacks in the league. But maybe he shouldn’t be.

Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett has received a glowing endorsement from his former college offensive coordinator, Paul Petrino.

He’s really down in weight,” Petrino told Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, regarding Mallett. “He looks in great shape. He looks like he’s keeping himself in great shape because he still comes around here quite a bit. Obviously, I think he’s matured a ton, and I think that happened a lot while he was here. I think his upside is going to be very, very high. He’s just got to hang in there and keep learning, keep learning from the best and some day when you get your shot, you’ve got to make it work.”

Mallett nevertheless remains stuck at No. 3 on the depth chart. He’ll get a chance during the preseason to try to leapfrog backup Brian Hoyer (who could be shipped elsewhere), or to otherwise develop Mallett’s overall skills against NFL-caliber competition. Barring a trade, Mallett has three more years until he can go somewhere where he can compete for a chance to play.

Still, by next year if not sooner, Mallett could be one Bernard Pollard hit to Tom Brady’s lower left leg away from becoming the next Matt Cassel.