BOSTON (CBS) – It’s pretty well documented that Patriots left guard Logan Mankins is one tough cookie.

Mankins played most of the 2011 season with a torn ACL in his right knee but never let it slow him down, earning him a reputation of being one of the toughest players in the league.

So when the 31-year-old left in the second half of Sunday’s 34-20 win over the Buffalo Bills, you had a feeling it would take more than just your normal in-game ding to bring him to the New England locker room.

But it didn’t take long for that concern on the sideline to go away. Just one series after his departure, head athletic trainer Jim Whelan went over to head coach Bill Belichick and told him the Pro Bowler would be back out there the next time Tom Brady and the rest of the offense took the field.

Belichick was left to shake his head once again at the toughness of Mankins.

“I was a little bit surprised to hear that,” Belichick said on Monday of Mankins’ quick return to the field. “He’s a tough individual, tough-minded, physically and mentally tough. I think we have a lot of that on our team but certainly he along with really all of our captains – Tom has a lot of toughness and obviously Logan and [Matthew] Slater has played all year, most of the year with the broken thumb and all that. Devin [McCourty], Rob Ninkovich, they’re all very physically and mentally tough guys. They’ve given us a lot of leadership and a lot of toughness but Logan certainly gave us a lot yesterday. It was an incredible performance.”

Brady spoke about Mankins’ toughness after the game, putting him at the top of his list when it comes to tough athletes.

“There’s nobody tougher than Logan Mankins,” Brady said, “so you know when he’s getting helped up, you know he’s not feeling good. But he fought through it. There’s nobody that I’ve every played with that is as tough as him. He’s right up there – Matt Light was so tough, [Joe] Andruzzi, but Logan is second to none.”

“I agree with Tom in terms of toughness,” Belichick said on Monday. “I’ve coached a lot of tough guys. I don’t think there’s any that I would put ahead of him; maybe some on that level but none ahead. Anytime Logan needs help getting off the field, you feel like it’s something serious. Usually he ends up just staying out there but for him to need assistance getting off the field was definitely a concerning moment.”

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Josh Kline took over for Mankins for that one series, and ending up finishing the game for Mankins after the Patriots built up their lead over Buffalo. As expected, Belichick didn’t have an update on Mankins’ health on Monday, but the extra week off thanks to New England’s first-round playoff bye will go a long way for Mankins and the rest of the injured Patriots.

“I don’t have any information on the going forward part of it. That’s always part of the whole post-game process, which we’ll see how all of that plays out,” said Belichick.

“I just can’t say enough about the performance that he gave us yesterday, especially after being helped off the field,” he said, praising Mankins one final time.


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