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Patriots: Dan Connolly, Tom Brady among team captains for 2014 season

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The New England Patriots named the team captions for the 2014 NFL season on Wednesday. ESPN’s Field Yates revealed a list that had one surprise on it. With the departure of previous captain Logan Mankins, veteran offensive lineman Dan Connolly will step in to fill the role.

Connolly is a surprise because he was rumored to have been on the bubble to even make the team because of his $4 million salary. As one of the veteran guys on the offensive line, Connolly will be asked to fill the leadership void left by Mankins. His versatility on the offensive line and hard work were the main reasons he was selected as a team captain. Those attributes landed him high praise from head coach Bill Belichick.

“Dan’s had a really good year,” Belichick said at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday. “He had a real good spring, good training camp, been out there everyday. He’s been a versatile guy, as he always has. He’s always been able to play all three spots as well as the kicking game. He’s a sharp guy, works hard and had a good offseason. He was able to trail all offseason. He’s done a solid job for us at really a number of positions.”

The rest of the team captains named weren’t surprising. Quarterback Tom Brady, linebacker Jerod Mayo, defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, safety Devin McCourty and special-teamer Matthew Slater were named captains. Wilfork and Mayo will be returning off season-ending injuries.