Talking football, hockey with Bruschi

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Some football chatter, and even a little hockey talk, from ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi at his SBLI football minicamp for 54 kids Tuesday at Gillette Stadium:

Thoughts on the Patriots’ informal workouts at Boston College. “It was around the same time when the [annual mandatory] three-day minicamp usually is, and they did it for three days, and then you say goodbye for your last little vacation. I don’t think there was any coincidence with that. We’ve had players in the past, here, that weren’t a part of offseason programs but they always came back for those three days. To have that participation they had for those three days, I think that kept it regular for them.”

The value of those informal workouts. “Talking to the guys, I think they got a lot out of it. It can be productive if you have guys that know what they’re doing that are arranging it. Tom [Brady] was that guy, Jerod [Mayo] was that guy, Vince [Wilfork] was that guy.”

On the NFL labor situation. “I’m getting optimistic and so are some of the guys, having talked to them. They’re hearing the same thing, it looks like a few weeks maybe, or something like that.”

What happens when an agreement is reached. “What’s the formula after that? There just can’t be an explosion of free agency, signing undrafted rookies, having to sign rookies [who were drafted to contracts]. There has to be some type of structure. That has to be worked out, because you would have football chaos if it wasn’t.”

The Patriots’ ‘advantage’ in the lockout. “There is a strong advantage. I think it’s obvious, to be comfortable with the system, with your coaching staff. I remember getting used to Pete Carroll, getting used to Coach Belichick, and it took a little bit of time with what [they] wanted and what was expected of me. Then learning the system they wanted to implement. There is a little bit of a process. How long does that take? Not having that, I think you’re ahead of the curve.”

Hosting his minicamp for the fourth year. “It’s a great camp for us. I’m sure it feels good for Jerod [Mayo] and Stephen [Gostkowski] also, to be on the field a little bit, since they haven’t been on the field in so long, since March. For the kids, they all had to do something to get here – write an essay on what’s important to them, goals, sports-oriented, and I think it’s good for them to get it down on paper so they know what the formula is to achieve what they want to achieve.”

Bill Belichick’s guest speech at the camp. “That was so great for him to do, a special treat for the kids.”

How he got Belichick to speak to the kids. “I’m not locked out [smiling], so I can walk through the locker room. I walked in, he was there, and I asked him. Coach said ‘Tedy, that’s easy, no problem.’ It was nice of him.”

Getting into the Bruins with their Stanley Cup run. “We’re watching. We saw that explosion [Monday] night in the first [period]. I’m still learning it a little bit. There was a hit earlier in the series when the guy didn’t have the puck and I was still wrapping my head [around] not being able to hit someone that doesn’t have the puck. In football, if you’re running around and not looking, you’re going to get hit. Learning those rules is something I’m still doing.”

On a Game 7 of the Cup finals, a long trip, and what it’s like playing in a hostile environment. “We sort of enjoyed it. We enjoyed that you’d get the insults from the stands, and it was ‘this is all we got in the locker room, this is all we need.’ You really rally around that at times. How does a cross country trip affect you? I know coming back from Africa how that can be, so I’m sure that’s one aspect of it. Just the guys in the locker room, focusing on who you have, it was ‘everybody’s against us, everybody doesn’t think we can do it, so let’s just shove it in their face and do it anyway.’ That’s what we always grasped.”