Laurence Maroney's dreadlocks were bunched together with a rubber band, not the most attractive way to display that hairdo.
A few feet away, another New England Patriots running back, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, stood with his dreadlocks flowing freely.
"His probably looks better," Maroney said of his close friend. "There's no point in trying to look pretty for camp. This is probably going to be my new style for the year. Rough. This is my statement. Rough.
"That's how I've got to be on the field. Rough. I can't go out there being all pretty because then you're all going to say I'm dancing."
Critics have been saying that ever since 2006, when the Patriots drafted Maroney in the first round out of Minnesota.
The rap against Maroney is that he wastes too much time in the backfield looking for holes, running from side to side. Can't he just attack the first opening he sees?
This season, Maroney wants to eliminate those criticisms.
"I'm not trying to be on, what's that dance show they've got on TV? 'Dancing with the Stars,'" he said with his ever-present smile. "I'm physical. Downhill."
Maroney improved on that last year when, for the first time in his four NFL seasons, he didn't miss any games because of injuries. He rushed for nine touchdowns but ran for just 757 yards and a 3.9 average per carry in 15 games.
"I feel like I ran the ball harder than I ever ran," Maroney said. "I felt comfortable running the way I ran last year, had some good successful games running. Now it's just basically taking what I did last year and bringing it to this year and improving on it."