FOXBOROUGH — Logan Mankins got tough working with his dad on a cattle ranch in California. Getting kicked by a steer was just part of the job.
And no reason to take a day off.
That upbringing helped prepare him for a profession that brought more serious pain, left guard for the New England Patriots. That couldn’t stop him either.
“I learned that kind of stuff from my dad and the kind of guys that he worked with,” Mankins said yesterday. “They’re all tough guys and they always took pride in never missing days of work and always being there, no matter what the circumstances were.”
So Mankins played the entire 2011 season with a torn ACL in his right knee suffered in the opener. Then he tore his left MCL in the divisional round but kept playing in the AFC championship game and the Super Bowl.
This season, he missed just one series after hurting his left ankle on Dec. 29 when he blocked on LeGarrette Blount’s 36-yard touchdown run in the Patriots’ 34-20 win over the Buffalo Bills.
Even coach Bill Belichick was surprised at Mankins’ speedy return after he was helped off the field by two Patriots personnel.
“I’ve coached a lot of tough guys,” Belichick said. “I don’t think there’s any that I would put ahead of him. Maybe some on that level, but none ahead.”
The Indianapolis Colts are about to find out.
Mankins is preparing to block them tomorrow night in an AFC divisional-round playoff game.
“They’ve got a good front seven,” he said. “They don’t mix it up too much but they do what they do and they do it well. They’ve got one of the most explosive players in the league in (Robert) Mathis (and) he can change the game at any moment if you let him.”