The New England Patriots held their mandatory minicamp on Tuesday. A welcomed sight on the field was veteran defensive tackle Tommy Kelly. After missing the majority of the season with a torn ACL, the 11-year veteran is glad to be back in action and looking forward to once again playing alongside Vince Wilfork.
Kelly suffered his injury on Oct. 6, a week after the team lost Wilfork to a ruptured Achilles, which made Kelly’s injury even more devastating for a team that suddenly became thin at the position. The Patriots had to plug in some young players to fill in for both Wilfork and Kelly, but now that both are back, the team will have some depth and experience, especially if both are healthy.
The veteran defensive tackle expressed his disappointment with both players going down with injuries. He said, “I knew coming into the process that (Wilfork) was really durable and that I was durable in my career. But when you both go down in back-to-back weeks, it’s kind of a blow.”
It was definitely a blow to Bill Belichick and his defense as the 6-foot-6, 310-pound Kelly really showed why he was an asset before he went down with his injury. He was stout against the run and was also able to provide some pressure on the quarterback up the middle. The usually durable Kelly said after practice, “I feel fine, it’s just getting back to making moves and knocking the rust off. I’m not too much worried about my knee.”
Before Kelly was placed on the season-ending injured reserve, he did try to play through the injury, but just wasn’t able to give it a go. Now anxious to get back on the field, Kelly is also enthusiastic about teaming up with Wilfork again. This time he hopes both will be able to play out the season together. He is also happy to see the defensive captain making great strides with his own injury.
“Pretty much what I know of V, I think V is going to be all right. He’s a very hard worker and he’s the type of person that once he commits his mind to something, he’s going to get it down. I don’t think we should worry too much about him. He’s going to be OK.”