After signing with the Patriots in 2002 and spending time on the practice squad and as a reserve offensive lineman, Russ Hochstein stepped in at left guard in the 2003 AFC Championship game and started Super Bowl XXXVIII. Since then, the Nebraska native has become one of the Patriots' most versatile players, contributing to the offensive line at center and both guard positions and even lining up at fullback in short-yardage situations.
Last year, the six-foot-four-inch, 305-pounder replaced an injured Dan Koppen at center and started the final seven regular-season games and both playoff contests.
Hochstein sat down with us to answer some questions about his life both on and off the football field.
What is your favorite type of food? Grilled cheeseburgers. Just straight off the grill.
What is your favorite movie? Armageddon.
What was your favorite subject in school when you were growing up? History. I like World War I and World War II history.
What is your favorite vehicle that you have ever owned? The 1992 Chevy Blazer four-door I had in high school and college.
What is your favorite TV show? Lost. It's awesome. I love that show.
Who was your favorite wrestler growing up? Probably "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan.
What is your favorite material possession? There are a lot of things I like. My Super Bowl rings are pretty special.
OFF THE FIELD
If you could play another professional sport, what would it be? Basketball, hands down. I love the low post.
What is one thing you wish you were better at? Probably cooking. I wish I was a little better cook. I'm working at it, though.
What has been the biggest transition to living in New England? Dealing with New England drivers. They are notoriously bad.
What is the most extravagant thing you have ever purchased? My fiancée's engagement ring.
What are three words that best describe Matt Light? Big. Jolly. Prankster.
If I turned on the CD player in your truck right now, what would I hear? Joe Nichols.
What is the toughest thing about you that your fiancée has to put up with? I can be kind of particular about cleanliness. Everything has to be in order...my order.
What is the best thing about growing up in Nebraska? The friendliness of people. The courtesy of Midwestern people.
Which offensive lineman can eat the most food? Steve Neal. Hands down. There's not even a close second.
Who is the best backgammon player in the locker room? Me. Second would be Logan Mankins. Third is Wesley Britt and fourth is Dan Koppen.
ON THE FIELD
In your mind, what makes a great teammate? A hard worker who leads by that example.
Which young Patriots teammate can we expect to hear from in the future? Wesley Britt.
Back when you were at Nebraska, they were known for having mammoth 300 pound lineman. Do they have a big eaters club there? There's a lot of steak eaten there. Red meat and potatoes, buddy. All the way.
THIS OR THAT
Highlights show or watch the game? Watch the game.
Relax at home or out on the town? At home. I'm more relaxed, and I don't have to worry about what I wear.
Read the newspaper or watch the news? Watch the news.
Center or guard? Both. Love them both.
Use the phone or drop an e-mail? Phone. It's easier and more personal.
Better place to vacation: A week in the Rocky Mountains or a week on the beach in Cancun? Cancun. The mountains are awesome, but Cancun is awesome too.
Cook a meal or call for delivery? Call for delivery.
JUST FOR FUN
If you could set up one of your teammates on the MTV show Punk'd, who would you pick? Matt Light, and I would use an automobile for that prank. He knows what that means.
If you had a free one-way plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go? Rome. I would like to see the Vatican, and there is a lot of history there.
Which member of the offensive line would do the best on the reality show Dancing with the Stars? Steve Neal.
If you had a secret, which player in the locker room would you be afraid to tell because it would get out? Steve Neal on that one too.