Preparing for new game plan

BOSTON -- While the threat of a lockout hovers over the National Football League, Patriots players expressed hope that an agreement will be reached, while joking about their plans should owners close their doors on them.

"I'm going to work out in my basement, with my Bowflex," Pro Bowl linebacker Jerod Mayo cracked Thursday afternoon during a charity appearance at Children's Hospital Boston.

In reality, Mayo plans to work out at a local gym should owners lock players out, a decision that could come as early as midnight as the current collective bargaining agreement expires.

Mayo acknowledged it would be strange to not be allowed inside Gillette Stadium. Instead of studying film at the stadium, he'll instead do so at home. At the same time, he will be keeping a close eye on his checkbook.

"You try to conserve your money and your spending, and try to wait it out," said Mayo, who enters his fourth NFL season in 2011. "Hopefully guys have been smart and are prepared for this."

The 25-year-old Mayo, who will still spend the offseason in Massachusetts, was surprised when he looked at health-care alternatives.

"I finally found out how expensive it is, especially when you have a family," he said. "At the same time, you need it, and hopefully we'll get through this."

Mayo plans to work out with fellow linebacker Rob Ninkovich regardless of how things unfold in the labor dispute. Ninkovich wasn't planning on staying up late to see if players are locked out after tonight's midnight deadline.

"I guess right now we'll just wait and see what happens," said the 26-year-old Ninkovich, who enters his sixth NFL season. "If it happens, it happens. If not, it will be like a regular day tomorrow for me; I'll get up and work out [at the stadium]. Nothing too different."

Another impact of a potential lockout is that injured players will no longer be under the supervision of teams' medical staffs.
Cornerback Leigh Bodden, who is still rehabilitating from a shoulder injury that sidelined him throughout the 2010 season, falls into that category.

"I'm just [training] for the offseason, trying to get this shoulder right, which it is," he said. "We have a pamphlet with our workouts and that's what I'm going to do."

Bodden said he's been preparing since his rookie year for the possibility of not having an income. He comes from more modest roots as a player who entered the NFL as a rookie free agent.

"When I was young, I saved every penny I had to get what I wanted," he said. "It's no different now that I'm 29. I'm fine with whatever happens."

Mike Reiss covers the New England Patriots for ESPN Boston. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.