Patriots' Mayo still "The Man"

Patriots' Mayo still "The Man"
December 8, 2011, 11:03 am
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Through the years, you never know who will cross your path during the course of a game week.Two weeks ago in Seattle, I made the flight west on Thanksgiving Night to spend an entire day after with one of two people I stay in touch with from college. When the Patriots visit the Redskins, Ill get to see Jerod Mayo play a regular season game in-person for the first time.Eight years ago, as a high school sports reporter for the Newport News (Va.) Daily News, my choice as Defensive Player of the Year for football was Mayo.As a linebacker for Kecoughtan High School in Hampton, Va., Mayo made 110 tackles and also rushed 1,247 yards as a running back.For the photo shoot, he showed up with SpongeBob Square Pants back-pack.Back then, he said: I can wear it around here because Im the big man. Next year in college, Ill be back down to a regular guy again.It wasnt too long before Mayo was back to being The Man. He surprised the locals by spurning Virginia Tech and Virginia to attend Tennessee. He excelled there and was a first-round pick by the Patriots.For the Patriots, Mayo was an immediate starter. He led the NFL with 193 tackles last year and leads the team with 67 tackles this season.