Mohamed Sanu’s first half-season as a member of the New England Patriots was a disappointment. The veteran receiver, who was acquired in exchange for a second-round draft pick from the Atlanta Falcons ahead of last October’s trade deadline, showed immense promise during his first two games with the club but was limited through the rest of the season after spraining his ankle on a punt return in Week 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Preparing for his first full campaign with the club, however, his attention is on what lies ahead rather than what happened last year.
“I’m not really focused on last year anymore,” the veteran wide receiver told reporters during a media conference call following Tuesday’s training camp practice. “I’m just focusing on right now and this camp and this season. Just stacking each day. Trying to get better at the little details, little things. Last year was last year. I’m just leaving it over there.”
Sanu missed only one game because of his ankle injury, but failed to move the needle for New England’s struggling passing offense moving forward — despite seeing regular action as the team’s number two wide receiver behind Julian Edelman. He eventually ended the season having played 61.3% of the Patriots’ offensive between his arrival in Week 8 and the team’s playoff departure on wild card weekend, and having caught 27 passes for a combined 218 yards and a touchdown.
Following the season, he had to undergo surgery on his ankle. Despite the procedure and the changes to offseason protocols due to the Coronavirus pandemic, however, Sanu was actively involved in spring. Not only did he participate in throwing sessions with the Patriots’ new-look quarterback room — he worked with both Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer in Massachusetts, and with Cam Newton in California — he also enlisted personal coach Drew Lieberman to help him bounce back.
“Throughout Covid, I just consistently ground at my craft,” the 31-year-old said about his offseason preparation coming off his ankle surgery. “I didn’t let Covid get in the way of my goal, and the goal is to be the best me that I can be for the team. I just continued to stack the days, because I know what the goal is: to be the best version of myself for my teammates, so we can all go out there and chase what we all want.”
So far in training camp, Sanu appears to be well on his way to accomplish this goal. He looked fully recovered from the ailment that bothered him down the line last season, and has arguably been the most impressive wide receiver not named Julian Edelman during individual drills due to his marvelous technique — further solidifying his standing on the roster as a de facto lock alongside Edelman and former first-round draft pick N’Keal Harry.
“I’m just motivated to get better every day,” Sanu said on Tuesday about his mindset participating in his first training camp as a Patriot. “I love this game so much, I put a lot into it. And when I get there, play ball, just be me — no more, no less — and then have fun doing it with my teammates.
“The window of opportunity, you only get so many times to do it. You have to relish the moments that you get to get out there and work hard. You build on something, work towards something. We all have the same goal, so I’m just motivated to have the same type of guys with the same mindset as me working towards something.”