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A model citizen

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - It's hard to keep Jerod Mayo still, even if only for a couple of seconds.

On the football field, the Patriots linebacker spends most of his time flying after and dragging down opposing quarterbacks and running backs. During the offseason — when you think he might slow down some — Mayo constantly keeps busy, watching film and working out at Gillette Stadium.

Mayo's the type of person that you get the feeling doesn't take much solace in down time. He'd probably work through a vacation.

That's why it was so rare to see him, stopped dead in his tracks in a photographer's frame on Tuesday. The former Defensive Rookie of the Year spent his afternoon volunteering his time as a spokesperson for a host of United Way initiatives. Reciting lines for a public service announcement and lending his toothy grin to a photo shoot, Mayo breathed a sigh of relief when the lights went out and he could step out of the frame.

"I have a new respect for models," Mayo said. "It was real tough, standing on one leg and taking a lot of pictures. My cheeks kind of hurt from smiling too much."

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]()Tuesday's activities were part of Mayo's involvement with the United Way. The taped public service announcement was part of the United Way of New Hampshire's partnership with the 2-1-1 information line, which helps to provide access to essential services for families in need.

Looking forward to his third season in the NFL, Mayo only sees the potential for improvement - in his game and in his contributions to the surrounding community.

The Virginia native spends most of the offseason at his Massachusetts home so he can make the short commute to Gillette Stadium, where he works out under the guidance of team trainers and has game film for study available at his fingertips.

"Ever since I was drafted by the New England Patriots, I've spent a lot of time up here just working out, trying to get better," Mayo said. "I feel like I can get so much better as far as being a football player and as far as giving back to the community. That's what it's all about. I figure I can make a bigger impact here than I can back in Tennessee or back in Virginia because I'm always here."

From the time Mayo arrived in New England, he has made his presence felt on the field. Mayo led the team in tackles as a rookie (139) and followed with a team-high 113 stops in 2009, despite missing three games. His increased comfort on the football field has helped him devote more time to endeavors off it.

"When you get here as a rookie, you just want to play football and hope that the coach doesn't yell at you every day," Mayo said. "I think now I'm becoming a little more comfortable as far as being in the community and trying to put my face out there and trying to help as many people as I can in the world while I'm playing."

Mayo cited the example former teammate Tedy Bruschi set at the linebacker position and in the community as an inspiration.

"Filling a guy like Tedy Bruschi's shoes is tough. Every bad thing that happened to Tedy, he turned around and made it a good thing, as far as his stroke and losing games. He always turned them into a positive. I still maintain a relationship with Tedy now. I would like to someday have the same type of impact that Tedy Bruschi had on this community.

"It'll take many years to do, but it's definitely a goal."

As Mayo has grown on the field, he has dedicated more attention to his charitable efforts. He's established his own foundation, which sponsors a mobile trailer in Tennessee that is filled with computer stations with the intention of introducing schoolchildren to technology. The after-school program also includes soccer and study activities. In addition, he will host the first "Mayo Bowl" fundraiser on March 25 to benefit Pitching in for Kids.

[

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]()Akin to his mother's philosophy, which Mayo seems to take to heart, he believes the more kids do, the more they'll achieve and the less likely they'll be to fall into trouble.

"[The goal] pretty much is to keep kids occupied," Mayo said. "Growing up, my mom always tried to keep us occupied and keep us out of trouble. Anything to help the kids … With these economic times, it's really tough and it really affects children."

Mayo has kept his lifelong commitment to staying busy.

The other day he was running on the treadmill when he glanced up at the TV monitor above him and noticed former Tennessee teammate safety Eric Berry about to run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

"I said a quick prayer for him before he ran," Mayo said. "He did a pretty good job. I think he ran a four-four-six on the first one and a four-four-zero on the second one."

Keeping tabs on former teammates, too, there's no rest for the weary.

]()Tuesday's activities were part of Mayo's involvement with the United Way. The taped public service announcement was part of the United Way of New Hampshire's partnership with the 2-1-1 information line, which helps to provide access to essential services for families in need.

Looking forward to his third season in the NFL, Mayo only sees the potential for improvement - in his game and in his contributions to the surrounding community.

The Virginia native spends most of the offseason at his Massachusetts home so he can make the short commute to Gillette Stadium, where he works out under the guidance of team trainers and has game film for study available at his fingertips.

"Ever since I was drafted by the New England Patriots, I've spent a lot of time up here just working out, trying to get better," Mayo said. "I feel like I can get so much better as far as being a football player and as far as giving back to the community. That's what it's all about. I figure I can make a bigger impact here than I can back in Tennessee or back in Virginia because I'm always here."

From the time Mayo arrived in New England, he has made his presence felt on the field. Mayo led the team in tackles as a rookie (139) and followed with a team-high 113 stops in 2009, despite missing three games. His increased comfort on the football field has helped him devote more time to endeavors off it.

"When you get here as a rookie, you just want to play football and hope that the coach doesn't yell at you every day," Mayo said. "I think now I'm becoming a little more comfortable as far as being in the community and trying to put my face out there and trying to help as many people as I can in the world while I'm playing."

Mayo cited the example former teammate Tedy Bruschi set at the linebacker position and in the community as an inspiration.

"Filling a guy like Tedy Bruschi's shoes is tough. Every bad thing that happened to Tedy, he turned around and made it a good thing, as far as his stroke and losing games. He always turned them into a positive. I still maintain a relationship with Tedy now. I would like to someday have the same type of impact that Tedy Bruschi had on this community.

"It'll take many years to do, but it's definitely a goal."

As Mayo has grown on the field, he has dedicated more attention to his charitable efforts. He's established his own foundation, which sponsors a mobile trailer in Tennessee that is filled with computer stations with the intention of introducing schoolchildren to technology. The after-school program also includes soccer and study activities. In addition, he will host the first "Mayo Bowl" fundraiser on March 25 to benefit Pitching in for Kids.

[

img_2611.jpg

]()Akin to his mother's philosophy, which Mayo seems to take to heart, he believes the more kids do, the more they'll achieve and the less likely they'll be to fall into trouble.

"[The goal] pretty much is to keep kids occupied," Mayo said. "Growing up, my mom always tried to keep us occupied and keep us out of trouble. Anything to help the kids … With these economic times, it's really tough and it really affects children."

Mayo has kept his lifelong commitment to staying busy.

The other day he was running on the treadmill when he glanced up at the TV monitor above him and noticed former Tennessee teammate safety Eric Berry about to run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

"I said a quick prayer for him before he ran," Mayo said. "He did a pretty good job. I think he ran a four-four-six on the first one and a four-four-zero on the second one."

Keeping tabs on former teammates, too, there's no rest for the weary.

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