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Sat., Mar. 28, 2015 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM EDT
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Mon., Mar. 30, 2015 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM EDT
Leon Washington Conference Call Transcript
Q: Can you talk through the appeal of picking the Patriots versus other teams you may have talked to since you have been a free agent?
LW: Obviously Tampa was interested and Detroit was interested a little bit but when you get an opportunity to play for a coach like Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, and just looking at the history, the way those guys perform on the football field and the way they carry the organization is something that a leader like myself, I want to be a part of, something that can push me and make me a better person and a football player. When I became a free agent, that's one thing I wanted to look at: to go into an organization that believes in winning, who wanted to win the Super Bowl – that was everything – and did things the right way. When I had the opportunity to go to New England, I jumped right on it because they're a perfect fit for being a better person and football player.
Q: Kick returning is something of a younger man's game. How have you been able to excel at it at your age after this many years in the league?
Q: Do you look at this as an opportunity to step into a role that the Patriots may have needed to beef up this offseason?
LW: Yeah, you hit it right on the head – the opportunity to help this team out, win football games by returning kicks. The one thing I did know about New England talking to Coach Belichick and talking to Coach O'Brien, they take special teams extremely serious. They feel like if you play special teams in the return game and the coverage part of it, you could actually win the football game by doing it well. By playing against those guys in the AFC East early on in my career when I was with the Jets, I had tremendous respect for guys like Larry Izzo, Kevin Faulk, watching Wes Welker return kicks and stuff like that, I had tremendous respect for those guys. I knew how seriously they took special teams so that was one of the things that helped me make my decision easier because I knew New England took special teams seriously.
LW: The big one would be with Brett Favre and company, we came in there in that overtime game against Matt Cassel, we pulled it out. That's a vivid memory – having a good game. I think I actually returned a kickoff return to the house that game. That was pretty special. Joking around with Coach Bill Belichick yesterday, he was like, “Man, whenever we played you guys at the Jets, I used to be like, ‘leave Thomas Jones on the field.'” That was pretty funny. Memories like that, at Gillette Stadium. Now I have an opportunity to go out there and help this team win; be on the same side.
Q: You did not see a lot of action as a running back last year. Where do you consider your game to be at as a running back at this point?
LW: I don't have the pounding on my body. I feel great, I feel healthy. Like you said, I haven't carried the ball much out of the backfield the last two years so if it comes to that, that's what I definitely want to do. I'm a running back at heart. That's something I want to do, but at the end of the day, it's about team football. It's all about the team. I know the way the Patriots do things around here. It's all about the team because if you play as a team, you actually win as a team. When I come in, my role is to come in and help this team out in any way I can, whether it's returning kicks, returning punts – I haven't covered kicks before in my career – or even carrying the ball in the backfield or catching the ball in the backfield. Whatever my role may be with the team, I'm going to do my best and do the best job at it.