TAMPA — The oppressive Tampa heat hit Logan Mankins as soon as he walked off the plane Thursday.
Two days earlier, he had been reminded of the cold reality of the NFL when the Patriots traded their 6-time Pro Bowl guard to the Bucs for tight end Tim Wright and a fourth-round draft pick.
Mankins, 32, had put in nine grueling seasons in the New England trenches, often playing hurt while trying to help a league power win another Super Bowl. Then he was informed his next snap would be for the Bucs, who haven't won a playoff game since hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
“Once you've been around this business long enough, you know anything's possible,'' Mankins said before Tampa Bay and Washington met in the preseason finale. “It's a business, first and foremost. If you don't understand that it's a business, you're lying to yourself.''
Once the deal was finalized, Mankins talked to quarterback Tom Brady, the man he has protected so well since being the last player selected in the first round of the 2005 draft.
“I'll miss Tom for sure and I had a lot of good friends there,'' said Mankins, who will make $6.25 million in base salary this season. “It's a sad day not to be with those guys, but I've got new teammates here that I'm looking to develop relationships with.''
The Patriots faced the Bucs last season at Gillette Stadium, winning 23-3, and Mankins said Tampa Bay has plenty of talent in its quest to end a 6-year postseason drought.
“They've had a little dry spell here, but I've looked at the roster and there's some guys I've got a lot of respect for,'' said Mankins, who is expected to start at left guard in the Sept. 7 regular-season opener against Carolina.
“That's going to be tough,'' he said of the quick transition. “I got the playbook today and met a bunch of the guys. I've got the weekend to get the mental part of it down and all next week at practice. I'm going to try my best to get us up to speed.''
Mankins acknowledges there's some wear and tear on his body, but he expects to be a key performer up front for a unit that will feature four new starters.
“How many guys have played 150 games and are still on the upswing?'' he said with a laugh. “Yes, I've played a lot of games and talen a lot of snaps, but I think I've still got something to give this game and this team. I'll try my hardest for them.''