Edelman, McCourty, Stork among offseason award winners


FOXBORO -- The Patriots announced their offseason award winners on Friday afternoon. 

The list includes receiver Julian Edelman, safety Devin McCourty, left tackle Nate Solder, center Bryan Stork, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, safety Nate Ebner, defensive lineman Antonio Johnson, linebacker Jonathan Freeny and linebacker Eric Martin. 

For Johnson, Martin and Freeny, the honor is a nice way to get their first full season with the team underway. Martin was signed to the practice squad late last season, while Johnson was signed to a reserve/future contract back in December, and Freeny was locked up as a free agent in March.

The other players listed are regulars with reputations as very hard workers, including McCourty, who did not rest on his laurels after signing a record-setting contract extension with the Patriots this offseason. 

Stork's selection is not a surprising one given what his coaches had to say about him over the course of the first two days of training camp practice. Both offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo and head coach Bill Belichick described Stork as a diligent worker with a perfectionist attitude. 

"Bryan's a very serious man," DeGuglielmo said. "He's very business-like. He's got a great personality. He knows how to cut up, even on himself. He's not taking himself so seriously, except at football. It means a lot to him and to a lot of these guys. When he's out there, he wants to get it right all the time.

"He's just, it's almost to a fault. He's very hard on himself. I have to kind of pull back a little bit. I'd rather have a lot of that than a lot of the [alternative]. This summer and the spring, he's matured a lot. He got a lot of reps last year. He's got a lot of work to do. If he's gonna be the center right off the bat and make calls and set the table and be the man, he's got a lot of work ahead of him and he knows it. He's taking a serious approach and I like the fact that he keeps his head down and does his work. If he was out there doing floor shows and being the class clown, I'd have some concern. I'd rather him be way too serious than too light."

Added Belichick: "Bryan is really competitive. He really takes football very, very seriously, works extremely hard at it. It’s very important to him. I mean that’s obvious. That’s a good thing. That’s a real good thing.

"But there’s always a balance. In football, there are a lot of plays out there, so there’s always a next play. So whatever happened the play before . . . we all have mistakes, we all have bad plays out there. We’ve got to put them behind us. We’ve got to move on and not let a bad play lead to a bad day. Just focus on the next situation. I understand what [DeGuglielmo] said and I don’t disagree with it, but at the same time, I think that’s a good quality that Stork has – how important it is to him, how he wants to do everything right and do everything he can to be the best that he can be. I totally respect that and love that about him."

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